November Rising Star – Leize Watkins
By Charlotte Top Producers |Nov 21, 2022

A Big Risk Paid Off

Leize Watkins

Written By Eli Pacheco

Photos by Kelly Klemmensen Photography

Leize Watkins had her marketing degree from Clemson University and a job at an ad agency. Not a bad start to a career, by any measure. But she couldn’t shake one pesky reality.
Staying inside all day just wasn’t her.
“I realized I could not sit behind a desk for the rest of my career,” says Leize, this month’s Rising Star. “I needed to get out and engage with people. Social settings give me energy.”
A Charlotte native, Watkins was right at home in her Queen City knowledge. She received her real estate license in August 2020 and immediately joined Jennifer Vick & Company with Compass.
“It was a blessing to have the guidance and experience the team offered,” says Leize, who has been named a FiveStar Real Estate Award winner twice. “I needed a team at this stage of my life and my career. They gave me the assurance that my clients will be taken care of if I’m at a wedding, shower or family event over the weekend.”
Her team leader, Jennifer Vick, taught Leize when she was a second-grade elementary school student and stayed close with the Watkins family over the years.
“Leize was a wonderful student — kind, diligent and super responsible,” Jennifer recalls. “And she has proven to be a phenomenal agent. She cares for her clients like they are family. She is conscientious and one of the most organized people I know. Plus, she is so fun to be around.”
Jennifer has served as a guide for Leize, and also a therapist of sorts. “When I need her advice, she always steps in,” Leize says.
Leize’s father, Wes Watkins, though, is her ultimate mentor.
“He’s the hardest-working man I’ve ever met,” Leize beams. “He challenges my siblings and me, but not too hard. Some parents do that too hard. My parents raised us to be kind to everyone and work hard for what we have.”
Wes Watkins shares that his daughter had honesty and kindness in everything she did.
“She was always the most compassionate and caring person in the room,” he says.
Outside of Her Comfort Zone
The more you hear about Leize’s life, the more you understand how a desk job wasn’t a fit. She’s been parasailing and did the world’s highest bungee jump. She’s lived on a cruise ship for five months, and her passport is well-worn, with stamps from 30 to 35 countries. 
“Although it terrifies me, I love stepping out of my comfort zone,” Watkins says. “I love to travel, and I’m proud of my passport, but I always love coming home to the Queen City.” 
Watkins is a Charlotte native. Most of her family is still in the area — and she has recruited them into real estate with her. She has a brother living in South Charlotte in a home she helped him find who is working on getting his general contractor’s license, and a brother-in-law and nephew who live in Mississippi. Her family conquered their first flip last year with the help of Homer Construction. 
“My family is my rock,” Leize says.
She’s proud of her Clemson Tigers (“I bleed Clemson orange,” she says) and her chocolate Lab, Molly, who has made a few connections — and even a sale! — for Leize on walks in the neighborhood. 
Never Stop Learning
Watkins is intelligent and curious, which is bad news for anyone trying to catch her.
“The way you stay ahead of your competition is to never stop learning in all aspects of real estate,” says Leize. “Knowledge of social media, local business, marketing, neighborhoods and home updates are a few. Never stop learning to be the best representative for your client. Never stop learning to be your client’s best in the industry and the best representative.”
Wes Watkins takes pride in how Leize has embraced her career.
“Her maturity and knowledge of real estate are much greater than her actual years in the business,” he says. “The understanding of the business seemed to come to her. It is special to watch your daughter succeed at something she is passionate about.”
Like many agents, Leize faced the anxiety of quitting the steady income of a 9-to-5 job for the unknown. But it’s working out.
“It takes guts to do it so young and without a spouse with a steady income,” Leize admits. “But it was the best risk I’ve ever taken.”

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