Proudest career or life accomplishment: Raising the kids and supporting my wife in the early stages of her career as a stay-at-home dad has been my proudest life accomplishment. My best career accomplishment was to successfully complete an extensive commercial renovation project within an 8-month deadline.
Favorite local hangouts: Jungle Jim’s and Barnes & Noble
For Sibcy Cline’s Facilities Coordinator Eric Winhusen, family is a top priority. Until about 10 years ago, Eric was a stay-at-home dad raising his two daughters while his wife Karen pursued her career as a chemical engineer.
Eric met his wife Karen while in college; he was a geology student at UC and she was majoring in chemical engineering at Purdue. “Having spent time around engineers I thought I’d like to marry one and perked up when I met a chemical engineering student from Purdue at a group social event. Comparing notes later we discovered we both went through the same process of elimination that night: “no, no, no, maybe”. We like to say we were maybe at first sight and have been happily married since.”
The success of the partnership between Eric and Karen says a lot about their abilities to successfully navigate the balance of family needs and career development for two people. “When it came time to have kids, I chose to stay at home with our two girls and support Karen as she continued to blossom in her career. Family is our priority, and I am happy to have had the opportunity to spend those years with our kids.”
Eric admits that being a stay-at-home dad had its own set of unique challenges. “Moms have other moms to hang out with, but I was usually the only dad. It could be isolating.” To help provide some opportunities for adult conversation, he and his wife hosted church groups in their home. Another challenge, not unique to dads but difficult nonetheless, was the fact that being full-time caregiver didn’t lend itself to pursuing paid work. “Eventually, my college degree in geology was no longer relevant because I had no work experience. Also, flexibility was still important with young children, even when they were no longer babies.”
It was during the time that Eric was caring for their two daughters that he had the opportunity to join the Board of Trustees at their church, providing his first work experience managing a commercial facility. “When our kids hit school age, I was approached about joining church staff as a Facilities Coordinator. It was a new position and so the job description was vague; but the thought was, we’d figure it out together.”
Over the course of the next 10 years, Eric managed the facility calendar, procurement, IT, AV, safety, and administrative control of the office, fire, and security systems. He also worked with the Board of Trustees to maintain and renovate the 30,000 square-foot facility and surrounding property. “Those 10 years provided the time necessary to learn how to respond to a wide array of facility issues, help plan and manage several large projects and renovations, and ensure the facility met the evolving needs of the diverse groups using it,” says Eric.
Early in 2022, he received a cold call from Sibcy Cline about an opening in the facilities department and the timing couldn’t have been better. “The family-owned business and culture of Sibcy Cline sounded like a good fit, and as a bonus I am learning from a manager with substantial commercial facilities experience.”
Since he started in April of 2022, Eric has found numerous opportunities to expand his knowledge and experience in facilities management. “The learning curve for the software suites and becoming familiar with 20+ commercial properties spread widely around the region is both exciting and daunting. It is essential to have the support of a good team to succeed and I’m thankful to have that at Sibcy Cline.”
As it’s turned out, one of the things that Eric finds most rewarding about his job is the office culture. “While the variety and challenges of the job are appealing, my favorite part has been the interaction with [co-workers]. Learning names is not a strength of mine, so I’m mindful to work daily to build my knowledge base and make a point of creating a couple new personal connections every week.”
In his personal time, building relationships by spending time with family and friends is still a top priority as he and Karen prepare to be empty nesters. This year, their two daughters enter their junior and senior years in high school. “I’m eager to see the life choices they make and what kind of changes the next 6-8 years will bring for them,” he says.
Proudest life accomplishments: Earning my undergraduate and master’s degrees at Bowling Green State University and being “Instructor of the Year” at a private training company.
“If you teach someone to fish, they will never be hungry,” says Help Desk Manager Eugene Piggee II, who often finds himself in the position of feeding those who are hungry for help with their tech issues. In this technology-dependent world, properly functioning digital tools can feel like a basic need. When things aren’t functioning like we expect them to, our livelihoods feel threatened. Eugene is one of the members of Sibcy Cline’s tech team who comes to the rescue for agents and employees when technology is failing us, so we can get back to the work of making a living.
