Expect and prepare for failure. Deals can fall through and client interests and timelines may change. Some relationships may be more difficult or tricky to manage than others, especially with other agents! Expecting this to happen and having a backup plan helps to keep your head in the game and your emotions separate.
The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Giovanna (Jojo) Adams. Jojo is a Realtor with Scofield Realty in Las Vegas, NV. Before becoming a Realtor, Jojo worked in the world of hospitality. She managed a team of 100+ front and back-of-house employees at restaurants in the Bellagio and Aria. Because of COVID-19 closures, Jojo was forced to turn to another career. That’s when she found real estate. Her greatest passion is serving her clients by guiding them through some of the largest milestones of their life. As a Las Vegas native, she is an expert on the city and her strong hospitality background invites a refreshing level of care and diligence to each real estate transaction.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. Growing up, I was always fascinated by the glitz and glam of the city. I think that is what sparked my interest in the hospitality industry. That, along with my time spent studying abroad in Italy. My family has roots in Calabria, and that’s where I discovered my love for food and the camaraderie of sharing meals with others. When I graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a degree in psychology, I knew I had to and find a way to incorporate my passion for understanding people, with the hospitality and food service industry on the Las Vegas strip.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Some of my favorite life lessons are quotes that my mother used to say to me during her eight-year battle with cancer. “This too shall pass” and “there are bigger fish to fry” are phrases that most of us are used to hearing, but sunk in even deeper for me because of what my mom was going through. I used those words to lift me up when things were difficult. There are always obstacles in life, especially in real estate! Not every day may be your best, but the sun always comes up the next day and presents us with a new opportunity to start over and to move on from yesterday’s worries. In the grand scheme of things, the little worries mean nothing. When I find myself overwhelmed with life, work or stress, I remember that the “big fish” in my life are my family and loved ones. That is what keeps me on track for tomorrow.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
One film that always sticks out to me is Shawshank Redemption. It hits on a different emotion every time I watch it. I feel like no matter what stage of life I’m in, I can relate. The roller coaster plot is worth the ending of freedom and justice. I think what I love is its story of hope, and finding a small bit of light each day when everything else has been stripped from you.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
Before the pandemic began, I was managing a restaurant in the Bellagio called Sadelles. It was beautiful. It overlooked the conservatory garden and was always bustling with people. We were open from 6 AM until midnight and would serve an average of 1,500 people a day. Needless to say, my life was consumed with work and my typical day was about 12–14 hours long. There were many times when I wouldn’t have a day off for weeks in a row. It was often difficult to be away from home and to bear the stress of day-to-day restaurant operations. That being said, I’m so grateful for the relationships and experiences I gained through my years with the company.
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic forced me to change my career. I worked in the bustling Las Vegas world of hospitality for so many years. I love working with people and knew I needed to find a client-facing career that would allow me to do that. Real estate was that career. I found a way to serve others and build relationships in an industry that’s practically pandemic-proof! This wasn’t the first time I considered a career in real estate, but it is certainly the first time I had the courage and time to go for it! In November of 2020, I enrolled in a real estate prep course and completed the program in a month. I then went through state testing and received my license in late January of 2021! The process was so much quicker and easier than I ever would have anticipated. I have learned so much in such a short time.
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
When the pandemic forced most of the world to shut down in March of 2020, I had a lot of time on my hands. The restaurant closed, I didn’t have a job and I was spending all of my time at home like everyone else. I started cooking again and trying out new recipes that I’d always wanted to make. I spent more quality time with my family and even my dogs, enjoying a simple walk to the park. I kept thinking how valuable all of the “free time” was. I told myself that I may never be able to afford this kind of personal time again, and that’s when it hit me. You can’t buy time. You can’t buy experiences. And working 12–14 hours a day wasn’t letting me have either of those things. As I deliberated my return to Sadelle’s I kept thinking how valuable it would be to find a career that gave me more time to enjoy the simple things in life. I turned farther and farther away from wanting a job that robbed so much of my time. Making the decision to change careers was my “aha moment.” Real estate is a career that does require long hours at times, but the best part is knowing I can be in charge of my life and schedule. I do it for myself and I can still make time to do the things I love.
