SCARA’s Angie Johnson to lead Arkansas Realtors Association in 2019
December 31 - January 6, 2019
By Becca Bona
As a young adult, Angie Johnson promised herself that she’d never go into real estate. Since then, her perception of the industry has changed drastically, and she’s come a long way in the field she’s come to know and love.
“I swore I’d never sell real estate because my mother sold real estate – which is part of my story,” she explains. “In my mind and world – she just went and walked through and looked at houses all day. At the time that didn’t interest me in the least as a career.”
Johnson is slated to lead the Arkansas Realtors Association (ARA) as president in 2019, and one of her main goals is to garner more interaction between Realtors and the public at-large. “We need to do a better job of telling our story – because there might be people trying to come in to take over our industry or trying to negate us all together,” she says.
A native of Benton, Arkansas, since her early years, Johnson is proud to call the area home. A people person to the core, she found enjoyment in her first career – working as a manicurist. At one point, however, she realized she needed a change and found herself at a crossroads.
“I had been a manicurist for almost 10 years,” she says. “I was working in a top salon in Little Rock and I was booked every hour that the salon was open.”
Johnson’s workload had plateaued. The only change she could viably make would be to open her own salon, something she wasn’t very interested in doing.
“I had actually talked to my mom about doing something within her industry because I knew the real estate industry as a whole was successful. We had talked about several different things and I thought that maybe I’d go down the appraisal route and be an appraiser,” she remembers.
After doing a bit of research, Johnson discovered that becoming an appraiser would take her far away from home. At the time apprenticeships – which are a large part of appraisal training – weren’t available nearby.
Johnson’s mom – Karen Crowson – happened to be on the leadership track with the Arkansas Realtors Association at the time.
“Mom said, ‘Let’s try this. You get your real estate license and work with me,’” Johnson remembers. The idea made sense, as Realtors who go the leadership track still need to maintain their workload.
And so, Johnson entered the industry, vying that she would never find herself on the leadership track with either her local or state associations. She got her license in the early 2000s and began to learn the ropes. Early on she discovered that she enjoyed helping people achieve their American Dream and the industry as a whole.
She remembers attending her first official Realtor meetings in Washington D.C. during the legislative session with the National Association of Realtors.
“Part of my story that I tell is that I kind of did this backwards. [That legislative session] was my first big meeting – not that I wasn’t involved on a local level,” she says. “I was on committees with my local board. But I kind of went up the ranks and became a chair person of a committee on the state level before I was more involved on a local level.”
And even though she wasn’t setting out to serve, she’s found her way along the way and realizes she enjoys it.
“A lot of people think that I came into the industry knowing I wanted to be in this leadership track,” she says, smiling. “I had zero desire, and I always said I wouldn’t do that. I’ve tried to stop saying ‘I will not do that,’ because I’ve continued to do the things that I’ve said I wouldn’t do.”
Before getting to where she is now, Johnson served on various state level committees including as chairperson for the public relations committee in 2012. She also served as the Vice President for District 4 along the way. When first asked to be in charge of the PR committee, Johnson immediately thought her mother had put the president that year up to it – but that turned out not to be the case.
“The president that year said, ‘I know that this is out of your comfort zone but you’d be great at it.’ I did think about it and decided to accept the position,” Johnson remembers. “That was my first thought of maybe doing more and being a leader within our state and local associations.”
Johnson attended the ARA’s Graduate Realtors Leadership Academy class, and took the skills she learned back to her local board – the South Central Arkansas Realtors Association (SCARA). She never quite had the ARA as a destination in her mind.
Regardless, Johnson does have some concrete goals to achieve for the upcoming year.
Namely, she wants to focus on opening the conversation between the public and Realtors. Realtors do more than – as she said herself – unlock doors and answer phones. And, there’s a multitude of reasons the public benefits from working with a professional in the industry.
“That is one of my real focuses for next year is getting out to the public all of the things that we do – and why we do what we do,” she says.
This year, Johnson hopes to accomplish this by referencing this mantra: “Realtors are professionals that adhere to a code of ethics. We are relevant to buyers and sellers alike. We are educated to navigate our clients through the real estate transaction and we continue to be valuable to all private property owners through our lobbying efforts locally and at our state and national capitols.”
Johnson also wants to focus on branding Realtors as community ambassadors, as she says, “Most of us are very involved in our communities. We want to work in our communities and want them to be the best they possibly can, because we’re selling our community.”
This means that a Realtor is more than someone who opens a door to your future home for you. As she says, “We’re going to be able to tell you where things are, tell you more about your school district, about the things that are in our community – especially if you’re relocating here and you don’t know.”
Besides the excellent school districts which Saline County is known for, Johnson is excited at the development happening in the area. “Right now we have a lot to be excited about,” she says. “For one, the new tax increase that was voted on to build our career technology center in Saline County is going to be a wonderful addition to our community.”
She is also impressed at the rate at which SCARA is growing and changing, as she says, “Debbie, our new Association Executive is phenomenal.”
When not working Johnson likes to spend time with family as well as her Australian Shepherd, Jake. She also enjoys traveling and country and western dancing.