But Eugene isn’t satisfied with just giving us a fish—fixing our problem and moving on—he wants to make sure that he goes the extra mile and helps us with any future problems that may come up. “I try to teach one person every day how to fix an issue on their own, so they can save time and resolve it themselves next time.”
Eugene’s recent promotion to Help Desk Manager after 5 years as a Help Desk Analyst had a lot to do with his ability to approach his job with a leadership mentality. In addition to his natural tendencies as teacher and leader, Eugene has a Master’s degree in Technology Education and experience as an Adjunct Professor at Chicago’s DeVry Institute, teaching both young adults and adult learners. He also taught Adobe and Microsoft products at a privately owned training company, where he was named “Instructor of the Year”.
But even with an advanced degree and a successful career already behind him, Eugene struggled to find permanent work when he and his family moved to Cincinnati from Chicago several years ago. “After moving here, the first year was rough finding work that wasn’t temporary. I had help desk temp role after help desk temp role. Finally, I had the opportunity to interview with Sibcy Cline. I was hired full time and trained by an excellent support system.”
In addition to the support network and the relationships he’s built at Sibcy Cline, one of the most rewarding things for Eugene in his job is working together with his team to solve new technology issues. When he can shift from the role of teacher to being the student; he learns through his work. “When there is a new computer issue, we research and learn how to fix it. Or we find better solutions to old issues.”
While teaching and learning about the vast subject of technology could encompass more than a full-time work week, Eugene looks forward to time with his family outside of work. “The best hobby is to make my wife and kids laugh,” he says. “There is always a good dad joke to tell.” Eugene also looks forward to doing more travel with his family and making fun memories. “I want to show my kids there is more out there than what you see every day.”
Mothers’ Day is coming up, so we wanted to check in with some of our Sibcy Cline moms to find out how motherhood and real estate fit together in their lives. What kind of flexibility does a career in real estate offer and does it allow them to be the moms they want to be? Here’s what they had to say.
Maura Black, Sibcy Cline Western Hills
There’s no question that this kind of work allows you significantly more flexibility than some other career paths. This year I have a kindergartner and I block off one morning a month where I help in the classroom. It’s an “appointment” I wouldn’t miss for the world!
I can’t remember a time when real estate was not a part of my family’s life. I grew up in a family that owned a construction company. Our weekends consisted of car rides and visiting dad’s job sites to check on them. As I got older, I helped courier blueprints across town for allowance money! Being around that taught me that it was good family time and that there was a way I could integrate my family life into my work. I watched people make big deals and that kind of risk-taking was normalized for me.
There’s no question that this kind of work allows you significantly more flexibility than some other career paths. This year I have a kindergartner and I block off one morning a month where I help in their classroom. It’s an “appointment “ I wouldn’t miss for the world! Also, I’m very active on the PTA and I’m so glad I can help the school, AND it has also led to some work-related opportunities for me. Doing good is good for business, too! I also think it’s good for my boys to see that I work hard and observe how to present yourself professionally with clients.
Sherry Powell, Sibcy Cline Fairfield
Real Estate has helped me to be the mother that I want to be because I want my children, especially my daughter, to know that women can have it ALL, family and career. It allows me to show my children that whatever you put your mind to and work hard to accomplish, it can be done!
The opportunity to work around my family life was definitely part of my decision to pursue real estate. My family is everything to me and it is so important for me to be a parent that is PRESENT. I am intentional about building memories with my family. I have three sisters and I am blessed to have both of my parents around so we usually get together to celebrate, especially Sunday dinners at my parents’ house after church. My church family is important to me as well! Real Estate allows me the flexibility to be present at milestones and family events.
Real Estate has helped me to be the mother that I want to be because I want my children, especially my daughter, to know that women can have it ALL, family and career. It allows me to show my children that whatever you put your mind to and work hard to accomplish, it can be done! Real Estate doesn’t feel like work to me because I love helping others pursue their dreams. It is important to live not a balanced life, but a life of harmony where career and personal life don’t compete. I think Mary Kay Ash said it best: “The real success of our personal lives and careers can best be measured by the relationships we have with the people most dear to us — our family, friends, and coworkers. If we fail in this aspect of our lives, no matter how vast our worldly possessions or how high on the corporate ladder we climb, we will have achieved very little.”
