When Elizabeth Wood arrived at the King Kamehameha Golf Club for the 49th annual Realtors® Association of Maui installation ceremony on Friday, Sept. 1, she had no idea she was part of the day’s agenda.  

In fact, when the Coldwell Banker Island Properties Realtor heard her name announced as the 2017 Realtor® Salesperson of the Year, she says it took her a few moments to process what had just happened. “It was a rush of adrenaline,” Wood said. “I felt shock and disbelief; I never imagined I’d receive this award.”  

That day, Wood, along with Realtor® Broker of the Year Jeannie Wenger and Affiliate of the Year Melissa Salvador, were honored by RAM for their business and real estate accomplishments, as well as their spirit, character, professionalism and volunteer work.

Wood’s real estate career began in 1999, and like so many other great success stories, it was a case of being in the right place at the right time—and with the right person. “I had been working at Maui Electric Company for three-and-a-half years on a workplace literacy grant program from the federal government,” she recalled. “The grant was managed through Hui Malama Learning Center, and one of the instructors at Hui Malama, Madge Walls, also taught the real estate pre-licensing course at VITEC (now EdVenture at University of Hawaii Maui College). So, when the Maui Electric Company grant expired, Madge convinced me that I would love real estate…and she was right. I am so grateful to Madge Walls.”

Now, nearly two decades later, Wood has forged a well-respected career as a Realtor® Salesperson. “I love many parts of this business, but helping first-time homebuyers is the most rewarding,” she said.

When it comes to being a Realtor®, Wood says three words rise above the rest: time, persistence and attitude. “It takes time and persistence to become a successful Realtor®,” she said. “Daily good work habits are essential… and you must have an attitude of gratitude.”

Wood says she’s had many defining moments in her career—most of which include “wow” moments with grateful clients. But another career-defining moment stands out in her memory. “At the end of one of the classes I taught at RAM, a new Realtor® came up to me to thank me for inspiring her to keep on going after she was ready to quit,” Wood said. “Real estate is a challenging career. Most people think it is easy. And then they get their license and realize it is overwhelming.”

And of course, having her name added to RAM’s Realtor® Salesperson of the Year plaque tops the list of defining moments. “There are so many wonderful Realtors doing wonderful things every day,” she said. “To be recognized in this way is such an honor.”

Over the years, Wood has contributed her time and talent to a number of worthy causes. Among other things, she’s volunteered as an interpretation ranger at Haleakala National Park; served on RAM’s technology committee and the Hawaii Association of Realtors®’ (HAR) education committee; made career day presentations to students at Lahainaluna High School and Lokelani Intermediate School; prepared and served meals for residents at Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers; and hefted furniture, floor fans and bulky rolls of carpeting into 20-foot containers as a volunteer for the Wishing Well…for Maui Students program (which collects furniture, school supplies and other items with the goal of improving the educational experiences and opportunities for Maui County’s public school students).

Wood says making a positive difference in the lives of others is intensely rewarding. “I love helping people,” she said. “It makes my heart sing.” When she’s not volunteering or working with a client, you’ll likely find Wood kayaking, whale watching, hiking, cooking and spending time with her family.

Wood attributes her success to the many influencers in her life. “Mentors are important in any career,” she said. “I have many great mentors in my life. Beth Holiday, Jim Wagner and Lori Wash have been with me through so much of my career, always with great advice and inspiring words. I will always be grateful to them.”

By Sarah Ruppenthal

The Maui News – September 23, 2017

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