The Alimond Show

Dawn Tollus: Philanthropy-Infused Real Estate and the Journey to Realtor of the Year

July 02, 2024 Alimond Studio
Dawn Tollus: Philanthropy-Infused Real Estate and the Journey to Realtor of the Year
The Alimond Show
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The Alimond Show
Dawn Tollus: Philanthropy-Infused Real Estate and the Journey to Realtor of the Year
Jul 02, 2024
Alimond Studio

Embark on a heartfelt odyssey with Dawn Tollus, the esteemed real estate savant from Century 21 Redwood Realty, who has gracefully woven philanthropy into her illustrious career. As the leader of the Marquis Group and the recently crowned Realtor of the Year for 2023, Dawn shares a tapestry of experiences from her 25 years in the industry. Her narrative is one of triumph and empathy, culminating in a spectacular gala that bolstered Mobile Hope with over $160,000 and gave rise to her own charitable foundation. This episode unfolds Dawn's journey, revealing the symbiosis of professional success and altruistic spirit.

Real estate is more than transactions; it's about the homes and the hearts within, a belief Dawn Tullis embodies through every sale and community gesture. This episode uncovers the profound impact of familial influence and volunteerism on Dawn's life, ensuring that each marketing strategy she deploys resonates with authenticity and relatability. Aspiring realtors and philanthropists alike will find solace in Dawn's insights about the vitality of passion in team building and the joy of giving back. Her story is a testament to the power of genuine connection and the indelible mark one can leave on their community.

With poignancy and resolve, Dawn recounts the personal loss of her son, a narrative thread that strengthens her resolve to better the lives of at-risk youth and tackle the opioid crisis head-on. Through personal growth and community development, she envisions a future ripe with potential, both for her team and her enduring love for real estate. As you tune in, allow Dawn's dedication to guide you through the nuances of relocating clients and navigating the ever-evolving landscape of local communities. It's an intimate glimpse into the life of a woman whose passion for her work is eclipsed only by her commitment to making a difference.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Embark on a heartfelt odyssey with Dawn Tollus, the esteemed real estate savant from Century 21 Redwood Realty, who has gracefully woven philanthropy into her illustrious career. As the leader of the Marquis Group and the recently crowned Realtor of the Year for 2023, Dawn shares a tapestry of experiences from her 25 years in the industry. Her narrative is one of triumph and empathy, culminating in a spectacular gala that bolstered Mobile Hope with over $160,000 and gave rise to her own charitable foundation. This episode unfolds Dawn's journey, revealing the symbiosis of professional success and altruistic spirit.

Real estate is more than transactions; it's about the homes and the hearts within, a belief Dawn Tullis embodies through every sale and community gesture. This episode uncovers the profound impact of familial influence and volunteerism on Dawn's life, ensuring that each marketing strategy she deploys resonates with authenticity and relatability. Aspiring realtors and philanthropists alike will find solace in Dawn's insights about the vitality of passion in team building and the joy of giving back. Her story is a testament to the power of genuine connection and the indelible mark one can leave on their community.

With poignancy and resolve, Dawn recounts the personal loss of her son, a narrative thread that strengthens her resolve to better the lives of at-risk youth and tackle the opioid crisis head-on. Through personal growth and community development, she envisions a future ripe with potential, both for her team and her enduring love for real estate. As you tune in, allow Dawn's dedication to guide you through the nuances of relocating clients and navigating the ever-evolving landscape of local communities. It's an intimate glimpse into the life of a woman whose passion for her work is eclipsed only by her commitment to making a difference.

Speaker 1:

So, dawn Tullis, I am with the Century 21 Redwood Realty Brokerage. I own a team called the Marquis Group and I am Realtor of the Year for 2023.

Speaker 2:

That is amazing. Yeah, it's really neat. Can you tell me a little bit about your journey and how you got up to this point, and about your awards and how you got up to this point and about?

Speaker 1:

your awards I had. I've been in real estate for about 25 years now, so you know, you kind of get into this momentum of just you're selling houses, you're working with buyers and sellers. But aside from that, I had a few years ago I started working with Mobile Hope to do a fundraiser for them, kind of like a community outreach, and I just wanted to, you know, have something larger than just selling real estate, something where it was philanthropic and giving back to the community. And Aaliyah actually introduced me to Mobile Hope because she was doing my social media for me. So we were there and we interviewed a few different ones. I kind of told her where my heart was and where it was leading me and where I would like to help with. You know, kids and maybe not little ones, but I also wanted it on a very local scale.