Tiffany Allen-Zeuch, Sibcy Cline West Chester
Being my own boss and running a business shows my daughters that girl bosses rock and you can achieve anything if you put in the work.
I obtained my real estate license prior to being married, so I definitely didn’t get into real estate to accommodate my family life. Later I got married and then had two daughters, so I learned how to be flexible and become better at time management once adding kids into the mix with this career.
Being a real estate agent has allowed me many opportunities to be the best mom as possible. Having a flexible schedule has allowed me to go to important events at school. As my kids have gotten older, it has allowed me the flexibility to travel for sporting events. My flexible schedule also allows me to drive my kids to and from school, which is awesome one-on-one time with my kids during the day. Being my own boss and running a business shows my daughters that girl bosses rock and you can achieve anything if you put in the work.
Lauren Ashley Scallon, Sibcy Cline Kenwood
Do I miss meals occasionally? Yes. Have my children learned that I’m not always available? Yes. Do I have to bring home ice cream after late showings? Absolutely.
The opportunity to build my career around my family life was a big part of my decision to pursue real estate, but balance is a “choose your own adventure” in this career. I’m learning to use “no” as a complete sentence. If I can’t, I can’t, and I will refer someone who can. Time is valuable and I have had to reset a few times. Sometimes ambition and family life struggle for middle earth, but my children have agreed to let me represent them in future real estate transactions. So, you could say I’m farming leads from within my own home.
Working in real estate gives me the opportunity to take on something outside of motherhood. It allows me to use my creativity and negotiating skills for things above and beyond finding ways to get a toddler to put on shoes. Do I miss meals occasionally? Yes. Have my children learned that I’m not always available? Yes. Do I have to bring home ice cream after late showings? Absolutely.
Annie Rusche, Sibcy Cline Hyde Park
Real estate has made me a more patient and positive mom. Closing a deal requires patience and problem-solving, just like getting an infant to sleep through the night or teaching a toddler to eat with a fork.
A lot of the skills that come with being a mom of infant twins and a two-year-old are important to the success of my real estate career: patience, multitasking, answering questions and concerns, communication, and more. Being a real estate agent isn’t just touring pretty houses and writing effortless contracts. It takes a lot of hard work to get from A-Z and you have to continue to help keep your clients positive when you hit bumps in the road. The same goes for raising kids!
Real estate has made me a more patient and positive mom. Closing a deal requires patience and problem-solving, just like getting an infant to sleep through the night or teaching a toddler to eat with a fork. As a mom, I hope to always be a teacher and caregiver for my kids and working as a real estate agent enhances those skills.
Being a real estate agent allows me to work and spend as much time with my kids as possible. I don’t have to miss all those special moments because I’m at an office or work a typical work schedule. I get to help clients make one of the most important purchases of their lifetime and attend that important holiday-themed gym class all on the same day. Life is so good as a REALTOR® Mom!
Jessica Frazier, Sibcy Cline Western Hills
This is a lucrative career that allows me to make memories with my daughter, properly care for her when she’s sick, and pay attention to her wants, needs and desires. I can do all of this without the stress and anxiety of losing my career because I’m taking care of my family.
My decision to pursue real estate was absolutely about the opportunity to work around my daughter. This is a lucrative career that allows me to make memories with my daughter, properly care for her when she’s sick, and pay attention to her wants, needs and desires. I can do all of this without the stress and anxiety of losing my career because I’m taking care of my family.
As a single parent, any career choice can be quite challenging. However, becoming a realtor has allowed me to be the best mom because I run the show! This career option allows me to make an impact on the community, help others realize their dream of home ownership, volunteer for school activities, and be home to cook meals and spend quality time with my daughter. I can attend her performances and pickup/dropoff to school everyday, all while doing what I love! In this tough market, it’s easy to lose sight of time and get too busy. so setting boundaries is extremely important to being the best mom and keeping a healthy work-life balance.
Regina Hamilton, Sibcy Cline Harrison
We had to put a lot of time and dedication into our business while our children were young and unfortunately, that meant missing out on sports events and other moments. While it was hard, there were many parts of life that were a complete blessing. Our children saw us work hard for our family and were taught at a very young age nothing comes without hard work.
