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REALTOR® Profile: Joy Edwards Brown — Leading the Way

Joy Edwards Brown started her career as a high school English and journalism teacher who always knew she wanted to do something “a little bit different.” She thoroughly enjoyed teaching and forming bonds with her students, but when she and her husband decided to start a family, Brown wanted to be at home with her children. As an IT professional, her husband had the flexibility to also be involved with their childrens’ lives.

“For years, we lived in our own little cocoon with baby #1 and #2,” says Brown, who began laying down the initial roots of her real estate career in 2005. “Once the kids started school, my brain started to atrophy. There are only so many bathrooms you can clean, and so many times you can go to the grocery store,” says Brown. “I revisited the idea of real estate.”

As it happened, a fellow parent from school owned a brokerage and invited Brown to join it. She started out as a broker, built her business and then doubled her annual sales every year over a five year period. As she worked with buyers, sellers and other brokers, Brown’s teacher instincts would often kick in.

“Other agents would come to me with their questions and even veterans turned to me for help with remembering timelines and other important points,” says Brown, who today is Designated Broker & owner of John L. Scott Anacortes and Managing Broker at John L. Scott Bellingham. “I found myself falling back into that teacher role and doing some coaching.”

Getting Into Leadership

After earning her managing broker’s license, Brown decided to test out the leadership waters at John L. Scott, where she was offered a managing broker position. She put on her managing broker hat in Bellingham, which is her home territory. For that specific location, Brown provides broker support—namely, working with and training new brokers—and also supports the company’s veteran broker training and programs.

“I work a lot with our new brokers as well, whether it’s refreshing them on John L. Scott’s tools or doing weekly check-ins to keep our culture vibrant and alive,” says Brown, who recently started doing weekly “Cards and Coffee” events. Brokers come to enjoy some coffee and get all of their handwritten cards done and in the mail. Some also bake treats the night before and bring them in for the group to enjoy.

“It’s great because it sometimes turns into a social hour, which is fantastic,” Brown says. In some cases, attendees sit down and focus on getting a certain number of cards written. Other times, the hour becomes a brainstorming event, with brokers bouncing ideas off of each other and sharing their experiences. “It’s very free form and just an hour, but it often turns into two because people just want to be there.”

As John L. Scott Anacortes’ designated broker, Brown closely monitors real estate forms changes, audits files and ensures that the company’s brokers are performing at the highest level possible. “I help them to stay compliant and also support them in any way possible,” says Brown. “That’s really important from our new agents to our most veteran brokers; they need that support across the board.”

In some instances, that support may not directly involve a real estate transaction. Real estate is about life events, not the transaction. We are counselors, mediators, shoulders to cry on, and cheerleaders, sometimes all within the scope of one transaction. “Sometimes you have to put everything else aside and say, ‘nope, this is the hat that I should be wearing right now,’” says Brown. “Real estate has taught me it’s okay to compartmentalize, and that people need you in different capacities.”

Doubling Down

Looking ahead, Brown says she wants to double down on her broker support and wants them to know that she’s there for them, regardless of current or future market conditions. She was presented with an ownership opportunity from John L. Scott last year and says after thinking about it, it just made perfect sense. “As owners, we all have each other’s backs and our own individual strengths, which makes it easy for us to be on point and available to our brokers,” says Brown.

Asked to share her thoughts about the future of the state’s real estate market, Brown says Washington remains one of the “few green dots” on Earth’s map, and that—along with the state’s many other positive attributes—makes it somewhere that people want to be. “The Pacific Northwest is a beautiful place to be for many different reasons. There are very few places where you can ski in the morning and sail in the afternoon. That just isn’t possible in many other places in the world.”

Brown does see new roadblocks ahead when it comes to issues like home affordability. “We live in an area where home prices are extremely high; $900,000 is not a first-time homeowner price point,” she explains. “We’re going to have to get more creative with how we help people get into homeownership and be an even bigger part of conversations in the lending community.”


Bridget McCrea

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This article originally appeared in the Summer 2023 issue of RE Magazine.