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New Year, New You? Women Professionals Share How to Turn Change into Opportunity

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We hear it all the time: Change is the only constant. Many dislike and even fear change. But for those who embrace it, change leads to opportunity. With the new year here, how can you resolve to use change to open new doors?

Enter Jaime Hensley and Sheila Shipley—two women business owners with different backgrounds. One saw change coming and planned for it. The other noticed a need for change and made it happen. Here are their inspiring stories and tips for success.

Not a Lone Star
Jaime Hensley was fulfilling her dream of raising her children in the small town of Lufkin, Texas and enjoying a fruitful financial career as a bank president and lead commercial lender.

A self-described “big picture” person, Hensley could see her job expanding—out of Lufkin. With change surely in the future, Hensley started thinking about how she could stay in town and still pursue a challenging career.

When she decided to switch careers, she didn’t go it alone. Hensley called on a long-time friend and real estate professional for guidance.

“With her counseling, I opened a real estate business in Lufkin to complement her firm in Beaumont,” explains Hensley. “I’m a private person but she encouraged me to get out there and start listing. I did and ultimately grew the company so that I could move from sales back to my forte—financial and strategic oversight. Eventually, she retired and I became her succession plan.”

Today, Hensley is at the helm of American Real Estate ERA Powered with three offices and nearly 80 agents in Beaumont, Lufkin and Nederland. Last year, the company was responsible for more than $160 million in closed sales volume.

Notably, she is a highly respected business expert resource in the State of Texas. State Governor Rick Perry appointed Hensley as one of the youngest REALTORS® to serve as a commissioner on the Texas Real Estate Commission, TREC, which is an industry regulatory body for the entire state. They advocate for the consumer in tandem with the Texas Association of REALTORS’® agent-focused advocacy to achieve a mutually beneficial balance for all involved.

A New Gig in Gig City
“There has to be a better way,” Sheila Shipley remembers telling her husband after they purchased their Virginia home when he experienced a job transfer.

Their agent showed them three homes and told them to pick one, so they did. A little more than a year later, dissatisfied with the home, they moved. It was then that Shipley realized she could make a difference in the home-buying process by committing to show people as many homes as it takes so they could feel good about the purchase. So began her real estate career in 1981.

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