I first started real estate to make extra income. After about 3 years, my husband Gary’s company closed and he started helping me. The dynamic worked and we never looked back. We are an extremely tight-knit family and have been able to balance work and family life.
Working in real estate has presented it challenges. We had to put a lot of time and dedication into our business while our children were young and unfortunately, that meant missing out on sports events and other moments. While it was hard, there were many parts of life that were a complete blessing. Our children saw us work hard for our family and were taught at a very young age nothing comes without hard work. While our oldest two children pursued other careers, our youngest son Jesse is now part of Team Hamilton as a real estate agent. Building a family business that one of our children can be a part of has been worth all the hard work and dedication!
Stacy Rickert, Sibcy Cline Montgomery
I can volunteer at school, attend their events and functions while creating a real estate network within mom life. My kids are a part of my business and my business includes my kids. I wouldn’t want it any other way!
I started in real estate before I had kids, but a family was definitely on my mind. I had no idea at the time what an important role this career choice would play as a busy mom.
A career in real estate has allowed me to be the mother I want to be by being able to be present and involved in my kids activities and day to day life. I can volunteer at school, attend their events and functions while creating a real estate network within mom life. My kids are a part of my business and my business includes my kids. I wouldn’t want it any other way!
Libby Paulinelli, Sibcy Cline Montgomery
Being a real estate agent allows me to be the Mom I want to be in many ways. It is so important to me to be present every minute I get with Daniel.
Even though I started real estate before I became a mother, the flexibility to work around family life was a big deciding factor. My mom always said it worked well for her when we were little, and now that I’m able to experience it firsthand, I’m SO glad I did.
Being a real estate agent allows me to be the Mom I want to be in many ways. It is so important to me to be present every minute I get with Daniel. It took a few months to figure out with an unpredictable schedule, but we’ve created what works best for us. He even enjoys coming to showings with me sometimes!
Kas Winkler, Sibcy Cline Northeast
As a single mom my job allows me the flexibility I need in the daily grind. I also know with the right mindset and consistency that the possibilities are endless.
Having made a lot of life changes in the past few years this one seemed to be one of the next chapters of my book. As a single mom, my job allows me the flexibility I need in the daily grind. I also know with the right mindset and consistency that the possibilities are endless. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Making the change to become a real estate agent was something I worked hard to achieve. I think my daughter can see how hard I work at my job but also how much I love it.
Proudest career accomplishment: Changing people’s lives with homeownership
Favorite local hangouts: Local backyard firepit or any place with my wife
“I’m glad I enjoy what I do, and I’ve never called it ‘work’ from day one,” said Ronnie Weiss, explaining that the thing he likes most about his job as a mortgage consultant with Sibcy Cline Mortgage Services is his ability to make such a significant impact on individuals and families who want to become homeowners. “It’s great to see people able to buy a home when just a year before they were struggling with building credit or coming off a hardship.”
Like many others in the business, real estate was something Ronnie unexpectedly found himself in, but quickly realized that he was in the right spot. He was managing retail leather stores in local malls, occasionally working with a friend at a title company, and that led him to the mortgage business in Marco Island, Florida. “A couple of years after that, a partner and I owned mortgage offices in Michigan, Ohio, and Florida,” said Ronnie. Helping people achieve their dreams of home ownership was something that gave him a sense of purpose. “I learned not to look at things as problems, but rather as opportunities for solutions.”
Moving back to Ohio was a decision motivated by wanting to help care for his aging grandparents who were bedridden. “No matter how hard it was to care for them, I would never go back and change the fact that I was able to allow them to pass in the home my grandpa built when they were first married in the 40’s. I’m even happier to say I own this house now and it’s where I plan to raise my family.”
Staying settled in the Cincinnati area is important to Ronnie and his wife Mila, who have been married since 2019. When he began searching for a new job in 2021, he wanted to find a place where he could see himself working until he retired. Known as “the fedora guy” for his trademark hat, Ronnie was looking for a place he could hang his hat, a career home; Sibcy Cline felt like that kind of company. “What stood out was the number of long-time employees I found; it was a major deciding factor. I felt comfortable in the interviews and really enjoyed the atmosphere.”
