Sheena Saydam was a self-described military brat – moving 12 times before the age of 14 because of her father’s career in the Air Force. But it was her mother’s service mindset that influenced Saydam’s professional path the most, including her venture into and vision for her real estate team.
“My mom was a problem solver and so anytime we moved, she would inevitably set up a seminar or some sort of training for the community.”
Today, Saydam is the managing partner of Saydam Properties Group (SPG) with Keller Williams Capital Properties in Washington, D.C. Over the past five years, the team has grown to six full-time agents (including Sheena’s husband) on the KW expansion model. In 2018, they closed on 188 homes for nearly $90 million in volume.
What’s equally (if not more) impressive is their team’s investment back into the community. The approach doubles as a business model for sustainable growth and expansion.
From Nonprofit to Nonstop Success
Like many agents, Saydam journeyed through a series of professional moves that served as catalysts to her real estate career.
A nod to her mother’s work, she went into the nonprofit world for several years, assisting people in their job search and helping kids come out of homelessness. After a few years, Saydam moved on to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation while getting her master’s in security policy.
Unfortunately, the foundation found itself unable to keep Saydam on in her current capacity. She had to make a choice.
“My husband and I were joking about his job in IT sales and the math he had to do and the level of math I felt comfortable doing. We laughed because he said ‘that’s like realtor math.’ It was a joke, but it got us into a conversation about sales and whether I had a natural passion and energy that would lend itself well to real estate.”
Saydam decided to get her real estate license while taking a job doing data entry for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Once she had her license, she quickly got into production, spending the first three years with two other real estate companies.
“I was lucky to have incredible mentorship, but wasn’t learning how to truly build a business,” she says. “I couldn’t handle all the business that was coming in and needed to build a team. That’s when I came into contact with Keller Williams.”
As Saydam’s team started to take shape, so did their mission, vision, and purpose. The result was a powerful, twofold approach to their services.
Unmatched Service for Clients and Community
“It was really important for us to differentiate ourselves within the sea of real estate agents,” she shares.
“We landed on a twofold approach – to provide extraordinary service to each and every client, and to give back generously to the communities where we work.”
Giving back to the communities in which real estate agents live and serve is not a new concept. But with Saydam’s background in the nonprofit world, the SPG team has unleashed a value proposition that is not only unique, it’s an effective way to grow their network and a true win-win.
So, what’s unique about their service?
To start, they have no limit on their reach and on the number of nonprofit organizations they are willing to support.
“Many of the nonprofits we work with were found through Generosity: Global, which is committed to using the power of generosity to positively impact people by providing access to clean drinking water in developing countries, as well as helping people in the homeless community become self-sufficient.”
The Generosity Shower
The Generosity Shower – designed by a client – was the first project the team started working on. Led by a husband-and-wife team, the project’s mission is to build mobile showers for those experiencing homelessness in the Baltimore area.
“The Generosity Shower is all about helping people reclaim their dignity,” says Saydam. “It’s clean, there’s music, we supply soap and female supplies to name just a few things. We also donate a portion of each sale to the project and received a generous donation of 1,000 towels from one of our lenders.”
Tree House CAC of Montgomery County Maryland
The team also works with The Tree House CAC of Montgomery County Maryland, a nonprofit dedicated to reducing trauma and promoting healing for child victims of physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect.
“We can’t change what happened, but we can help change the future for those victimized and their families,” says Saydam. “I’ve had grandmothers come to my doorstep with stories of abuse from years ago. They have also said, ‘Thank you for being such an important part of the community and giving back. You’re the only one we want to sell our home.’”
Water Wells in Cameroon
More recently, Saydam and her team have donated enough funds to build five wells in Cameroon.
“We stand by our global mission, and the wells are just the start! We post pictures for our clients to see on Facebook, and next year we plan to have all their names on the well.”
Service Through Business: A Model Worth Investing In
To Saydam and her team, the connection to the community through service is clearly a model worth investing in.
“There’s traditional marketing and lead generation that can grow your network,” she says. “We don’t send out postcards and we don’t give away pies at Thanksgiving. We’re hyper-focused on service and engaging our network to get them involved.”
- Saydam’s team tells stories around their charitable efforts on Instagram.
- They also reach out to clients when opportunities arise to serve on boards.
“It’s been really rewarding to help the community and our clients recognize that they can use their passions in other ways – locally or globally. At SPG, we are changing the world, one home sale at a time,” says Saydam.
To other agents interested in this approach, she simply poses this question:
“What are you doing differently to invest in the people who are investing in you?”