Please introduce yourself and your business to our community.
My name is Tiphany Weeks and I am the broker, owner and founder of Diamond Real Estate Group. A brokerage founded on the simple idea of helping you find your way home.
At what point in your life did you realize your passion?
My background and professional career is and always has been in sales. After leaving my pharmaceutical sales job in Atlanta and moving to Orlando, I found myself in a very unfamiliar and uncomfortable role, unemployed. A new city, a new home full of possibilities and for the first time in my adult life a new set of responsibilities to which held no direct title other than wife. My husband was a professional baseball player which required frequent travel and living in multiple cities so we decided that I would resign from my job and travel with him. That came with many perks and adventures but many responsibilities. One of which was managing our housing needs.
Being married to a professional baseball player meant we would typically move three times a year. Once for spring training, again for the season, and then again back to our home base once the season concluded. That is if everything went as planned and there were no trades or injuries which may require additional moves. I enjoyed finding new homes for us, it was always a welcomed challenge and adventure. My love for real estate coupled with my love for travel and experiencing something new made managing our “home base” a fun task
I had many successes with my scouting job (see what I did there, inserted a clever baseball term, again) but also many challenges. I was often frustrated by chasing down unresponsive and unprofessional real estate agents. If it wasn’t an agent that I couldn’t get to call me back, it would be the agent that shows up with Jerseys and a bag of balls hoping for my husband’s signature. I eventually learned that it was a shared frustration by many of my peers and an issue we all dealt with regularly. One season in and I decided that I’d had enough and that I would become a licensed agent so I could help myself and all of the other families that needed help to find their way home. That’s where it all started.
What did you learn about yourself in 2020?
2020 came with many lessons. I am a resilient woman that prides myself on being able to battle my way through anything. 2020 humbled me. I can honestly say that one of my biggest AH-HA moments was that instead of battle sometimes I just need to breathe. Such a simple idea but monumental when used with intention. I had a strong start to 2020 due to some real estate deals that I worked late in 2019 but I had no idea where my additional business would come from. I was battling trying to manage being a wife, a mom of two littles, a realtor and business owner and oh yeah… me. I would often find myself feeling so overwhelmed and having the presumed sensation of drowning. The universe throwing in a global pandemic in the mix of it all nearly broke me.
Interestingly enough, I did not break. As many of the women before me, I put my hair in a bun, put on my big girl panties and decided that I can do this. Not doing this really wasn’t an option anyway. Contrary to popular belief I am human, therefore I do have those moments where I find myself feeling that all too familiar feeling of drowning. When I do, I look down to the bright red tattoo I got on my forearm that simply says “BREATHE”. There is a technique called box breathing which I use often, if not daily, that has truly helped me along my quest and definitely deserves much of the credit for my survival of 2020. What I learned about myself in 2020 is that it is okay to choose not to battle, especially when the choice can be to breathe.
What do you attribute to your success in life and business?
I attribute my successes in both life and business to those that paved the way before me, those that stand with me and to those who will come behind me. I struggle daily in most aspects of my life. In business, in parenting, in finding the balance in all of the titles that I carry. I am blessed that thus far each of those days has been proceeded with a new day. A day full of opportunities that bring forth new lessons, new blessings and often times new struggles. I have come to learn that as long as I have been given the day, then God must know that I can handle it. I call on my tribe of moms, friends, business women, and supporters often for advice and encouragement and it gives me motivation and ignites a fire within me when I know I’ve given it my best, and that my daily battles are making room for some dope women to come behind me.
It is important for us to nurture a community of black women that share, learn, and thrive together. Please share a story of failure that taught you a valuable lesson.
In short I got fired, and then I got fired. My first job as a licensed Realtor was with with a luxury real estate brand. It seemed to be the perfect fit. I was there trying to learn the business and leverage my contacts and relationships to make it happen. By “it” I mean, deals, money, success, you know… “it”. The firm I was with hired a manager to help with training and support. She came from another real estate company and had a lot of experience doing training. In one training session we were discussing buyers. She was saying that any time a buyer came through the door we needed them to fill out an information sheet. It was her opinion that if a person did not want to fill out the sheet, then they were not a serious buyer. There was a lot of discussion around this. I gave my opinion that it could be possible that people may be hesitant to give out their personal information upon entry just because some people are private and need to warm up a bit first. I remember what happened next like it was yesterday.