Although he finds his work rewarding and feels like he’s found the right company to spend the duration of his career, Ronnie also values time off to spend with family and enjoy life. He and Mila like to explore the area and spend time at Cincinnati parks. A lover of automobilia—any memorabilia related to classic cars—Ronnie likes to search old barns for rare finds. “I can’t wait to find that missing Duesenberg, Bugatti, or Fiat,” he says, adding that he also enjoys “working on old cars, motorcycles, or anything with a motor that goes fast.”
Proudest career or life accomplishment:I’ll never not say “my kids” to a question like this. But if we’re talking career, then it’s being asked by Xavier University to teach in their psychology department, and having a chance to shape the next generation of I/O Psychologists
Favorite local hangouts: The Governor in Old Milford
As an Industrial Organizational Psychologist (say that 3 times fast!), Eric Barrett never thought he’d find himself in the real estate business. 12 years ago he was working with a consulting firm, traveling to a new city every few days, and working with Fortune 500 companies.
“But after one particularly long trip on the road, I decided enough was enough. I wanted to find a company that had a great culture, was looking to be an innovator in their field, and most of all, didn’t require me to travel a lot,” says Eric. “Sibcy Cline fit the bill perfectly. And while I never thought I’d end up in real estate, I honestly have a hard time believing I’d be anywhere else.”
If Eric was looking for a place to innovate, he found it at Sibcy Cline. He soon discovered that his job not only allowed innovation, but required it. “I have to continually re-evaluate how we deliver training to agents. And that means constantly learning new ways of doing things.”
The impact of those innovative efforts to deliver more and better training to agents creates a huge impact on the Sibcy Cline organization and beyond. As a brokerage, we are known for the extensive training we provide our agents. When new agents are choosing a brokerage, one of the reasons they cite for partnering with us is the quality of our training programs.
Classes like Eric’s, “The Psychology of Selling Real Estate” CE class expand our agent’s skills beyond the nuts and bolts. This class has been is popular not just within the brokerage, but with outside agents as well, and was picked up by the National Association of REALTORS who included it as one of their offerings to agents across the country.
Being the only Industrial Organizational psychologist in the world of real estate (as far as he knows), gives Eric the opportunity to apply the knowledge and experience he has from his educational and professional background to the trainings Sibcy Cline provides. “We want agents to get something meaningful out of their time with us, but we also want it to be a fun experience.”
Delivering something meaningful and fun to 1000+ agents in the Sibcy Cline brokerage can be exhausting, but it’s also what Eric loves most about his job. “There’s always some new challenge, some new agent to help, some new program to roll out. I get to see how changes I make impact both the brokerage and our agents, which isn’t always possible in the work of an I/O psychologist. At Sibcy Cline, I get to see it all play out.”
One of the ways that agent training has been significantly challenged is by the need to move classes online during the pandemic. “We’ve had to re-think not just the classes we offer, but how we offer them. We’ve had to find new ways of integrating technology. But one thing that’s never changed is helping agents succeed. Seeing those moments when someone “gets it” are worth all the challenges we’ve faced.”
As the pandemic drags on, Sibcy Cline has continued offering online trainings, but the goal remains to get as many classes back in person as possible. “Real estate is fundamentally a ‘people business’ and training people in person is always going to be better because great learning tends to happen agent-to-agent. I’m a huge fan of technology and the convenience of digital training, but I look forward to having more in person classes, bigger venues, and regular training back in our branch offices.”
Proudest life accomplishment: Opening and running Stone Creek Farms in Waynesville
Favorite local hang-outs: Any vintage, antique, or salvage store
Being charged with the important tasks of keeping up with two of Sibcy Cline’s top executives is not for someone who is easily daunted. As executive assistant to President Robin Sheakley and General Sales Manager Bob Mahoney for going on three years, Cindy Menth is a powerhouse on her own: committed to excellence, a high performer with a strong business sense, she communicates confidence and positivity.
