Bold. Brave. Beginnings.
A conversation with Brenda Thompson, Founder / Owner at The Redline Group,
CEO / Managing Broker / Owner at HomeSmart Stars.
Setting the Scene
I first met Brenda in 2013 when I was asked to assist United Real Estate, a new ‘disruptive’ real estate company in launching a national franchise sales campaign. The company had just launched its flagship office in Dallas, Texas and with Brenda at the helm as Managing Broker both the office and Brenda were an excellent model of success for a company
positioning for national expansion.
Smart, personable and a true Southern girl, Brenda is the type of person that makes you feel relaxed and welcome the moment you meet her. Her Texas drawl, cowboy boots and long blonde hair make her stand out in a crowd, but it’s the brains and brawn behind the beauty that have always captured my fascination. A true A-type personality (takes one to know one!), Brenda has earned her way up the corporate ladder, all while staying true to her roots,
religion and a little re-invention now and again.
Let’s get to know the person behind the professional…
BJ: You didn’t set out for a career in the real estate business, but the path that led you there is pretty interesting.
BT: I grew up in a small, Oklahoma town and could hardly wait to escape it for college. After majoring in business at the University of Central Oklahoma, I married [the wrong husband] and moved to Dallas with plans of graduate work in either the medical or legal field. I ended up working in advertising for a period of time and then began investing in medical clinics. By the time I exited my first marriage, I was running 24 medical clinics.
BJ: Twenty-four medical clinics that you also left behind after near tragedy.
BT: I had been in an unhappy place for a while but was so focused on business and success that I was ignoring all of the signs. I guess God decided that it was time for me to pay attention because I was enroute to the closing on my 25th medical clinic when I was in a terrible car accident that shattered part of my face and left me hospitalized and in recovery for quite a while. During that time, I was able to self-reflect on my life and decided it was time for a re-invention. I left my husband and my business behind and decided to focus my attention in real estate instead. I’ve never looked back.
BJ: So a terrible accident was a blessing in disguise?
BT: Definitely. So many people could allow something like that to cripple them, physically and emotionally. I took the event as a sign that I was heading in the wrong direction and needed to re-evaluate. Everything happens for a reason and I chose to focus on the positive. I was young and newly single and thought “I only owe myself in this.”, so I took a leap of faith, got my real estate license and started a new life.
BJ: You credit some really wonderful mentors in your life as guiding forces.
BT: Yes. In my early 20’s I was blessed to work for an older gentlemen who provided a lot of guidance and insight without ever actually telling me what he thought I should or should not do. For 15-years he served as a sounding board for both personal and professional aspects of my life, encouraging me to focus on the big picture and not get stuck in the weeds. I also admire strong, independent women. Bernice Ross has been a wonderful friend and mentor in recent years. She’s someone who wasn’t afraid to be a strong business woman before it was ok to be so, and now she empowers other women to follow in her path. And then there’s my mother. She has always believed in me and supported me as only a mother can.
BJ: You have a good saying about the mentors and friends in your life.
BT: Friends for a reason. Friends for a season. Friends for a lifetime.
I believe there’s a reason that people come into our lives, although sometimes we don’t understand why at the time. Some people are meant to pass through and keep going, some are meant to stay, but every one of them is there to contribute to your story in one way or another. We’re all here to learn from each other in some way.
BJ: I know you travel a lot with your job. How do you maintain a positive work / life balance?
BT: I think all high-functioning professionals deal with the challenge of allowing ourselves down time. For me, I have a specific morning routine that allows me personal, quiet time to start my day which is very important. I also have a pretty amazing husband who shares a lot of interests with me [like driving Porsches and raising rescue Boxers], and we make sure that when we designate time to cultivate our relationship and shared interests together.
BJ: What mentors have influenced and/or guided you?
BT: A gentleman she worked with in her 20’s. He had grown children, older than Brenda. He was very fatherly and focused a lot of his advice on her personal life. He saw things in her personal life that conflicted with her ability to grow personally and professionally. Would meet for lunch over 15-years every few months and served as a long-term guiding force. Her motto is “Never let them see you sweat” and she kept personal struggle quiet, but this mentor picked up on it and provided guidance and insight without ever saying things directly. He helped her focus on the big picture and not stay stuck in the weeds. Nowadays, Bernice Ross is a strong mentor for Brenda. Bernice is a strong, independent woman before it was cool to be so.
