December 20, 1999. My first official day on the job with DeLois Smith. It was only days before the dawn of the new millennium and a lot of things were occurring in the days of the final December of the 20th century that God would use to chart the course for my life. Things that I had no idea were being set into motion. In addition to my first official day at work, Amelia and I had also begun dating for the first time only weeks prior (as you can imagine there’s a lot to that story as well, but I digress).
My 20th birthday had recently passed, and I was almost half way into my undergraduate degree at William Carey College (it wasn’t renamed a University until 2006). I was looking for business experience, and DeLois had need of someone who could “work on the computer.” Truth be told, I didn’t really have a lot of interest in “computer work,” but figured it was a starting place in as rich a learning environment for real estate and business in the area that could be found. I was accustomed to adapting to whatever job was needed, especially if I perceived the potential for growth was present. And so, I put on my “eager beaver” cap and set out on this new journey.I’ll never forget that day. It was a brisk and cloudy Monday morning when I arrived at 2009 Hardy Street where the office was then located. First item on the agenda was “staff meeting.” It wasn’t long into staff meeting that the sense of being overwhelmed set in.
For years I saved that first meeting agenda. In all of our moves over the years, somehow I’ve misplaced it, but if my memory serves me correctly, I believe we had a total of about 20 to 25 listings at the time. (Incidentally, we must now field between 100 to 150 depending on the season in order to maintain our current operating structure).
I was so concerned that I didn’t know all of the clients names and their associated houses, and I questioned if it was ever possible to learn it. It seemed to be so effortless for the remaining 4 people at the table.
Yes, I said 4 remaining. The “team” as it was loosely defined at the time was a bit smaller as you can imagine. There were only 3 full time members and the rest of us were part time. A few weeks later, the team would close the 1999 production year with a total of 119 sales and total value of $14,544,356.
A lot has changed in the 15 years that have passed since my first Monday morning as a member of The DeLois Smith All-Star Team, Inc., REALTORS. And as I look forward to 2015, I take the time to reflect on the past 15 years and be thankful for the blessing that God has provided to me and my family.
There has been a tremendous amount of satisfaction and fulfillment in serving you and our community over the last 15 years...and a tremendous amount of growth in our business, thanks in large part to the loyal trust of you, our friends, whom we serve. You see, 2014 was a record year for your real estate team! For the first time ever, we exceeded $70 Million in sales volume ($72,105,657 to be exact) and a total of 370 sales! We’re aiming to exceed these benchmarks once more in 2015!
So, in commemoration of 15 years, here’s a list of 15 stats, figures, and changes that I’ve witnessed or have been a part of since December 20, 1999:

1. Roster of 5 team members in 1999; presently we have 20 team members.
2. Welcomed and worked with over 75 different team members throughout the 15 years.
3. Attended over 750 Monday morning staff meetings!
4. Moved our main office 3 times and added an office in Petal.
5. Have been a part of 3,623 sales at a total value of $702,155,946!
6. Went from using a bag phone in my vehicle to a Nokia handheld, then Motorola flip, a Blackberry, and now an iPhone that’s connected to everything and everyone.
7. Transitioned from missed calls with no identification, to voicemail on my cellphone, to text message, to video messages.
8. Multiple Listing Service (MLS) accessible only from single terminal in the office to going web based and now on every mobile device imaginable.
9. Witnessed the rise and fall of the fax machine.
10. Experienced the ramifications and changes of man and nature on the real estate market: 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, housing bubble, and mortgage reform.
11. Went from signing contracts and offers by hand to using electronic signatures in more than half of my interactions.
12. Chased a wild hair and went back to graduate school and completed my M.B.A.
13. Gained some pounds, lost some pounds, gained them back, and lost them again.
14. Added to my collection of gray hairs. (The collection continues to grow, but at least I do have a collection of hair still - even if I lost the “shag” look. See photo. What was I thinking?)
15. Married my best friend and welcomed two daughters.

And to think that this doesn’t even scratch the surface, considering I didn’t even mention (until now) jumping on the social media bandwagon when I set up a Facebook page in 2008! I am so thankful to a loving, gracious God who pours out blessings in every aspect of our lives; a God who has blessed me with the best life partner in Amelia with whom to experience and share in these blessings - both personally and professionally.
I’m also thankful to DeLois, my friend and mentor over the past 15 years who provided an opportunity for me to make my way in this business and all of the team members with whom I work along side of every day. It’s fun to break things down by numbers, but I don’t want to lose sight that embedded in each number and experience are people with whom our team and I have had the opportunity to meet over these years and have grown as a result of their influence - your influence. Thank you for being a part of our story; thank God for allowing us the honor of living this story and serving you. What will the next 15 years hold? Only He knows, and I’m glad to know that He wants the best for me. “All things work together for the good of those who love God: those that are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
May I be found guilty of loving Him and being called accordingly.
With gratitude,