The key to her job happiness, Cindy admits, is the ability to remain flexible, along with what she calls her “mom qualities”, or the emotional intelligence to be tuned into and anticipate the needs of others. These strengths are what allow her to daily juggle the schedules, demands, and priorities of two busy people. “What makes it easier is that even though they have different personalities and business styles, they have learned to blend their leadership styles to create balance in the organization. At times my job is hectic, but Sibcy Cline is a great environment.”
You might think that keeping up with two executives would be enough, but Cindy continues living life at a fast pace outside of her job at Sibcy Cline. She and her husband Bill Menth own a furniture and home décor store, Stone Creek Farms, in Waynesville. Both Cindy and Bill work full time during the week and then open the store on weekends. “I’m excited for the upcoming Christmas in the Village in downtown Waynesville. It will be adorned with traditional décor and takes on a nostalgic feeling…. over 1300 luminaries, strolling Dickens’ characters, carriage rides, Santa, and more. I’m sure the store will be busy!”
Admitting that she “thrives on chaos”, Cindy has no plans to scale things back anytime soon. She loves variety and the fast pace, while finding the most reward in helping others. “I love the fact that people trust me to work hard to get answers for them,” she says. “I love being a resource people count on.”
One of many at Sibcy Cline who lost loved ones during the pandemic, Cindy lost her dad this past year to COVID, but feels a strong sense of gratitude for where she is in life and everything she has. “I’m watching my children become adults, living my best life with my best friend and husband, and working with some of the greatest people I’ve ever met while having a small business doing what we love. I feel like I have been looking forward to everything I have now for my entire life.”
Proudest Career Accomplishment: Serving on the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE) Advisory Council
Favorite local hangouts: Hiking with my dogs at East Fork State Park or Cincinnati Nature Center
Tammy Young’s job as Relocation Director for Sibcy Cline gives her many opportunities to help others. One thing she has found most rewarding in 18 years with Relocation Services is the difference she and her team are able to make in people’s lives when they need to relocate. “They are starting a new job, moving to an unfamiliar area, uprooting children from schools, and leaving their relatives and friends behind. We strive to make the home sale or purchase process as smooth as possible.”
In 2020, Tammy had the unique opportunity to make a big difference in the life of one of her family members: her cousin, Donnie Lawrence. Donnie had served several tours overseas with the U.S. Army, spending nearly a decade away from home and missing much of his daughter’s early years. When his time of service concluded, he returned home for good and was ready to buy a home in Clermont County, where he grew up.
That’s where Tammy came in. She was able to offer help to Donnie through Sibcy Cline’s Military on the Move® rebate program, while also connecting him with a Sibcy Cline REALTOR® team and a loan officer through Sibcy Cline Mortgage. With one united team on his side to support him, Donnie was able to purchase his first home and get cash back at the closing table.
Not only was the entire process of seeing her cousin home with his family a rewarding personal experience for Tammy, but it was a professional success as well. Sibcy Cline received the “Hero of the Year” award from LeadingRE for proving above and beyond service to a community hero.
“This award is a professional honor, but more important, a personal honor,” Tammy says. “Donnie served several tours overseas, which resulted in many sleepless nights for his family. I was honored to see him safe and sound here, but also to be able to offer him the rebate. It was the least I could do.”
Tammy highly values being part of the LeadingRE network, which is the largest network of independent brokerages throughout the world. One of her proudest career accomplishments is serving as vice chair of their advisory council this year and moving into the role of chairperson in 2022. “The fact that I was nominated and elected by my peers is such an honor. I still look around the room at LeadingRE events and am astounded to be part of such a great organization with a wealth of industry talent,” says Tammy.
In addition to working with LeadingRE, the thing Tammy likes best about her job is working with branch managers and agents. “Our branch managers have so much knowledge and are always willing to answer questions, work together to resolve issues, or brainstorm solutions. I find our agents to be more thorough [than agents from other brokerages] about dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. Sibcy Cline just has good people that really care.”
The work Tammy does with Sibcy Cline and LeadingRE is not the only thing she’s proud of, though. “My proudest life accomplishment is becoming a Grammy, that’s the best promotion I have ever received. I thought being ‘Mom’ to three incredible kids was amazing, but seeing an entire new generation is such a joyous feeling,” she says.
