By Meggan Taylor, Contributing writer ~
Bobbie Noreen is an award-winning real estate broker, manager, agent, author, and real estate, educator based in Nashville, TN.
Bobbie has worked in real estate since 1975. She had her own company, Legacy Properties, LLC, and worked as the principal broker for Village Real Estate for 15 years. As a real estate educator and proponent of professional development, Bobbie is an approved course instructor and the author of several continuing education courses. She was named the Tennessee Educator of the Year in 2014. Currently, she serves as the Tennessee Real Estate Education Foundation’s (TREEF) 2020 president.
As Bobbie departed from daily activities as managing broker with Village Real Estate in 2018, she found her next calling: to start her own real estate coaching, training, and tutoring company, Skill Centered Coaching. Her primary mission is to raise the level of public perception of the realtor community.
Through this high-level skill training program, real estate agents develop confidence and are empowered to deliver a strong message of value to their customers and clients. Even as our infection rates for COVID-19 climb, Bobbie is still teaching and working virtually with professionals across the country.
Bobbie has lived her life with vigor and determination, always finding a way to thrive and serve others. We sat down for a virtual conversation about what fuels her personally and professionally.
fyi50+: You turn 72 in September, and you’re almost as busy as ever. How do you maintain this pace?
Bobbie Noreen: That does seem like a huge number! Well, first, I have to say that I try to take care of my body. I didn’t always do that. I would push myself to work and ignore all kinds of ailments and discomfort. But my “advanced age” has taught me I can’t do that anymore and maintain my schedule.
fyi50+: What have you done to make this change?
BN: I struggled with my weight off and on throughout my life, but in the last few years, I’ve been able to maintain a healthy eating program. I try to stay active, but I’ve always hated exercise. I danced throughout my childhood — tap and ballet classes — but being a wife and mother early made regular exercise a challenge. Recently, I’ve found an exercise program that works for me. I do yoga occasionally, and I’ve started kayaking! That last one is the direct result of our new lifestyle on the river. I figured, since I have this gift, I need to take advantage of its beauty and availability.
fyi50+: So your health helps you?
BN: I’ve always been pretty healthy, but, don’t get me wrong, I have all the usual aches and pains. I’ve had arthritis since my early 30s. But I’ve always really pushed myself. As I’ve gotten older, I learned that to push myself so hard, I have to set up a good foundation. The body is that foundation
fyi50+: Do you have any other hobbies that stimulate you, spiritually?
BN: Oh, yes! I meditate and pray. I focus these explorations on love, putting ego aside as much as possible, and focus on accepting and emanating pure love.
fyi50+: Have you always been religious or spiritual?
BN: Yes. I was raised Roman Catholic, attended 12 years of Catholic school, and attended Mass every Sunday with my mother. My father wasn’t Catholic, so we often had discussions about belief and dogma. I left the Roman Church in the early 1970s and converted to Episcopalian. The more accepting and open environment of the Episcopalian Church has guided me to be a more accepting and loving person.
fyi50+: And hobbies? I know that being the kind of busy person you are, you must have other stress-relieving tools in your toolbox.
BN: Definitely. I recently started painting. My mother was an artist. When she died, I took her oils and brushes with me from California. One day, I looked at these mementos and thought, “I want to try that.” So, I did. Our move to our new home on the river gave me space where I could paint more frequently. And I recently started trying my hand at watercolor. I love painting. It lets me leave everything behind and focus on the colors, the feel of the brushes and mastering new techniques. I was so blessed to be invited by a Nashville artist to attend a watercolor workshop in Venice, Italy, last year. It was transformative.
fyi50+: I see that you worked in real estate in California before moving to Nashville. Did you grow up there?
BN: Yes, I was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, about 15 miles north of Los Angeles. My mother was a beautician, and my father worked for the Department of Water and Power. I love California, particularly the beaches. We spent many summer days driving to [the] Malibu and Zuma beaches with the windows down and singing to The Doors blasting on the radio.
fyi50+: When did you start working in real estate?
BN: I started working with my then-husband in 1975. He was 11 years older than me and already licensed. After high school, I had trained and worked as a dental assistant, but after marrying someone who was an agent, we decided to open our own real estate company. When that marriage ended, and I needed to support my two children, I threw myself into building my own business to provide me with my earning potential. Since I had worked extensively with my ex-husband in our company, I sought a full-time position in real estate. Fortunately, I was successful.
fyi50+: What do you think enabled that early success?
BN: Well, first, I was heavily motivated by need. I needed to be successful. I had a lot riding on that: my children’s well-being, my home, a lot of details. I reduced my monthly bills by taking in a roommate. Through her, I met the love of my life: my husband, John. But that was later. As I entered this new industry, I put my head down and determined to learn what made those around me successful. I listened to all the advice coming my way and incorporated what worked for me. It was putting one foot in front of the other and work hard.
fyi50+: Why choose a career as a real estate agent?
BN: After I started to gain success, I realized I wanted to take control of my destiny, and I learned I have an entrepreneurial spirit that empowers me to believe I could. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart or those who want to make easy money. Managing your own business is difficult, challenging, [and] time-consuming, yet unbelievably rewarding.
fyi50+: So, you were successful and working in California. What brought you to Tennessee?
BN: Love. Trust. I know that sounds so corny. John is a musician, and he had an opportunity to work regularly with a group based here. We came here just to see it, and it may sound crazy, but after returning to California, I woke up from a vivid dream and knew our future was here. I gave my complete trust to that vision. That was 29 years ago.
fyi50+: So, you started over at 43?
BN: Yep. At first, I just plunged into setting up a home and learning to understand my new surroundings. But soon, I needed to get back to work.
fyi50+: How did you learn how to sell real estate in a completely new state with new laws and requirements?
BN: I worked with some generous and experienced professionals. They helped me, encouraged me, taught me. And I paid attention. I also focused on relocations. I intimately knew the challenges that face people moving from state to state. What is that they say about writing? “Write what you know.” Well, that applies to this kind of personal selling. With my recent experience, I could relate to what my clients needed to do to move, find a new home that meets their needs, and find the institutions to help them become part of a community.
fyi50+: So, now that you might want to retire, why start a new business?
BN: I simply feel like I have more to give with my career and in life. I have spent the past 27 years of my 46-year career teaching, coaching, and instilling the significant value of what a highly educated, ethical, professional brings to every transaction.
fyi50+: Why teach and train?
BN: I believe that our value lies in the difference we make in our clients’ lives and [in] the communities where we live and work. Of course, earning money is desirable. But making it a result of service and purpose is truly the highest calling. No one will enjoy any long-standing career unless they find a purpose larger than themselves that motivates passion.
fyi50+: It would seem that your 50+ life has been rewarding and fulfilling.
BN: I’ve been very, very lucky throughout my life, but I’ve also had my share of heartache that has brought me to my knees. I can’t say that I didn’t indulge in some self-pity, but I forced myself to move on. Those experiences of hardship and good fortune have taught me that I will survive. I can make things better. I can choose a better life. I’m thrilled to be this age and still be learning and serving others.
fyi50+: You are an inspiration! Thank you for taking the time to talk to me.
BN: You’re so welcome, this was fun.
Visit Bobbie Noreen’s website at https://skillcentered.com.