Lifetime Achievement winner Lawnae Hunter has had a successful career in real estate-related activities. The real estate company she led in California had five offices and 300 sales people before she sold it in 2003. Today, she's the owner of PLUS Property Management and the chair of the Oregon Real Estate Agency—a governor's appointment—but more importantly for Hunter is her co-founding of Stroke Awareness Oregon, a locally based nonprofit focused on educating people to recognize the signs of stroke, after suffering one herself five years ago.
- Megan Baker
- Lifetime Achievement award winner Lawnae Hunter has had a successful real estate career—but her service to the community in other aspects is what she's most proud of.
"I believe in the concept of servant leadership," Hunter told the Source. "Those are the principles with which we should live our lives... by empowering others without a lot of recognition for ourselves; quietly helping people advance in their endeavors.
"I was fortunate to have the success I had in business," she said. "I have always believed I am in the people business, and I have always thought of myself as a teacher and love that part of my life."
Here's more from our conversation with Hunter (who was also the Source's Woman of the Year in 2011.)
Source Weekly: Is there someone in your life or in the community that you'd like to recognize?
Lawnae Hunter: I would recognize Carol Stiles for the enormous contributions that she's made to this community over her lifetime—starting with initiating the Head Start program.
SW: What does being nominated for the Lifetime Achievement award mean to you?
LH: Humbled. Certainly proud, and a responsibility to do a really good job—in that category, to blaze the path for other women that are coming up those ranks.
SW: Since your career has largely centered around housing, what concerns you about our housing market in Central Oregon?
LH: The one thing that probably concerns me the most is that our wages are out of sync with the cost of housing. The other thing is that because of the need for housing in Oregon, we've got this government intervention in the housing market, thinking that solutions to keeping costs down are rent control, when in reality that's the opposite. The solutions to creating housing options are getting the cost of housing down and providing a variety of different types of housing.
SW: What do you hope for the women in our community?
LH: My hope for the women in our community would be that they would not be immobilized by fear of moving forward. What I've seen with women in all different aspects is a lot of fear immobilizes them from getting more education, working toward that job, upward mobility and taking risks in business. So, I would hope they could learn to manage their fear but be able to push through it.
SW: Do you ever see yourself retiring, and what is retirement for you?
LH: Great question, and something that is discussed in my family frequently. As we age, one of the most important things people need to do is remain engaged with the world. Too many people think that their dream is to go fishing or to see the world. They retire, they disconnect from the world and all of a sudden, their worlds are pretty small and they've given up so many of the relationships that nurtured them. So, I believe I will always probably work in some way. Now, I understand that as I age, that will change, and really what I'm doing now is probably an indication of that. I'm doing more public service, which isn't really work, but it keeps me engaged with the world. As far as traditional retirement, where I hang up my shingle, no, I don't see that.