Speaker 1:

So I interviewed a few nonprofits because I wanted to do a fundraiser and what we originally thought was going to be a tiny little maybe barbecue fundraiser ended up being a gala at the Ritz where we raised over $160,000 for Mobile Hope.

Speaker 1:

So then I started my own foundation, my own charitable foundation, and decided that in moving forward, part of my journey wasn't just going to be about real estate and what I'm finding is that the more I dive into the philanthropic, just giving back to the community, and the more it's kind of filling my cup and the more it's kind of filling my cup. So, between the gala and then also I assist them with their social media At Graffiti and Silk, their thrift store, everything that they sell at Graffiti and Silk has been donated and 100% of that goes back to providing assistance and emergency shelter for the at-risk or homeless youth. So it's just been so important and it's just filled my cup. So then this past—we have our Realtor Awards for our local association every year. I go every year and this year was quite a surprise. So I arrived.

Speaker 1:

I wish they would tell you that you're winning these awards because then you're a little bit more prepared and you have a speech and you might not cry when you get up on stage. A speech, and you might not cry when you get up on stage, but then they ask you to talk while you're crying. So at any rate, we go through the night and I had won what's called a Circle of Excellence and that award applies for somebody who has a certain amount of production and has served on the not on the board, but as a chair or co-chair for different things. So on DAR this year I'm the chair for the community service, so it just kind of ties into the whole give back and our two beneficiaries for our fundraising are Women, giving Back and Mobile Hope, and so you have to serve on a committee. You would have had to hold events and different things like that. So, basically, once they looked at the fundraisers that I've done, the events that have happened because of the community service and then selling real estate on top of that, I was one of seven who won the Circle of Excellence Award and it was really, really cool because when they announced who the recipients were for that award, when I got up to stand with all of the agents up there that won.

Speaker 1:

I realized those were the agents that when I started real estate that I looked up to, that I, like, took note of. What are they doing? How are they marketing themselves? How are they? How are they to work with? Like would I ever want to work with this person? Because there's a lot of, you know, there's a lot of competition out there and not every transaction is smooth and even when a transaction goes south, the ones that are still amicable and professional and ethical are the ones that you consistently want to work with. So I was in awe that I was up there with. I was up there with the legends. You are a legend now. Well, I don't consider myself a legend.

Speaker 1:

Maybe maybe I'm just getting older doing this but yeah, so that was really cool to sit there and think that I got to stand up there with them. That was just super, super cool. So from the Circle of Excellence, they pick one person who kind of stands out for an award called the Jeanette Newton Community. I had to read I'm like Jeanette Newton Community Leadership Award. Yeah, so they pick one person from the circle of excellence that wins the Jeanette Newton Community Leadership Award and that person obviously has to do all of this.

Speaker 1:

Now, jeanette Newton was the CEO of DAR for over 25 years and her heart and soul of that, while she was running the whole show and taking care of, like, all the legalities and things of you know, contract updates and law and real estate her big thing was community service and encompassing like wrapping your arms around your community because, just like you're there for them, they are there for you and for us, not to just be able to provide a service of selling homes, but for us to be a resource for anything that they need in the community. But for us to be a resource for anything that they need in the community, whether it was community support through fundraisers or if their family needed help or needed to find emergency shelter, things like that. So unfortunately she passed away a few years ago and so they started an award on her behalf because of all her philanthropic work that she did on her behalf, because of all her philanthropic work that she did. So that, probably more so than being relative of the year, is what gets me choked up.

Speaker 2:

Congratulations to that. That's no small little award there, no, no. Huge and that's so important because that aligns with what's in your heart as well as giving back to the community. Being there for the community, Like that's amazing. How did you find out that this is something that makes your heart like happy?

Speaker 1:

Giving back. Giving back, it's always. It's just always been like who I am, it's through church. I've always volunteered. I've always been part of just bringing people together. I think it's just how I was raised, like my mom never wanted anybody alone during Christmas or during the holidays, and it was always. Everybody was always welcome, the door was always open. And that's the way I feel in my business. It probably drives my kids crazy because I'm just like everybody come join me, but you know it's just opening your doors to those who need it.

Speaker 1:

You know so it's. I didn't realize how much I loved it until when the boys were little we started going back to church. It was very important to get them into and they went to Christian Fellowship School, which changed names through the years, but I was president of their PTO for a couple of years and absolutely loved it. Hated to get up and speak in front of large crowds, but I just I, I love just making things better, making people feel more welcome, just opening that up. So I guess that's kind of where it started. And then I was in the dental field for a long time and so you know, seeing patients every day and things like that, it was just like you know, when people are grateful for what you do, not because you know it might be the most important transaction of their life and selling a house, but that you're there before, during and long after, no matter what, so it just makes you feel good. And then once you're recognized for it, you're like, oh, you know, it's a, it's, it's nice to be noticed.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I agree and like all the like love that the community wants to give back to you and take note.