BJ: What’s your secret to balancing life / work?
BT: All professionals struggle with work/life balance. High functioning people tend to be driven and focused and have a hard time turning work off. My partner is similar, so we understand each others needs and challenges around work. It’s important that the people in your life understand why your job is important and to share that as well.
BJ: What tools make you most productive in your daily life?
BT: My calendar! Task list, to do list, etc. I use Evernote to create workbooks for a convention. Expensify for expenses. I don’t use a CRM that much now, but always used CRMS when I was actively selling, farming, etc.
BJ: If you could thank someone today, who would it be and what would you say?
BT: My mom. She’s always believed in me. She’s the one that knows when Brenda needs change, sometimes even before she does. “You are getting a little bored, aren’t you?”
BJ: What’s your greatest fear?
BT: I’m not terribly fearful of many things. Even in the past when scary things have happened, everything has turned out ok. You grow from those experiences.
BJ: What challenges have you had to overcome during your career and what was your path?
BT: There was an abrupt change from the medical to real estate fields. Switching industries and establishing relationships in a completely new field was challenging. I was oddly confident about moving to something so new. I was young and single and said “I only owe myself in this!”
BJ: Do you follow a spiritual practice? If so, how do you feel that it aligns with your professional self?
BT: Christian. Grew up southern Baptist. I tend to be conservative and traditional…things are black / white, right / wrong. Ethical practice is very important. I never want to be in a business scenario where I have to question my choices or behavior. I want to be truthful and honest. Ethical people want to deal with ethical people. You find your tribe!!! Advice, suggestions mean so much more as a result. Sharing takes new meaning. You are there to share and support each other. They are happy for your success and visa versa.
BJ: How has the industry and your professional evolved over your career? Were there any surprises along the way?
BT: Looking at the push for empowerment of women, strong women tend to be perceived as bitches, while men are perceived as strong. I don’t want to be chosen just b/c I am a woman. I want to be the right person for the right job. Equality! I want the fair shake.
BJ: How do you envision the professional marketplace evolving over the next few years? How do you think this will impact your role?
BT: The jobs of the future may not exist today concept. AI fascinates Brenda in terms of customer service. She sees AI growing more in the real estate space. Lead sourcing is incredible via technology. With the new emerging models, we’ll see continued shift, but networking and personal relationships will always be important. There’s so much emotion in the home buying / selling process and requires humans.
BJ: If you could recommend one book, blog or podcast for our audience, what would it be?
BT: I’m a big John Maxwell follower. “Leadershift” is his newest book and is really thought provoking. I also love “Emotional Intelligence”. It has really helped me to step back and look at life objectively. It prompts me to ask “What’s the worst thing that could happen?”.
BJ: Do you have any advice for our listeners if they are looking to follow in your footsteps?
BT: Be bold. Be courageous. Trust in yourself. Find the things that increase your confidence and practice those.
BJ: What is the #1 thing you love about your job?
10 Fun Facts About Brenda
1.) When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
BT: I wanted be a Vet.
2.) What’s the most used app on your phone?
3.) What living person do you most admire, and why?
BT: My mom. She can go through anything in the world with a smile on her face. She’s always loving and consistent.
4.) What’s your favorite meal?
BT: Mediterranean feast!
5.) What’s your favorite place on earth?
6.) What’s a skill you WISH you had?
BT: I wish I could sing.
7.) Do you have any words or phrases that you overuse?
BT: Chop chop (drives my husband nuts)
8.) What’s your favorite way to relax?
BT: At home, outside with a glass of wine.
9.) What is your current state of mind?
BT: Happy and feeling blessed.
10.) Any famous last words?
BT: Bold. Brave. Beginnings.
BJ: If our audience leaves with only ONE takeaway from this interview today,
what do you want it to be?
BT: You chose what side of the bed you are going to get out of. Always try to make the best of your day, the best of your relationships, and listen to your gut. CHOSE POSITIVE!
Connect with Brenda
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