Proudest life accomplishment: My kids, of course; but also being a “Nana” to 4 wonderful grandkids.
Favorite local hangouts: Padrino’s, Scene 75
Sometimes life presents you with moments when you have a unique opportunity to do something of extreme importance in service to someone else. That opportunity presented itself to Michelle McNeal and her family on Sunday, June 14, 2020.
Returning home from a lake vacation, the McNeal family pulled into their subdivision and saw the police standing at the door of their neighbor’s house. Soon they found out there had been a horrific domestic violence incident resulting in the death of both parents. The three kids now had no mother or father and no family in the area, since they had moved to the U.S. from Cameroon, Africa nearly sixteen years ago.
“I couldn’t help but think, ‘If that was my children, who would be there to help them?’” Michelle said. They offered to take the kids in and within two weeks had legal custody.
It was this act of generosity during that moment of extreme need that earned Michelle the Pamela D. Sibcy Community Service Award for 2021. Michelle was presented the award on September 10 at Sibcy Cline’s annual “Celebrate” awards event.
Michelle, who is the supervisor for direct mail marketing and has been with Sibcy Cline for 20 years this year, credits the flexibility of being able to work from home during COVID as one of the things that has made the transition to her new family life go smoothly. In addition, she values her co-workers who help create a supportive work environment that “overall, feels like my family.”
The feeling of family is something that Michelle knows well—and has a gift for creating, not just at work but in her own home. Within a few months, the counselors the family worked with reported the kids were very comfortable at the McNeal home and had adjusted well to the change. “They are all happy to be under one roof together…they call it ‘home’,” Michelle said.
In the video below, Michelle shares her story:
“Michelle is so very deserving of this award. She has changed the lives for three young people! After working closely with her for many years, her kindness and generosity are very evident. I was honored to have the Community Service Award given to her in my name,” said Pam Sibcy.
This is the first year the community service award has been named for Pam Sibcy. Over her 40-year career with Sibcy Cline, Pam has been involved with numerous charitable organizations including the American Red Cross, American Diabetes Association, Kidney Foundation, Good Samaritan Hospital, Summit Country Day School, Cincinnati Zoo (Zoofari), Cincinnati Bicentennial Salute to Our Stars, Aronoff Center’s grand opening, Dress for Success, The Children’s Home of Cincinnati, and many others. Pam (and Rob Sibcy) endowed the Sibcy House at The Lindner Center of HOPE as well as co-chaired the capital campaign.
Pam is the VP of Marketing for Sibcy Cline, married to Chairman of the Board Rob Sibcy, and is the mother of the company’s president, Robin Sheakley. She places a high value on giving back to the community and initiated the Sibcy Cline community service award many years ago to recognize agents and employees who are doing outstanding work to serve others.
“Pam is the most compassionate and caring person and she makes working with her feel like family,” Michelle said. “I’m incredibly honored to be recognized for this award, but the fact that Pam is so respected in the community for her commitment to service makes it even more special.”
Favorite local hang-outs: Madtree Taproom and Mt. Carmel Brewery
At the heart of real estate are the ideas of home, family, and community, so when Jason Kitzmller says “real estate runs in my blood,” it’s no surprise that people are the motivating force behind everything he does. As a relocation coordinator, Jason assists clients with “one of the most important moves of their lives,” and he’s serious about making it the best possible experience for them. His goal is to “set the bar high and exceed expectations.”
Holding to a standard and taking pride in his work is something that Jason learned from his father and grandfather, who both worked in real estate development. “My dad used to say ‘approach your work with an ownership mentality,’” he says. Having worked closely with his father for several years, Jason made the transition to the residential side of real estate after his dad scaled back his business a few years ago. “I admired watching my dad’s projects come to life, knowing he was part of improving the community, especially our hometown of Anderson.”
When it came time for his dad to step back from his business and for Jason to move on to something else, it was the Sibcy Cline brand that initially interested him in the job listing for a relocation coordinator. “I had absolutely no idea what a relocation coordinator was, or much at all about the relocation business, but I was familiar with the brand. Sibcy Cline has a large presence in Anderson, so I decided to take a chance and apply for the job.”