Speaker 1:

I think that's amazing too but they're not alone when they see that Exactly.

Speaker 2:

That's amazing. And then can you tell me a little bit about marketing as far as it goes for your business and getting the word out there? How are you doing with that and what advice would you give Um?

Speaker 1:

marketing.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, like on social Hard, hard. You know I, aaliyah, got me out of my shell. She's the one like I credit her for, like I don't like the way I sound. I, you know, everybody's their own worst critic. So I had hired her a few years ago to do my social media and kind of make a game plan going forward. And so, as far as marketing goes, it's hard doing it on your own it's hard, especially like I love social media, especially like I love social media. I don't like the editing part and I don't like the, you know, trying to take pictures of myself. Like not, it's like I am not a photographer, I'm not a videographer, especially on my for me, um, because I will edit something to death and it should be like a 20-minute YouTube video and then it turns out being like a 15-second reel by the time I'm done and I'm not even in it.

Speaker 1:

So, but as far as marketing goes, you know it's something that I struggle with a lot as far as finding the time to do it. So, but social media YouTube, linkedin, tiktok you know there's so many different angles and everything out there and you just have to figure out which ones you're comfortable with and outsource the ones that you're not comfortable with. Yeah, so, but if you're not out there and doing it, then you're probably not doing a lot of business, like, people don't know who you are and people want to see the authenticity. Yes, right, yes, people want.

Speaker 1:

I love telling people's stories, and I think that's Probably when I go in for a listing appointment and they tell me the story about them growing up in the house and raising their kids, and that part of their story. That's what I love to tell and that's what I'm most interested in. And I think when somebody can see you are going to tell their story, the way that is going to touch somebody else's heart, that's what they want. That's who they want to sell their house to. Is the person who's going to now raise their family there and is now going to, you know, or is going to retire there, so it's really cool.

Speaker 2:

That's beautiful. Thank you, you're welcome. And what advice would you give to anybody business owner, another realtor about wanting to help the community and they don't know where to start, who to talk to, or even just like being successful but also remembering to give back to their communities?

Speaker 1:

I would say find your passion. For me, as a business owner, I found what I love and if you go in my opinion, when I interview agents that come onto my team, one of the first questions I ask them is why do you want to do this? And honestly, if their answer is to make a ton of money, then for me that's not. It's not that it's the wrong answer, it's just. I feel like people have to have a love of what they think they're getting into, and so many agents out there get into this because they're like it's going to be quick and easy money.

Speaker 1:

And it's not quick and easy money and there are so many different aspects of the business that you have to work and it's about the amount of conversations you have. And it's not about putting a sign in the ground and then getting a household. It's about connecting, networking and giving back. So, as far as finding a way of giving back to the community, you find out what you're passionate about. And for me, I lost my son two years ago. I lost my oldest son to an opioid overdose.

Speaker 2:

So hold on opioid overdose. So Hold on. Yeah, can we get a paper towel? Take a moment. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry my makeup's going to run, damn it.

Speaker 1:

Don't let it. This is what we do, right? Yes, so when I lost him, I had already started doing the Mobile Hope, volunteering for them and trying to figure out, like what we were going to do to help give back. And I thought, once he passed it he passed away in June and their huge gala was in October and we were like well over halfway done in planning this and it took about a year and a half to plan it and they said, like let's not do it, and I was like no, now more than ever, we need to do it Like we need to. If there is something that I can do to help one more kid in crisis, then it's worth it. So it worked out well, we did really well with that and I continue, just like my heart is just trying to save these kids and trying to, you know, bring awareness, bring awareness and get them on the right track, and so whatever I can do to assist mobile hope in that, I'll do it.

Speaker 2:

Thank, you for that. That's like an underlying crisis going on that a lot of people, I feel like don't think twice about. They're like. That won't happen to us. We're fine.

Speaker 1:

Oh my gosh, I raised my son private school, christian, going to church. He was a good kid and 30 years old, living, living his life, doing his thing, and and then you just don't, you're not promised tomorrow no, so so yeah now more than ever.

Speaker 2:

Thank you for sharing that. Yeah, um, and then can you tell me where you see yourself in the next five years? Like, where is Don Tellis gonna?

