MaryAnne was a 2011 corps member and taught at Andrew Robinson Elementary. She is now the owner and broker for Root Realty.
How did your experience teaching with TFA inform your leadership skills?
After teaching I was able to dive as a leader to a new role. My experience as a teacher gave me the confidence to start my own company, be a leader and start a team. I also used my teaching skills to educate myself and my staff as I took on a new role in real estate. In the classroom I always thrived on the "Ah-ha" moments with students. Now, I get to see that with our clients and colleagues.
What skills did you learn teaching that have transferred to your current role?
I learned as a teacher that you have to balance you authority between being respected and being approachable. Being a broker and an owner I have to make hard decisions and work among people I consider my friends. I still have to balance a strict/warm management style. I also learned a lot about discipline and organization. Anna who is on our team was actually my MTLD, would tell you I have grown a lot in using data! Teaching taught me how important data-driven results and looking at data is. It's so important for growth. Teach For America was a great foundation for me to learn about utilizing data both in business and in the classroom.
How do you still use the same mindsets you learned at Teach For America when running your own company?
The Run Home derived from the mindset I had in the classroom, our students couldn't choose their zip codes and it was my job to help them be successful. That mindset came back when I thought about people who were behind and could not save for down payment, had destroyed their credit etc. It made sense to partner with organizations working to support those people. Even though I'm in a different industry I'm still passionate about helping people who didn't ask to be in the situation they are in, much like our students.
Is there any advice you would give current corps members?
Keep and open mind during your TFA experience. Invest in the area in when you've been placed. I had a mindset that I'd be in Jax for two years and do this great thing and then move on. I kept and open mind and met friends, my husband, and decided this was somewhere I wanted to call home and continue to invest in the area long after my two year commitment.