Written by Landie Canfield, Client Care Coordinator
No one could have predicted the reality of the circumstances that exist today. In some ways, a radical shift has taken place. In other ways, life is still the same. Despite the widely acknowledged hardships, there is also room to recognize that this cultural transformation has brought with it certain benefits, including an overwhelming attitude of gratitude. In this moment, Mary Cheatham would like to celebrate, with a certain amount of disbelief considering our start point only five years ago, that MCKRE has come to be 19 women strong and ranked in the top one percent of Keller Williams groups in the country. So it is with great intention that, as a team, we have taken some time to look back over this past year and at our history as a whole to honor our progress and move forward into the New Year with perspective and purpose.
Mary Cheatham’s changeless qualities of understanding, endurance and authenticity are the driving force behind a company whose roots date back to 2003, when as a new bride, she obtained her real estate license working at Cannon & Gruber. She scored her first big deal after only two years in production and next sold all the units at the newly developed HarborSide Club in 2006. Only three years later, Mary Cheatham took home Top Producer for the first time.
A turning point came in 2013 when Mary Cheatham joined up with Listing Coordinator Susan Shouse, who has remained by her side ever since. Like Holmes and Watson, this classic duo is defined by their devoted friendship and mutual support. To this day, Susan’s incredible accuracy on each and every listing has been a valued asset and, according to Mary Cheatham, “has kept us all out of the clink!”
Mary Cheatham King Real Estate was born two years after that union, and soon to follow, Mary Cheatham found herself on the Keller Williams Top 10 List for individual agents in the region. She had come out of the gate running at top speed! Her follow-up move was recruiting Laura Montocchio to the team to take the position of Lead Buyer’s Agent in 2016. The small but savvy team more than doubled its volume from the previous year, reaching $24,000,000 and serving 66 families.
Mary Cheatham’s vision for MCKRE differed from Keller Williams’ typical team format. She chose to model the company from the client’s point of view. Rather than add agents to the team ad infinitum, Mary Cheatham made very deliberate choices, selecting women with specific, singular strengths who would add their own unique finesse and abilities to the whole and help enhance the client experience. Project Manager Jennifer Billaber, Client Care Coordinator Landie Canfield Dalleo and Buyer’s Agent Belinda Whitlatch came aboard next, embracing Mary Cheatham’s objectives wholeheartedly.
Laura remembers issuing a warning to Mary Cheatham around then saying, “Don’t get used to this Top Ten thing…with the addition of Belinda, we’re competing with other groups that have as many as 85 agents. We’re probably never going to make that list again.” Later that year MCKRE was ranked ninth in all of North and South Carolina.
The following year, 2018, shook us all with the destruction and interminable aftermath of Hurricane Florence, but it was also a radical one for expansion and awards. Megan Gravley took marketing’s crowning glory, the Newsletter, and helped to segue it into the MCKRE Magazine. Brittany Segur joined the team, to partner beautifully with Belinda. Lana Collman graced the team that year, her skills as varied as they are impressive, and is now firmly at Mary Cheatham’s side as her Executive Assistant. And finally, the addition of Listing Agent Liz Waine, whose business acumen and natural abilities contributed to taking everything to the next level, in spite of the lull in the market post-hurricane. That year MCKRE was ranked in the top 100 agencies for all of Keller Williams and was awarded Carteret County’s Small Business of the Year. We hit $73,700,000 and helped 169 families, while we worked together as a community to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Florence.
Our Marketing Team grew in 2019 when lovely Andie Darden joined our ranks. And we were lucky enough to secure Kelly Hefferon to join forces with Laura Montocchio, and Lori Harbin to collaborate with Liz Waine. Renee Yost became a part of the ensemble, keeping a watchful eye on “The Kingdom,” wrangling kiddos, and in general, helping Mary Cheatham to juggle her work and home life without dropping any balls.
Breaking records in more ways than one, 2020 swooped in and with it came a whopping five new folks to the MCKRE clan: Beth Fellows and Annie Frenzel as additional support to our Buy Teams, Dana Rybicki, our most recent Seller Coordinator, and Shannon Arner as Client Concierge. Each of these additional team members carries out Mary Cheatham’s vision of support— providing backup for each team member and the team jointly so that the promise of fulfilling our clients’ wish lists can be effortlessly granted. The final hire of the year was Stephanie Mann, who, as our newest listing agent, will carry us into the new year while Liz Waine gets to know her new baby bundle of joy, Amelia Kate! Our 2020 volume sold was $185,053,715, and we helped 318 families buy or sell homes here on the Crystal Coast.
Every year, our team works to set and perfect our goals and incorporate these new habits into our routines. We are always aiming to enhance our team dynamic and polish our systems in order to sustain our client-first creed, and ensure an unparalleled, 5-star experience for each customer who crosses our path. Whether it’s a sign call, someone in need of a good plumber, a potential client looking for counsel, or the next million dollar buyer, anyone in our custody be it for 5 minutes or 5 months is treated with equal diligence and respect. Mary Cheatham’s legacy, leadership and principles are ceaseless inspiration for us all—each person who steps inside the MCKRE realm is tended to with thoughtful consideration, honesty and enthusiasm. As well, we call on each other to remember that the end result is merely a destination, it is the path we choose and the joy of the journey that counts and that we are all on this wonderful trip together.
Take a look at some of our favorite moments from over the years: