Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, August 21, 2020

Rose takes full swing at a new profession


By David Laprad

When Joan Rose became serious about playing golf 17 years ago, she went all in. For years, she’d played casually with her husband to keep him company when they were on vacation, but when they moved to The Champion’s Club at Hampton Creek in Ooltewah, she decided it was time to kick things up a notch.

After Rose took lessons, she and the greens outside her front door became inseparable. At her peak, she was playing three to four times a week, including evenings, during the week and on weekends.

“I became addicted,” she smiles.

Rose poured the same level of commitment into representing homebuyers and sellers when she became a Realtor in 2016. And she did better than par for the course: In 2017, Rose received the Rising Star award at Coldwell Banker Pryor Realty for delivering the most production of all the new agents.

But whereas golf had been a fun add-on to Rose’s life at Hampton Creek, her real estate career ascended in the choppy wake of the loss of her professional identity and a period of intense soul searching.

A marketing professional by trade, Rose had walked into what she thought was a meeting about sponsorships at the bank where she had worked for nearly a decade and was instead told her employer had eliminated her position.

“It threw me for a loop,” Rose remembers. “It made me question my abilities. It made me question everything about myself.”

Going to the beach with a friend helped, as did an ensuing trip to Florida to see family, but as Rose enjoyed the ocean and the support of good people in her life, she wrestled with what she would do next.

Then came the day she picked herself up, dusted herself off, looked in a mirror and asked, “What do you want to do?”

At first, Rose focused on securing another marketing job, but she was unable to find a position that not only stoked a fire inside her but also paid what she was accustomed to making, she admits.

With no tantalizing opportunities at hand, Rose resolved to join the ranks of the self-employed. “I decided to do my own thing so I would never have to worry about losing my job again,” she says.

At some point during this transition, Rose met Peggy Pryor, the broker and owner of Pryor Realty. Like Pryor had done with many of the other individuals now working for her, she suggested Rose become a Realtor.

It took Rose time to warm up to the idea, but the more she thought about it, the more she liked it. “I thought, ‘OK, but if I do this, I’m going to do it right,’” she remembers. “And then I jumped in with both feet.”

As Rose became comfortable with her new skin, she was adamant about working alone. “I wanted to be responsible only for me,” she explains. “I didn’t want to be part of a team or build a team.”

There was just one catch: Although Rose had spent more than three decades trumpeting other companies and individuals, she discovered she didn’t like promoting herself.

“I struggled with it,” she says. “I felt like I was saying, ‘Hey, look at me!’”

Fortunately, Rose had formed a wealth of personal ties during her years in marketing, and when word spread that she had become a Realtor, referrals from friends, family members and acquaintances from work and church rolled in. “I was very fortunate,” she says of her quick success.

Rose maintained her rapid clip in the ensuing years. One year after earning Pryor Realty’s Rising Star award, she was named one of the top-producing associates at the brokerage and ranked among the top 10% of all Coldwell Banker agents worldwide.

She repeated this feat in 2019, when Pryor Realty also named her one of its top listing agents.

While Rose has enjoyed the professional accolades, she’s found greater personal rewards in volunteering throughout the greater Chattanooga community.

And much like she did with golf and real estate, Rose has gone all-in as she’s returned a portion of what she says the community has generously given her.

A board member of Junior Achievement of Chattanooga for the past 12 years, Rose chaired two recent auctions that raised more than $114,000 for local educational programs. In addition, she teaches a Junior Achievement personal finance course at Ooltewah High School each spring.

Rose is also a board member of the Ooltewah-Collegedale Chamber of Commerce, where she served as treasurer for two years and now serves on the Small Business of the Year awards committee.

For the past 12 years, Rose has applied the leadership skills she learned as a marketing professional to organizing the annual Blessing of the Animals at St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church. Rose says more than 250 people and their four-legged friends attend the festival every October.

A member of St. Francis, Rose also served as a vestry member from 2016-2019.

After spearheading her church’s annual outreach, Rose grabs a red kettle and a bell and hits the streets to gather donations for the Salvation Army. She also helps with the organization’s fundraisers.

The recent devastation the tornado visited upon the Chattanooga community in April also spurred Rose to action. Moved to contribute in any way she could, she wound up working for the YMCA food pantry and delivering meals to affected residents aboard the Salvation Army’s canteen truck.

Tireless in her efforts, Rose is also a member of the Community Partnerships Committee at Greater Chattanooga Realtors.

“I get more out of doing these things than I give,” she says. “I feel like we’re responsible as Realtors to be involved in our community.”

A Chattanooga-area resident since 1994, Rose is not too far removed from her roots in Mount Airy, North Carolina, where she grew up at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Known for being Andy Griffith’s hometown and the inspiration for his classic television show, Mount Airy provided Rose with a rural upbringing she misses to this day. “My mom still lives in the house in which we grew up,” she says. “She has 125 acres, and there’s not another house in sight.”

After graduating from Appalachian State University with a communications and marketing degree, Rose went to work in the advertising department at The Watauga Democrat in Boone, North Carolina.

While there, Rose discovered she had a talent for selling ideas. She also learned she was not destined to be a writer after penning a piece about horseback riding in the city.

“I talked the publisher into letting me pen an article about renting a horse and going on a trail ride,” she says as a smile crosses her face. “I took a few buddies with me and then came back and wrote my story.”

Rose’s publisher had two issues with the piece, the first of which were the photographs of the horses’ rumps. “She explained that I should have taken pictures of the front of the horses,” she laughs.

The second problem was related to the article’s lead. “My horse’s name was The Reverend, and I started the story with, ‘As I mounted The Reverend.’”

Although the newspaper published the article – with the opening intact – Rose dropped the notion of writing for a living and accepted a position marketing a shopping mall in Spartanburg, North Carolina, for CBL Properties.

This move sparked Rose’s marketing career, which took her to several different states and towns as she marketed malls first for CBL and later for a second company. She then shifted to applying her skills on behalf of banks after she and her husband moved to Chattanooga.

Rose was working as the senior vice president of marketing at First Volunteer Bank when she received the news that triggered the beginning of her career change.

Although that was a hard blow, Rose says she’s come to terms with it and loves her new job.

“I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing,” she raves. “I have met wonderful people and made many friends.

“Serving as someone’s Realtor is more than a business relationship; you get to know each other. I tell my clients, ‘Whether you want to be or not, we’re now friends.’”

Although Rose says she’s proud to represent her buyers and sellers, when people ask her what she’s doing, she doesn’t say she sells real estate. Instead, she tells them she’s a matchmaker.

“I match people and homes. If you have a house to sell, I have to find the right buyer, and if you want to buy a house, I have to find a place you can call home.”

Given everything Rose does, it’s not surprising that she spends less time golfing. But she still swings her clubs whenever she can.

“Golf is my getaway. It’s quiet and green and the birds are chirping,” she says. “Walking away from my phone for four hours is a treat.”

It also comes as no surprise that, even in those rarer moments, Rose still goes all-in every time she plays. It’s who she is and what she does.