She responded to me by screaming at me and telling me that I know nothing. Her exact words were “when you actually sell something then you can tell me what buyers do and do not do”. Myself along with the 6 or so other people in the training class were silent with shock. I felt enraged, embarrassed, disrespected and a host of many other feelings. I refused to give that woman the gratification of seeing me shed a single tear so I politely got my nearly 8 months pregnant self up and excused myself to the restroom. Inside of that bathroom I cried, cursed her out and proceeded to plan out how I was going to beat her up in the parking lot (in my head of course). I then splashed water on my face, refreshed my lipgloss and went back to my training class.
Once the class was over I asked to speak with her in her office. I apologized to her for any misunderstanding and explained to her that I was in no way trying to derail her training. I let her know that while I was a newly licensed agent I had done several real estate deals on my own and I myself am often hesitant to give out my information because I value my privacy and because of my husbands profession. I also let her know that the way she spoke to me was unacceptable. I very professionally let her know that I did not appreciate her speaking to me with such malice and disrespect and that moving forward if there is ever any disagreements that we should be able to speak privately and respectfully to come to an understanding. Her reply was that she wanted to work with people who needed money, not people like me and that I was fired. She requested my key and asked me to leave.
This was one of my many defining moments where I realized that God is real. The ability to only beat this woman to a bloody pulp in my head, while in real life politely getting up and walking out of the door was definitely a miracle. I proceeded to call the owner of the company, the person who actually hired me, and told him exactly what happened. He apologized and tried to calm me down. At that point, my very pregnant and enraged self was unable to hold in my emotions. Myself, the owner, and one of the other managing brokers had talked about this situation for a few days while they tried to come up with a solution. A few days later they thanked me for my professionalism in the matter and offered to write me a letter of recommendation to another firm because they were going to honor her firing me. I was shocked, disgusted, embarrassed, and feeling outright defeated.
That story was not one that ended up where the right thing was done and I triumphed in the end. I was fired. I soon realized that although I was fired, I was not finished. I realized that I was fired as in “don’t come back” but also fired up. I went on to another successful brokerage, went on to have my baby, and went on to start building. I now hold that same fire as I own my own brokerage with the ability to hire and fire, and I make sure that I will never allow myself or anyone that represents my company to act or treat anyone in the way they treated me. I thought about that woman recently while setting my 2021 goals for myself and my business. I would not go so far as to thank her, but I am grateful for the lessons learned from that experience. I learned that I can only control myself and when a company or a brand doesn’t do the right things, create a company that does!
Please let us know the woman you were 5 years ago and who you’re becoming?
The woman I was 5 years ago was a stepping stone for the woman I am today, and the woman I am becoming. In the past 5 years I have had two babies, started a business had many successes and countless failures. The woman I am today carries the lessons from yesterday knowing that there is some pain associated with growth but it is worth it. My daily goal is to simply be my best self and to strive to be better than I was yesterday. I don’t always achieve that goal but every day I wake up is a new day to try.
What women in your life have been a source of inspiration?
I find inspiration in so many women. I’ve learned to stop searching for women to model myself after and started admiring the beauty, the lessons and the triumphs in everyday women. Seems like a simple answer to a complex question but there is beauty in simplicity. Inspiration is everywhere you look for it.
Celebrate your wins! Brag, sis. What are you most proud of?
I am proud of doing more than $8M in real estate in 2020 in the midst of a pandemic. I am proud that I am on track to do $10M this year and I’ve created a dope firm that people respect and want to work for and with. I am most proud that as hard as it is to be a mom, a wife, a friend, and a black entrepreneur in my very white little town, I have not, and will not give up.
Quoting Audre Lorde, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Please share your self-care routine.
My self care routine is an oldie but goodie. There is no feeling like that of a nice warm bath. I go all in for my baths. I play meditation music, pick out a few crystals that align with how I am feeling or what I am needing, light a few candles, burn some sage and Paulo santo and poor in some epsom salt, non scented… my vagina is very finicky. I never fail to come out of that bath feeling spiritually cleansed and recharged, feeling calm yet focused and most importantly I just feel good.
You are part of our melanin muse tribe. How can we help you on your journey?
Quite simply by connecting. Real estate is a business that relies on other realtors. I am often searching for other women, specifically black women, in other cities to refer business to, share tips and tricks with, and to just connect. If you are or know a dope black woman realtor please send them my way. I would be horrible at my job if I didn’t say that it would also help if you refer me. If you know of anyone looking to buy, sell or invest in real estate in the Central Florida area please refer me. Many thanks in advance.