“Helping people is my niche…”
To meet Sarah Coleman-Lee is to encounter pure, positive energy. That she has drive and ability is obvious. After a 22-year career in the Air Force in the health care field, she started a full time real estate career in 2008, at the height of the market meltdown. She wasn’t completely unschooled – she had discovered real estate investing while still in the military and had enjoyed doing that. Still, her timing would have most likely deterred even the most confident souls from going into that field. Yet in her first two years as a realtor, Sarah Coleman-Lee was named Rookie of the Year and a Realtor of Distinction. Not bad for a relative newcomer – especially someone entering a business field that was experiencing one of the worst collapses in history. “I’ve won other awards, but those two, especially, mean a lot to me,” she said. “I truly feel a passion for real estate. I love it.” LaVondalyn J. Watson, who nominated Coleman-Lee as a Woman to Watch, noted Coleman-Lee’s ability, passion, and sense of customer service.
“Her tagline is ‘going the extra mile’ and make no doubt about it, Sarah Coleman-Lee does just that,” Watson said. “I have never seen anyone so giving and so committed to making the lives of people better – family, friends and complete strangers.”
To Coleman-Lee, the awards represent much more than acknowledgement of business acumen. Rather, it is important to her that her successes, in real estate today and in her years in the military, offer her greater ability to practice her other passion, community service.
Coleman-Lee said she has always felt a drive to give back to the community for as long as she can remember. One of 12 brothers and sisters raised by a single mother in Mobile, Alabama, she said her mother, Arriee Coleman taught them the importance of giving back to the community.
“That was my upbringing – my mother taught us how important that really is,” Coleman-Lee said. “I don’t ever remember not doing community service – helping her do something. We were always doing something to try to help the community.”
Coleman-Lee especially has an affinity for women and children causes, giving much of her time, effort, and money to such organizations as the Dorchester Children’s Center and the Ronald McDonald House, to name a few.
One of the most important programs she works with is Increasing Hope, a financial training resource not only for people who are trying to buy a home but more importantly for people trying to keep a home.
“I got into this because I kept meeting people who simply are not positioned well financially,” she said. “Some have gone through foreclosures and they really don’t know how to get back on their feet again.”
Increasing Hope essentially teaches all aspects of financial literacy, from family budgeting to maintaining strong credit and she not only serves on the board of directors, she teaches classes for the program as well.
“I am blessed,” she said. “I am blessed and I am glad to be able to do something I love so much. But I’m flying highest when I am out there helping others. I have a lot going on but it’s so much good stuff. I stay energized. It’s what I was meant to do.”