BONA FIDE! With law experience and Lummi Island roots, new broker finds place at RE/MAX

by Tara Gilligan Reimer

BELLINGHAM, WA—January 2023

This is a story about a new broker and a seasoned one, who work together now, because of the place they came from.

Lummi Island, nine square miles, is a tiny gem on the western chain of the San Juan Islands. A five-minute ride on the Whatcom Chief ferry takes you from Gooseberry Point across the channel. The island is dense with Douglas firs, and there are berry and lavender farms. In the blue ocean surround, orcas are often seen.

This is the place where Brenda Beeman, newest broker at RE/MAX Whatcom County, grew up with only a couple hundred people. She attended the Beach School, searched for clams and oysters, and feasted on wild blackberries—often with another, younger, and steadfast spirit named Sandi.

Thirty years and several careers and life lessons later, Brenda has rejoined her friend, becoming part of Sandi Harmoney’s Dream Home Team NW. Julie Osborn is also part of the award-winning group.

‘Love the positive energy and entrepreneurial spirit’

Last summer, Brenda decided to make a career change. She reached out to Sandi, who encouraged a possible move to real estate and RE/MAX.

RE/MAX Whatcom County founder and CEO, Lori Reece, meets with every serious candidate who is discerning. Brenda is at ease in any environment (more on that). Lori is direct and an industry expert. Between these two confident communicators, the meeting was a success. Brenda recounts, “Lori told me, ‘Go make your way, girl!’” Another pivot toward RE/MAX was made.

Brenda earned her broker license in November, and she appreciates the collaboration at the brokerage. “I love the positive energy and entrepreneurial spirit,” Brenda says. “Everyone is incredibly helpful and encouraging.”

30 years of experience in criminal justice

Coming from her previous work, Brenda can easily read people—their engagement, body language, and verbal responses—a strength for brokers.

“I spent 30 years working in criminal justice,” Brenda explains. In 1995, she answered a law firm’s blind ad and went to work as a public defender’s paralegal.

In every US county, the public defender’s office ensures that every person charged with a crime receives legal defense. But the stress of ensuring this important American right can often fall to the paralegal and her duties. Paralegals work long hours, manage offices, research cases, and prepare and edit legal documents. Their tasks have direct impacts on the outcomes of cases.

“In that work,” Brenda elaborates, “you have to be patient, give direction when needed, and know when to put down your boundaries.” She’s worked the worst cases: homicide, assault, child abuse.

But out of that work history, she offers something unexpected, too—the importance of positive work cultures, like the one she found at RE/MAX. In any field, she says, the wrong person in a leadership position can wreak havoc. Not having positive control at work can affect your health and family life.

Brenda’s insight on organizational cultures led her to make a change.

Real estate is in the family history

Luckily, real estate is not new to this fourth-generation Whatcom native. “My grandfather was a brigadier general in the Army,” Brenda recalls. “He became a realtor for the Yeakel brokerage, working mainly in Normandy Park.” This is a small town with historic and dense neighborhoods, south of Seattle, tucked up to the water’s edge of Puget Sound.

Picking up her family’s line of work, now with training and a stellar team, Brenda is setting goals. “I’m outside my comfort zone,” she says, not something that every new broker is secure enough to admit. She’s excited for the coming year.

Sometimes the place where you started becomes the place you return to.

Now at RE/MAX and only 24 miles from her childhood home on Lummi Island, Brenda is leveraging her hard-earned career experience while also circling back to the first good things. With Sandi and Julie on the Dream Home Team NW, she’s finding her way in a new career that she loves.

About Us

Thirty years ago, a local girl (Sehome High School, Washington State University, and Western Washington University grad) launched a small start-up with a big dream. Little did RE/MAX Whatcom County founder and CEO Lori Reece know that her company would become not only the most successful brokerage but also respected nationally and across industries. Her team, 90+ sought-after professionals, leads by serving thousands of clients and building market share. Learn, collaborate, be kind. When you’re doing all that—together—you know you’re in RE/MAX Whatcom County, the house that Lori built.

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