By Linda Elliott
I’m in the business of making connections. Actually, so are you. The difference is that I make a living at it, and very likely, you don’t – or you don’t think you do. The reality is, you are probably making valuable connections every day, not only for yourself, but for others. You simply are not aware of it!
Let me share a couple of true stories that will cause you to believe this world is truly small. I’ll try to prove true the well-known adage “what goes around comes around” can happen in our little world of possibilities.
Through a mutual acquaintance in Orange County, Calif., Susan Knox of Atlanta and I were connected. Our connector said he only knew two human beings who do what Susan and I do for a living and that we should get to know each other. We kept in touch for a couple of years and finally realized that it was time for us to “officially” meet. Susan came to San Antonio, and we knew as soon as I picked her up at the airport that this would be a magical connection.
Susan and I have developed a bonding relationship. We recognize each other’s strengths and challenges, and we collaborate to conquer and overcome in all that we do together. We’ve started a bi-monthly newsletter called “Connection Insights” that is distributed to our respective colleagues and associates. It is our goal to connect people I know with those she knows. In other words, we are connecting Texas with Georgia! We are working with a couple of mutual clients. Both are from San Antonio, and she has introduced them to people in Atlanta. I’m meeting with people from Atlanta who want to do business in San Antonio.
One particular client that we are both working with is MilTribe, a purpose-driven, online platform formed exclusively for verified active and veteran service members and their families to assist with integration into their military or civilian communities. The MilTribe Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, has been formed to raise funds to provide grants that assist military dependents in the ability to participate in academic, extracurricular, athletic and community programs. Susan and I have agreed to be the co-executive directors of this foundation.
Now I segue to another true story. Shannon Badger, a fellow NAWBO member, asked me to meet with a good friend who needed some direction in her career path. I never like to say no to friends, so I agreed to do so. When I was told she was a residential Realtor, all I could think is how can I possibly offer any advice to a residential Realtor?
Her friend, Lindsey Litton, called me, and we met for coffee at Starbucks. I was pleasingly impressed with Lindsey. She definitely had the tenacity and fortitude it takes to succeed in life, but there is a drawback for her. She is never in one place for long. Lindsey is an Air Force wife and has moved four times in her young married life. She knows what military families must go through and how tough it is to be uprooted every few years, only to move to other communities, make new friends and switch careers.
As I listened to her speak about her challenges of making it in the real estate business, it dawned on me that with her in-depth understanding of military life, she could carve out a niche market. I was excited about this “brilliant” idea. My enthusiasm and belief in her ignited a fire within her. She totally embraced the direction of making her company exclusively a military relocation business.
Next I connected her with a dear friend named Pat, who was at that time working for the Joint Forces as the chief of marketing and Interactive Solutions for INCOM. He helped Lindsey put together a marketing plan to reach out to bases throughout the country. Part of that plan was to establish the Litton Group to serve as brokering agent for buying and selling homes for military families. Taking that plan a step further, Lindsey started the Milhousing Network (MHN), consisting of other military spouses in multiple communities. MHN is an online support site for military families that are relocating. It offers tips, advice and resources for all aspects of the moves. It’s all about spouses helping spouses.
It is pretty amazing what has happened in such a short period of time. Lindsey and I had that fateful cup of coffee on Sept. 16, 2015. In 2016 she was the recipient of NAWBO’s Entrepreneurial Spirit Award for Rising Star. The Litton Group was also recognized as one of the top producing residential groups in the San Antonio market. In fact, under the new business model Lindsey met her first annual revenue goal in just two months!
Lindsey now lives in Colorado Springs after her husband’s transfer, but the Litton Group continues to thrive in San Antonio, with her partner managing the business. Lindsey now focuses on growing the Milhousing Network throughout the country. MHN helps military spouses navigate their move with resources, Realtors and tools to ease their moving stress.
Recall Pat, whom I introduced Lindsey to in the beginning? He connected her with the CEO of MilTribe. MHN has been named the relocation partner for MilTribe. Together, both MilTribe and MHN are able to better serve our soldiers and their families no matter where the military might take them. Remember also that MilTribe is Susan’s and my client. That initial meeting between Lindsey and me absolutely validates that “what goes around comes around.” Whoever would have dreamed that she and I would be reconnected through a mutual client?
It is absolutely possible for you to be able to make life-changing connections for others or for you to be that lucky beneficiary of a connection that will change your own life. Just look what a conversation over a cup of coffee created for Lindsey, MilTribe and the Elliott-Knox team. Anything is possible!