Speaker 1:

Well, I'm still growing my team. So I've had a lot of amazing agents who have retired out and are living their life on the beach. So we used to have, I think, 23 agents on our team. Then we have about 12. We brought on a couple more and so I think I'll grow it a little bit more and then maintain it and then I just I will still be doing, I think, exactly what I'm doing in five years. In 10 years I might start to consider retiring, although I can't even imagine myself retired, like I can't imagine myself vacationing more. Yeah, but I don't know about retired do you work from home or something?

Speaker 1:

maybe I will give my agents more of my business and kind of transition off, but but not for well over 10 years you're like I love what I do, like I keep on asking my fiance I'm like can I retire yet, can I retire? Yet?

Speaker 2:

he's like you'll never retire. I love how he's like calling you out Like you're not retiring.

Speaker 1:

You are. He was like you can retire if you want to, but you you would just not be like happy not selling homes and and and being around people and I'm just a people person, whether I know I'm or not. No, yeah, it shows like yeah.

Speaker 2:

So thank you again.

Speaker 1:

Thank it shows so thank you.

Speaker 2:

Again, thank you so much for sharing that. I know some things are a little bit on the tougher side to speak about, but thank you, I know it's like for awareness as well, so other people can be aware and know that your journey hasn't been something just of a straight line. It has its ups and downs, but here you are today, still going and being strong and helping out the community. So we just thank you for that, because I know without people like that in the world, it makes it a little bit lonely. Yeah, so it feels so good that there are people who care about others and want to see people thriving and we have a safe space to go to and to talk to. So, yeah, absolutely. That means so much. Thank you. Yeah, absolutely. And then can you tell me a little bit about what your favorite thing is being a realtor, when you're helping people find a new home, moving away from another state and they don't know what they're going to be doing, like as far as living in a home where they don't know anybody, oh my gosh.

Speaker 1:

Those are probably relocation clients that come from out of town are are amazing because I get to tell the story, whether it be Loudoun County, fairfax, prince William. When I started real estate I realized that I love the history behind how like Loudoun County has grown up and I've lived here since there were just dirt roads coming through the middle of. You know Broad Run was considered children of the corn because it was in the middle of a cornfield and you had to take a gravel road like wax pool road.

Speaker 1:

I can't picture that it used to be a gravel road to get there pool road, I can't picture that it used to be a gravel road to get there, and I remember going when I was in high school, coming out to football games and remembering we had to go through the gravel road, and so it was. I've just I've watched it develop and it's just so cool. And just when I think, oh, it's settling down, it's not settling down, it takes you by surprise. It does take you by surprise, yeah, it does. Like I was just driving by Gold's Gym in Ashburn the other day, and one day it's up and you know, next day it's going to be a data center, and now it's, you know, torn down and it is. It's growing up so fast. What?

Speaker 2:

are your thoughts on that? Like so much change, like that. How do you feel Like? Are you feeling like, okay, cool, it's going to bring more stuff? Or like maybe it shouldn't be a data center? What?

Speaker 1:

are your thoughts on that? You know, I think that there is a way to grow. I understand both. You know that the residents who don't like to live around the data centers, the residents who don't like to live around the data centers and I also understand the impact and benefit that the data centers bring to the county. I can see both sides of this story Both sides yeah, both sides of each situation and I just think I think things are going to grow.

Speaker 1:

I just think things are going to grow and people naturally do not like change and I understand that. And now out in Prince William County they're saying that that's going to even have more data centers than Loudoun County does. So we're seeing that whole thing grow and I'm just looking back and watching that. I'm just looking back and watching that and I've been to some of the meetings out with the county and just people are it's like a deja vu of where Loudoun County was and I think that there's a smart way of bringing them in and a smart growth pattern and I think as long as we're all learning from other counties on what that looks like, then I think it's a good thing. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

I agree with you on that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and now my final question for you is if you could leave our listeners with any message that's in your heart, it could be in. I know you've talked a lot about causes and the opioid crisis that's going on in our nation, but if there's anything else that you would like to share or leave our listeners with, what would that message be?

Speaker 1:

Well, if they're looking to buy or sell a home, call me. But besides that, and every real estate agent I'm sure I said that yes I would just say, you know, find what you love to do and find your passion, and just it doesn't have to be a lot of time that you dedicate to it. But you know, every like I said before, you know tomorrow is never promised. So find out what you're passionate about and volunteer Volunteer. You know it doesn't have to be a monetary donation, but donate your time, donate your efforts, donate. You know everybody has something worth giving back for, and just find out what that is.

Speaker 2:

Thank you so much, donna. I really appreciate you coming in and sharing your story and your time with us. Yeah, thank you, of course.

Real Estate Agent's Philanthropic Journey
The Importance of Giving Back
Navigating Tough Topics as a Realtor
Finding Passion, Giving Back