When Donna Ting arrived at the Realtors Association of Maui (RAM) office in Kahului on the afternoon of March 3, the Tri-Isle Realty & Development Co. Realtor Broker thought she was there to deliver a presentation about affordable housing.
But she quickly discovered it was a set-up.
That day, Ting’s family, friends, colleagues and 2019 Realtor Broker of the Year Josh Jerman covertly gathered at the RAM office to honor her as the 2020 Realtor Broker of the Year.
“I was truly surprised. My daughter, Tatiana Medeiros, and Josh organized my friends and family. No one said a word,” she said. “They asked me to come to speak about affordable housing and the disabled… and suddenly my grandbabies were shouting ‘surprise.’ I was speechless.”
Ting, along with 2020 Realtor Salesperson of the Year Kim Insley-Morrell and 2020 Affiliate of the Year Brendan O’Colmain, was recognized for her business and real estate accomplishments, as well as her character, spirit, professionalism, and volunteer work.
Ting started her real estate career not long after she graduated from high school and was selling homes part-time at the age of 19. When a few of her clients asked her to keep a close eye on their investments while they were on the mainland, she found herself taking on a new and unexpected role as a property manager.
It wasn’t long before she was overseeing more than a dozen properties, and today, she manages properties all over the island. In June of 2016, she was honored as Maui’s “Housing Hero” by the Maui Homeless Alliance during the first-ever Maui Landlord Summit. The award acknowledged her decades-long practice of providing housing opportunities to those who might otherwise be overlooked or denied. She was also recognized as a compassionate and understanding property manager and landlord who treats all of her tenants fairly. Ting has long been a champion of affordable housing. Among other things, she works directly with the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department to get veterans, particularly those who are disabled, into housing.
In 2017, Ting was selected by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) as an honorable mention winner of Realtor Magazine’s 2017 Good Neighbor Awards. The annual awards program honors NAR members across the country who have made a difference in their communities through volunteer work. As an honorable mention recipient, Ting received a $2,500 grant for La‘akea Village, the nonprofit organization she co-founded two decades ago. La‘akea Village is a residential and vocational community on a 12-acre farm in Paia where adults with autism or intellectual and developmental disabilities live, work and thrive.
Over the years, she has served as a RAM Government Affairs Committee member, Realtors Political Action Committee (RPAC) chairperson (2005-2012), Hawaii Association of Realtors (HAR) RPAC trustee, HAR Standards Forms Committee member, HAR State Convention chairperson (1998), HAR Grievance Committee member, Equal Opportunity Committee member, and HAR Publications Advisory Committee member. She has also served on a number of local nonprofit boards, including the American Cancer Society, Maui Historical Society and the Hui Noeau Visual Arts Center, and has volunteered to serve meals alongside her fellow RAM members at the Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers facility in Wailuku.
In addition to being a well-respected figure in the community, Ting is a hero to her husband of 48 years, three children, and four grandchildren. Her kids describe her as selfless and devoted to helping others; one of her sons said he lucked out in the “mom department.”
And it’s safe to say Ting lucked out in the career department, as it continues to give her an opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. “The most rewarding thing about being in the real estate community is helping Maui folks find a home and the stability it provides in this changing world,” she said.
The Maui News – March 29, 2021