When meeting Eboneese Thompson, the first thing you notice is her beautiful smile, but it is her infectious personality and enthusiasm that makes it easy to figure out why she has quickly become a rising star in real estate.

Eboneese is the team leader of Thompson Premier Homes Group powered by RE/MAX Fine Living in Rockville, Maryland. She ventured into real estate just five years ago, prompted by an unexpected life event that ended up being the catalyst for redirecting her life’s pathway.

At the time, Eboneese was enjoying a successful career in the medical field as a financial services manager for Adventist HealthCare. However, she couldn’t quell a nagging feeling that she might be happier doing something else, working for herself. She decided to enroll in real estate classes and took the exam in 2013. She was planning to gradually venture into real estate on a part-time basis.

In April of 2014, she purchased her first home in Montgomery County with the intention of finally planting roots in a community she loved. Then in May of that same year, she unexpectedly lost her job. “I was devastated. I thought, ‘What am I going to do? I am 40 years old.’ And because I had been a hiring manager before, I was well aware of the marketplace competition from new college graduates who would work for a lower salary. Then it hit me — I already had my real estate license. So I felt it was a sign that I should take a leap of faith and go for it. It was now or never!”

By November of that year, Eboneese had her first contract and finished the year strong in sales and volume numbers. Her first-year volume (2014) was more than $4 million with 27 properties sold. In 2015, she reached $3.7 million with 11 properties sold.

“I couldn’t believe I was already making six figures. I didn’t even realize I knew enough people to make those connections and get off to such a great start. The past few years, my numbers decreased a little when I was between brokerages; but now, they have evened out and are on the way back up. More importantly, I have learned how to balance those fluctuations and survive them,” Eboneese explains.

Reflecting on her decision to switch brokerages at the risk of affecting her sales, she confides, “After several years in the business, I knew it was important for me to find a broker that would work with me as a partner, who would help me grow. I wanted to find someone who would appreciate what I’m trying to do with my business and is knowledgeable enough to help me get there. It took me a while to find that combination. Now, I’m with RE/MAX Fine Living, and it’s been a great collaboration.”

Eboneese is also confident of the strengths she brings to the partnership. She says it’s essential to be self-assured about the skills you have honed from previous work and life experiences, and how those transfer into your real estate career.

“In my former job, I had a big title with big responsibility and big budgets. So when I got into real estate, I was confident in my ability to transfer the customer service skills I had learned. I was experienced in keeping the momentum going for large groups of individuals and understanding temperaments and personalities — which all make me a better manager. I knew I could bring that into real estate,” Eboneese shares.

She says one of her favorite quotes is, “Great things never came from comfort zones.” She realizes that if you want to achieve great things, you need to go beyond what you think you can do to reach your full potential.

Her vision of success would be to build a business of powerful women supporting each other. “For me, success has never been a financial goal. It’s personal. Obviously, if I do well in my business, I’m going to be financially successful. But, it would be so much more rewarding if I could develop a business full of strong, successful women lifting each other up. I can already see that vision — a powerhouse brokerage of confident, accomplished women!”

She says, like most people, she sometimes questions whether she has what it takes to get where she wants to go. However, she turns that doubt into an opportunity to learn. “I’m not afraid to be a student, to ask questions, to be uncomfortable, and seek help. When my fears take hold of my ambition, I know it’s an opportunity for growth. That is one of the reasons why I love the Real Producer Mastermind Classes. They remind me that I’m not by myself reinventing the wheel. It helps to keep me engaged and connected.”

Eboneese believes in the power of positive thinking. She knows that by visualizing your goals and writing them down, it sets the wheels in motion for achieving them. “Last year, I took a picture at one of the Real Producer events and posted it online with the caption ‘Future feature in DC Metro Real Producers!’ At the time, it had been a rough year for me. I wasn’t doing as well as I had been and hadn’t closed on anything in a while. Since then, things have completely turned around. My numbers have come back up, and here we are — I’m being featured in the magazine!”

For Eboneese, one of the most gratifying aspects of being a realtor is the connection she feels with her clients and the communities she finds for them. “Before I was an agent, when I drove down the streets in a community, I was just passing through. Now, I see things from a completely different perspective. I look at areas through the eyes of my clients and their needs — whether they would appeal to millennials, families, or empty-nesters. When I see the properties I’ve sold, I realize that I am putting families in homes where they are becoming part of the fabric of that community. That’s amazing when you think about it. Real estate is bringing me closer to this world we live in. I’m not just driving through anymore.