SBAOR REALTOR® Success Story: Tamara Suminski
This month for our SBAOR REALTOR® Success Story, we interview Tamara Suminski, Immediate Past President of SBAOR. Learn about her journey in real estate and the value she has gained from getting involved in SBAOR!
How long have you been working in real estate? I am a third generation realtor–so all my life! I started working in real estate in 2004, with real estate having been a topic I had always been involved in. I came from a family of investors, and I bought my first home when I was 27 years old. I started in real estate when I was 29. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I had wanted to be in real estate—after pursuing a career in hospitality as an operations manager for large hotels. When I realized I could take my passion for providing exceptional service and helping people, coupled with the familiarity of the business, I realized a huge opportunity existed!
Have all the years been here in the South Bay? Yes
When did you become involved with SBAOR? In 2007, I went to legislative day in Sacramento, where my eyes became wide open. I saw the impact that volunteer REALTORS could have, and how we shape the industry, while working hard for homeowners – I became hooked. After that, I joined the Government Affairs Committee and Community Committee. In 2009, there was a national movement just starting called YPN (Young Professionals Network), and I was the founding chairwoman of the YPN Committee at SBAOR. I was passionate about getting more young professionals involved in the industry, and I thought it was very important for us to gain fresh perspective, to look at different approaches and outside ideas. South Bay was one of the first YPN networks and soon they started popping up all over the country–and now it’s international. We were one of the early and successful groups!
What tools have you found useful at SBAOR? I’m very proud to have served as Immediate Past President and I can tell you that the Board of Directors has been very focused on member benefits, including education. We’ve implemented a huge education initiative over the past couple of years, creating incredible educational offerings at SBAOR. In addition, my favorite tech tool right now is a newer MLS app called Home Seeker. For agents in the field, this is priceless, giving us the ability to search for property listings via location, via search, and all access to the agent information as well as directories with just a couple of taps on your phone!
What type of value have you discovered in the roles you have held at SBAOR? The first thing is leadership: Through my role, I’ve grown as a leader, and I‘ve had the joy of involving new leaders by tapping the shoulders of members with fresh energy and tremendous talent. Albert Einstein said, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” The real estate industry has been stagnant for a long time—I for a long while the only real changes might have been regulatory or contractual. With the birth of mobile and Internet sites, technology has swept through at lightning speed. With innovation, many in our industry have been caught by surprise. Now more than ever, it is important to respect tradition, while embracing and adapting to change. For me personally, I appreciated and enjoy building relationships with well-respected leaders in business and real estate, but it’s also been fun to watch new talent immerse. It’s been such a highlight to fill a boardroom with such diverse members and leaders. The balance between tradition and fresh perspective has been so powerful, being able to respectfully challenge the status quo. This has been a huge value for our association and an ideal that has fulfilled me. It has also been hugely rewarding to be on the front line, advocating for homeownership and private property rights with our elected officials about issues and legislation that impacts us all. I am able to give my clients a voice— I can look them in the eye and truly say I am doing more than just selling them a house.
What have you found about yourself that has surprised you due to your career in real estate? My Passion for volunteerism. Of course I want to spend as much time as possible with my family and in my business, yet I find myself spending countless hours volunteering. My strong commitment to serving my industry and homeowners has developed incredible relationships with REALTORS and leaders in the community, statewide and across the nation. Locally, the friendships and relationships have been important because while we may all be competing for business, this is a team sport and we must all cooperate and work together for the benefit of our clients. I like to call it “coopetition’–competing to get the business, but cooperating to transact. I also didn’t realize I had a passion for politics and government affairs! I learned how much impact it has on our everyday life, and the importance of strengthening our relationships with our elected officials to make sure we are bettering our livelihood.
What would you tell yourself if you could talk to you when you started in the business? I would tell myself to be consistent and be persistent. It’s okay to take risks and break the mold. Try new things and don’t be intimidated just because a veteran agent is threatened by your new way of doing something… give it a try… Some new endeavors take a while to see the benefits, be consistent to get the reward!