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Women's History Month Spotlight: Evelyn Arnold

Updated: Mar 22, 2021

Broker/Owner of Excellence Realty has been in the business for 50 years, first as a broker in Compton for 22 years, and then moved to Lynwood where she has been for the last 28 years. When asked about obstacles she encountered along the way, Evelyn shared…

“At the beginning of my career in 1965, there was blatant discrimination. I was working as a cosmetologist at the time. My husband and I purchased investment property and worked with a white broker.

When I got my license, I went to that broker to see if she would hire me. She didn’t take me on because she thought I might hurt the production of her company. People of color were not accepted. The only thing that I recall is that I didn’t accept it as an obstacle. I didn’t think about it. It happened, but I didn’t let it discourage me. Later, I opened my own office.

In mortgage, the discrimination was not as blatant, but it was still there. We couldn’t get a loan because the appraisals came in low. The banks and the appraisers held down values, so we didn’t enjoy the appreciation others experienced. Financing is always difficult, as is maintaining property values. When you encounter an obstacle, you must be prepared to deal with the problem, be able to provide the evidence necessary to handle it and come up with other ways to help buyers get into the property. “

She went on to share insights to leadership in an interview for WomanUP!®:

Q: What was the best lesson you learned when you were first starting out?

Evelyn: To make myself available at the office from 9-6 daily. My first broker wasn’t available, and I had to rely on other agents and folks involved in the transactions to help me get started. It’s important to learn as much as you can by continuing to educate yourself about the business.

Q: Has a failure ever led to success?

Evelyn: It can—to succeed you need some sort of failure—it makes you a stronger person. As long as you can learn from it and accept that you made the mistake, you can move forward.

Q: What are the most important lessons you have learned over the course of your leadership career?

Evelyn: Always be honest and truthful. Don't ever give anyone the wrong information. There’s nothing wrong with letting them know you don’t know. Always be respectful of someone else’s time.

Q: What excites you about being a leader today in the real estate industry?

Evelyn: I’m excited that there are more women of color in real estate. I set myself as an example for all women of color, as there’s not that many Black women, still. So few of us are in leadership and the associations, I encourage my REALTOR® daughters to stay involved and be an example for others.

To learn more about the stories of the women who are making HERstory in real estate, check out our Blog.

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