It wasn’t just the prominence of the brand that attracted Jason, but the fact that it was family-owned. Because he worked for his dad’s business for many years, it was “something I held near and dear to my heart,” he says. “Seeing Rob Sibcy in the office every day, and his wife Pam very involved, and watching him pass the torch to Robin [Sheakley]….that meant a lot to me because a family business was what I knew and loved.”
Valuing family is something that Jason continues to bring to his work every day. He works with clients who are moving out of the area because of a job transfer, so that transition period often involves the client’s family, who is also affected by the move. He appreciates the opportunity to learn about each client and their family throughout the process of relocation. “I try to connect with each customer to understand their own set of circumstances. It’s interesting to hear each customer’s story and background. I learn something new with each transaction.”
As a people-person, one of the things Jason finds most rewarding is “realizing their excitement when they close on their home and begin a new chapter in their career.” Along the way, Jason feels that a lot of trust is placed in both him and the agent to get things done and make that transition happen for their client and their family. Providing the best possible experience and outcome is what motivates him daily.
In addition to his work, Jason has a new daily motivator in his life—his newborn son, Jett. Jason and his wife Lydia welcomed Jett to the world on August 11, 2021. Jason is already planning to share the things he enjoys with his son—hiking, camping, playing basketball, and golf. But he’s most excited to share his favorite hobby: spending time boating at his family home on Lake Lorelei. “I’m a third-generation captain in our family and I’m looking forward to teaching my son how to captain the boat and continue the Kitzmiller tradition!”
Favorite local hang-outs: Bluebird Bakery and Piccolo Wine Room in Glendale
As a home services coordinator with Sibcy Cline, Linda Damato is part matchmaker, part problem solver. When homeowners call Linda with a need—a renovation or repair—she knows exactly the right vendor to connect them with. And with 17 years of experience in matching homeowners to vendors, she has more success stories than she can count.
“We look at the service needed and the time frame, along with other factors, and provide a match with a vendor. Then we follow up to make sure the client is pleased,” Linda said, explaining the process of coordinating services for Sibcy Cline clients. The goal is to gain “clients for life” by giving buyers and sellers of homes support through every stage of their homeownership journey.
Sometimes that support can come in the smallest of ways, like recently when Linda assisted a seller whose home was vacant and being prepared for showings. “The basement light was out and the agent called us,“ She said, “And I knew a handyman who was painting in a home near there who could run over and fix it quickly. Within an hour, the basement light was working. That’s the beauty of it—we knew who was nearby and could help.”
Another success that Linda enjoys is seeing clients who remain with Sibcy Cline for years, even when their original agent is no longer with the brokerage. “They stay with us because they love the brand. That makes me so happy.”
Although Linda admits that she didn’t know what a “home services coordinator” was when she applied for the job, she now loves what she does. “The very best part of my job is helping buyers and sellers through their adventure. I love the excitement of a first-time buyer telling me their ideas for making this house their home. It’s rewarding to be a small part of making the client feel comfortable with their choices.”
Being involved with helping buyers and sellers is something that isn’t new to Linda—she was a REALTOR for 8 years in Chicago (her hometown) before moving to Cincinnati with her husband Joe for a job transfer. “It was between St. Louis and Cincinnati,” she said, “and we chose here.”
Linda now lives in Glendale in a 100-year-old home. “I’ve done a lot in the last year—painted every room, [renovated] the bathroom—and used Sibcy Cline vendor partners for all of it,” she says. “I was like most people during COVID, who were home all the time, looking around, thinking: what can I do to make my home better?”
One of Linda’s favorite “hangouts” is in her garden. “Whether pulling pesky weeds or making lovely flower arrangements for friends, I find it therapeutic,” she said. She also enjoys cooking for family and friends, a pursuit she once channeled into teaching cooking classes at the Glendale Lyceum and owning a deli/wine bar business called Taste of Tuscany. “It was everything I love—cooking, eating, wine—but it wasn’t the same as doing it for friends and family.”
With her strong appreciation for making a house a home, Linda is not surprised that there has been such high demand for home renovations in the past year. “When your home looks good to you and feels comfortable, it just makes you feel better,” she said.
If you are looking for help in renovating your home, you can reach out to Linda or any of our coordinators through our Home Services website.