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One More Time, with Pam Johnson O’Connor

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ENTIRE LIVE INTERVIEW WITH PAM

Pam O’Connor retired only two years ago from Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, where she was more than its President and CEO, she was an industry leader and a mentor to many. Inside Real Estate was thrilled to have her join us on the second edition of Insider Spotlight

In an hour-long conversation via Facebook Live, O’Connor openly and warmly shared a bit of her unique background, business insights, and wonderful life experiences.

Man Plans, God Laughs

O’Connor recently penned an insightful blog post, entitled, “The Other Side of Coronavirus.” It got our attention, and we wanted to hear more. 

Like all of us at first, she admitted to not knowing what to make of something that happened so quickly with so little warning, noting too, that when something is out of our control, it can be, “a little scary.”

However, O’Connor reminded us that if channeled correctly, fear can generate positivity. And, that once our initial insecurity settles, it helps to seek a broader perspective of what lies ahead. “The world is not ending, the jobs will come back, and we will retain our talents.”

In terms of real estate, O’Connor admits to being worried about an industry shift away from real estate’s service-oriented roots toward one more focused on money and upward mobility. Thus, the market conditions under the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to a course correction in how the industry is viewed and practiced. 

She also reminded us that we’re never really in the market’s driver seat, and 2020 is the perfect example. Quoting Harlan Coben, she put up a slide that read, “Man plans, God laughs.”

Connections Count

Pam shared that when her father died as a pilot in a helicopter accident, her mother never wavered in her commitment to keeping the family intact. With three young children to raise, she instilled a powerful lesson in Pam: “Do not let yourself be a victim, you always have control of your situation if you choose to take it.” 

Pam also shared a heartwarming story about her nephew, born with a debilitating ailment that may have hampered his body, but in no way his spirit. Despite the ability to use only one finger, he earned an engineering degree with honors from the University of Texas, teaching us all what real adversity is like, and how to overcome it. 

The Four Cs

O’Connor revealed herself as a simple thinker, with a four-word guideline that’s driven much of her career: Contribution, Confidence, Control, Connection.  

Relative to Confidence, she urged us to seek facts and uncover reliable industry data sources that can assure agents they’re giving the right information to customers, and therefore bettering the market. She encouraged people to have gratitude and tune out negativity.

When discussing Contribution, she offered that agents should share what they know with their spheres, and that people want to feel safe. Agents can offer that. We can also “Think ahead a little bit,” she said. “What does open mean to a real estate agent? In terms of how you’re going to show properties, in terms of how you’re going to take listings?”

In short, be prepared to contribute as soon as the lights come back on. And be ready to help others. 

About Control, O’Connor reflects on what her mother taught her by reminding us to “Take control, be proactive. Take care of yourself to get through this.” And, use the pandemic as an impetus to plan better, financially and personally. 

Lastly, about Connections, she told us to pick up the phone, talk to people. “Something always good comes of that,” she said, “I either learn something I didn’t know, uncover an opportunity I didn’t know was there, or I cement a relationship that was an important one.” Let people know you care, and watch the conversation go toward real estate. 

 

Tip Toe Recovery

Prompted to predict what would come of the pandemic, O’Connor was honest in her assessment that know one really knows. “But,” she said, “I do know there will be unintended consequences and there will be silver linings.”

In respect to real estate, “I don’t think we’re going to have a V or W or U recovery or whatever everyone talks about, I think we’re going to have what I call a tip-toe recovery, we’re going to dip our toes in the water, we’ll have to back up, or maybe we won’t go far enough, and people are going to have suspend judgement, because we’re just trying to get to the other shore.”

Lastly, real estate will have a real positive income, O’Connor said, because this is ultimately a health crisis, not a real estate crisis, like the Great Recession. “We have great underpinnings, we’re in a much better position than we were when people used their houses as cash for other things.”

What a great hour it was with the smart, endearing, and business-savvy Pam O’Connor. Best of luck Pam, hope to hear from you again soon. 

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