November Cover Story – Brigitte Perry
By Charlotte Top Producers |Nov 21, 2022

Leadership with Conscience

By Eli Pacheco

Photos by Kelly Klemmensen Photography

Brigitte Perry, broker in charge at Southern Homes of The Carolinas, is and will always be a social worker. It’s not only her background … her way of thinking was developed as a social services director. The beneficiaries of Brigitte’s conscientious, serving mindset are the many homeowners who have worked with her over the years.

“I’m here to help one family at a time,” Brigitte says. “I would say some agents focus on only getting the home sold quickly. I don’t see myself as a salesperson — I’m here to help families. It’s a very different mindset.”

After graduating from Radford University with a bachelor’s degree in social work, beginning her graduate work in counseling at George Mason University and finally obtaining her master’s degree from Capella University, Brigitte became an investigator for Child Protective Services. She’s been a counselor for inmates in a jail, and when she moved to Charlotte, she served in social work with foster care. She became a team leader and state director for a local therapeutic foster care agency.

When her local office was set to close, Brigitte had a decision to make on what to do next. Knowing her people skills, another foster care state director suggested she look into real estate.

“In social work, I was on call 24/7 and I had reached the top leadership position,” Brigitte says. “That’s fine, but I also had no ability to go anywhere. I couldn’t go higher, I couldn’t go anywhere but back to direct service. In real estate, it’s a different 24/7 job that still allows me to use my social work skills and leadership skills, but a child’s life isn’t in crisis. That’s a lot of stress. I wanted a way to help families without putting trauma on myself and as I was.”

As it turns out, real estate was a perfect fit for Brigitte. When she joined Keller Williams Realty, she was named Rookie of the Year. She became a broker in charge at Southern Homes of the Carolinas in 2017. She says the company allowed her to develop her leadership in real estate, working with her own team. “The structure worked well,” she says.

Kim Hankins, a senior loan officer at Movement Mortgage, met Brigitte when she became broker in charge. Brigitte’s real estate knowledge and dedication to exceptional service struck Kim.

“She has a personality that draws you,” Kim says. “She exudes happiness and confidence.”

After she helped her sell a home, Laura Rysdon stayed in touch with Brigitte for five years. She also cited Brigitte’s real estate knowledge as a strength.

“She was honest about the sale of our home, and she held my hand through the whole process,” Rysdon said. “I never had to worry about one thing; she answered my questions before I even had any.”

Beginnings

Brigitte was raised by a single mom who was a teacher. Brigitte dealt with a learning disability growing up, and her school didn’t feel her mom should force her to go to college. “It’s ironic,” Brigitte says with a smile. “I became a state director in social work. Don’t ever let someone tell you you can’t do something. It made me work even harder.”

Brigitte married Brian, her high school sweetheart, 10 days after college graduation. Brian also has his real estate license and is Brigitte’s marketing director. He works with her part time since he also works full time as a marketing strategy director for a top marketing firm.

Brigitte and Brian have fraternal twin girls at two colleges; Gabby is at Appalachian State, and Alyssa is at East Carolina. Brigitte and Brian live right here in the middle of the state and share their lives with Piper, their rescue dog. “So when clients talk about a need for a yard for dogs and having to be close to walking trails, I get it,” Brigitte says. “Our dogs are a big part of our lives.”

Being able to turn off the phone is a goal this foodie with a case of wanderlust is working toward. It’s part of a pledge to herself to get away more often, ideally for two days each month.

“We have connecting time,” Brigitte says. “Some might ask, ‘Are you going away again?’ I say, ‘Yes, I am.’ I cannot show a house when I’m away, but I have a fantastic team that can.”

Brigitte is committed to serving families wherever she is and has been known to close a contract even when away.

She’s All In

Despite her aspirations for more escape time, Brigitte always operates with a social worker’s ethics and concern.

“It’s important to be available for your client families,” Brigitte says. “They’re in a stressful time of crisis, not just a transaction. It’s not just a work day. They’re uprooting an entire family to move somewhere new. Think of that first.”

That awareness and experience are tremendous assets, says Kim Hankins, when she gets to work with Brigitte.

“She’s all in,” Kim says. “She moves with purpose. That matches my passion for ensuring each client is ahead of schedule and excited to get to closing. She’s also fun. … You can tell she loves real estate, which is refreshing.”

It’s clear that Brigitte loves people and especially loves helping them, regardless of obstacles. She is a big believer in problem-solving and making connections with other REALTORS®, which comes in very handy when she has questions. She encourages new agents to stay curious and not be afraid to make those connections.

“If you don’t know, find out,” Brigitte advises. “Problem solve. Call the state, call the commission or the MLS. Somebody knows something. I’ve made great friendships with others in real estate, and I wouldn’t hesitate to call them. I’m not afraid to share ideas. They know I won’t go after their clients or neighborhoods. We’re sharing ideas and thoughts, and that’s important.”

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