How are things going with this new initiative?
I love my new career in real estate! I have a steady schedule that I can adapt to my own life. That’s something I’ve never had before. Of course, there are stressors that come with any job, but I can insert “me time” whenever I feel like I need a break. I am building up a routine that works well for me and I have even spruced up my home office in a way that gets me excited to come to work every day. I closed my first deal in my first two weeks as a licensed Realtor and have a few others in the pipeline.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I am so thankful for all of the people who have helped me get to where I am today. Since changing careers, my broker, Kirby, and his wife Beth have been wonderful mentors. Unlike most brokerages, they are always readily available. They make their care for agents and clients well known, which shows the true character of their business. Kirby truly motivates me as a new Realtor. He does a great job of holding his agents accountable and inspires us to keep pushing in spite of hurdles, all while keeping a warm camaraderie amongst our team.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
Entering into the world of real estate during that pandemic has been a huge learning experience for me. I’ve quickly learned how to adapt and thrive in this seller’s market. Like most around the country, sellers in Las Vegas are getting top dollar for their homes. But, interest rates still remain low for buyers and investors. Every deal results in multiple offers and as an agent, I have to be creative to make purchase agreements stand out amongst others. Waiving appraisals, offering more over asking price, shortening contingencies and offering to pay part or all of the seller’s escrow expenses are just some of the things that have become required. I’ve had to learn how to execute each with precision.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
1) Expect and prepare for failure. Deals can fall through and client interests and timelines may change. Some relationships may be more difficult or tricky to manage than others, especially with other agents! Expecting this to happen and having a backup plan helps to keep your head in the game and your emotions separate.
2) It’s going to take time and patience. Practice makes perfect, right? In real estate, it may be months before you find a system that works for you. Having patience for the process is critical.
3)Humility goes a long way. No matter what industry you’re entering into, be humble and continue to learn. This will help you advance. No matter what stage of my career I’m in, I continue to have an “earn your stripes” mentality. There is always room for improvement. Ego should never get in the way of learning.
4) Don’t ever stop prospecting. Even when you are working on deals in escrow and anticipating closings, you have to look ahead to your future and continue to nurture more leads. This flow comes with the territory and is something I continue to work on.
5) It’s OK to say no. Whether it comes to negotiating your commission or refusing information that could be in violation of Fair Housing Guidelines, it’s ok to say “no.” Saying “no” on occasion may command greater respect from your client. There are ways to provide exceptional service while still teaching others the right way to treat you and your business.
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
It sounds simple, but I try to keep an optimistic outlook. It all comes down to perspective. I get up a little earlier, open all the windows to let the sunshine in, brew my coffee and play my favorite music to get the day off to a good start. I make time for the things that get my mind in a good place. Sometimes that means treating myself to an indulgent dinner or an evening nightcap to unwind. Scheduling time for this in my life helps me to look forward to a small part of my day and keeps my spirits high during stressful days.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I love being able to pay it forward. It’s enlightening to see how much a small act of kindness from a random stranger can change your day and even your life. On a few occasions, the car in front of me at a drive-thru covered my bill, and every single time it has brought me to tears. The idea that someone who knows nothing about you at all can have so much good in their heart. It then gives you an equal opportunity to share the good in your own heart. Just think, if everyone conducted their lives in such a way, it would spark so much good in the world. It feels good to be on both the giving and receiving end.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
I would have to pick Ina Garten. My grandma and I love her show, Barefoot Contessa. The flavors and style of cooking she uses are very similar to my own family, plus I admire her blissful personality and her love for comfort food. I think we would have a lot in common!
How can our readers follow you online?
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!