In his latest Snapshot, Brandon Doyle looks at how Rebecca Donatelli is moving the industry forward through leadership, mentoring and education.
The verdict is in — the old way of doing business is over. Join us at Inman Connect New York Jan. 23-25, when together we’ll conquer today’s market challenges and prepare for tomorrow’s opportunities. Defy the market and bet big on your future.
Inman contributor Brandon Doyle made it his goal to interview 100 real estate professionals. Here’s a Snapshot of those conversations.
When you think of someone transforming the real estate industry, Rebecca Donatelli is a name that comes to the forefront. With an unconventional journey and a passion for mentorship and leadership, Donatelli is reshaping the real estate landscape and inspiring future leaders.
Donatelli began her journey at John Carroll University, intending to become a high school math teacher. However, realizing it wasn’t the path for her, she pivoted to an English major, which she leveraged in her writing career. This academic transition underscored her adaptability and willingness to evolve — a trait that would become fundamental to her real estate success.
“I never actually taught math, but I’ve used my teaching background extensively throughout my career,” she said. As an example, she highlighted her classes on social media for real estate, demonstrating her commitment to educating others.
Among her accolades, Donatelli was recognized in Realtor Magazine’s 30 under 30. “It’s such an honor and has impacted my career in so many ways. The network of fellow honorees that I regularly exchange business ideas with has been invaluable, and it’s also been a good talking point with clients,” she said.
Inspired by her journey and the desire to empower others, Donatelli wrote her book Think Bigger — It’s Your Time: Step Into Leadership. The book, she says, was prompted by her unexpected success in the real estate industry and her evolution into public speaking and leadership roles. “Think Bigger is not just meant for Realtors, but for anyone still exploring their ‘bigger picture,’” Donatelli said.
As the Ohio Realtors’ Realtor Party Director, Donatelli works to protect the real estate industry, private property rights and homeownership. She and her team raise RPAC dollars to invest in candidates and issues supporting the industry, underlining the importance of the Realtor Party and its positive impact on the industry.
Addressing the current challenge of high agent count and low inventory, Donatelli stressed the importance of staying proactive. “I’m constantly talking with other agents in both my market and other markets to find out their best strategies for winning offers and standing out in this market,” she said. “I’ve utilized cover sheets for my offers, and make sure to keep communication constantly open with the agents whose listings I’m writing offers on.”
Donatelli believes in the power of mentorship, particularly for those starting in the industry. Her first broker, a top producer, allowed her to shadow her and provided a clear-eyed view of the real estate industry’s realities. “The local association is also a great place to find a mentor, as those people who are involved are already willing to collaborate and share ideas with peers.”
Emphasizing the importance of a unique brand, she noted, “Your brand should represent both you as a Realtor and as a person.” For Donatelli, social media, especially Instagram, has been instrumental in creating her brand, connecting with clients and growing her business.
Balancing her love for writing with her demanding roles in the industry requires effective systems and a commitment to personal time. She advocates for setting personal commitments as appointments, just like work ones. “I get up at 5:30 a.m. and have a morning routine that does not involve any sort of work whatsoever. I love it,” she shared.
Donatelli’s organizational skills, crucial for her multiple roles, were particularly tested while publishing her first book and serving as president of her local association. She advises others looking to manage multiple roles to get incredibly organized.
YPN (Young Professionals Network) has been a significant influence in Donatelli’s career. She became involved with the organization early in her career and found it an invaluable platform for networking and learning from others in the industry. “YPN offers an amazing opportunity for newer or younger agents to connect and learn. It’s been a game-changer for me,” she said.
Donatelli’s journey in real estate is a testament to her tenacity, adaptability and commitment to continual learning. Her passion for mentorship and her dedication to transforming the industry through leadership and social media influence have made her an icon in the field.
In the future, Donatelli aims to continue her advocacy work, invest more in mentorship programs, and further her impact in real estate through her leadership roles. She also plans to write more books, sharing her knowledge and experiences with others.
Brandon Doyle is a Realtor at Doyle Real Estate Team — RE/MAX Results in Minneapolis and co-author of Mindset, Methods & Metrics – Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent. You can follow him on Twitter.