Meet Lori Judge, Founder/Broker-in-Charge of Judge Realty – a Woman in Business
Tell us about your business. We focus on residential sales, leasing, property management, commercial sales, leasing, and property/asset management. Judge Realty has been highly invested in the Savannah community since opening our doors. Because we are a locally owned and operated boutique brokerage, we have an unmatched advantage in understanding our community. We give back through our involvement in and support for local causes such as the Boys & Girls Club of Coastal Georgia, H.E.R.O.s for Children, the U.S. Green Building Council, and many more. We also understand the importance of sustainability. I am currently one of the only Ecobrokers in the southeast region. This designation is reserved for brokers trained to educate clients on reducing their carbon footprints through energy efficiency and environmentally sensitive design in properties.
Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place? It’s the only thing I know, to be an entrepreneur. I was influenced at an early age by my family, particularly my father and grandmother, both entrepreneurs. They both encouraged me to make whatever I did personal. I found out early what I am passionate about, what drives me and what will help me achieve other life goals. I’ve asked questions, I’ve been relentless, and I’ve know what I want to achieve. As a business owner, you have to set your own goals in order to inspire your employees to achieve theirs.
What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why? My grandmother, father and my husband. As I mentioned, they are all entrepreneurs. My grandmother, who recently passed, started and ran two successful companies and shared that entrepreneurial spirit with my father and later me. My husband has also been a successful entrepreneur from an international rice trader to home renovation CEO and more recently an organic tea company. He has been a beacon and inspiration for taking a passion and making it work. All three of them have been driving influences on how to run my business effectively and efficiently.
What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date? Surviving and staying in business during the great recession. Your business will always hit ups and downs and you have to be prepared for both. I was lucky in the fact that I received great advice from advisors and my family, both encouraging me to be smart about how to move forward in such an unstable time. It was a difficult time for my industry but looking back it really helped open doors I was not expecting.
What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers? Gosh, is so much! One of my favorites are three simple words: Focus, Patience, Persistence.
What have been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business? Me – getting myself out and meeting people, getting involved in my interests and engaging in the community has been the best way for me to make sure that both my business and my brand are represented in a positive way.
What’s one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years? Trust your gut. It is always right. My husband always asks me, “what do your instincts tell you? You have good instincts.”
Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you run your business? Assemble a great team including your CPA and Attorney. Surround yourself with positive energy and hard workers that have the same goals that you do and you will always succeed.
Do you have any new projects coming up? My business is reaching its 10th year anniversary and, to me, that’s another one of my greatest accomplishments. I started out with less than a handful of agents and now I have 20 agents ranging in all fields of real estate. My next steps are to start making my goal of establishing my community as an attraction for art and realty. Since I started this company, I have supported and encouraged local and regional art. I want to make Savannah and the Creative Coast a center for the visual arts. We have so much support from art world centers like New York, Miami, Hong Kong that it’s only natural for such a thriving art community to be an attraction. It just needs the right pedestal. Hence why I’m dipping my toe into the world of development with two projects underway. I am now actively engaged in enhancing and expanding the already established artistic infrastructure of our city and community.
What do you do for fun/relaxation? Spend time with my husband, Lou, and son, Albert on our farm in Metter, Georgia. I also love to play tennis and attend art exhibitions.
What is Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?Turning my unrealized development and art projects into realized projects.
You want to write a book on The Art of Feng Shui in Real Estate Development. Feng Shui is the Chinese philosophical system of harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment. The Chinese have considered these principles in buildings, their placements of communities and their lives for over 3000 years. Most books available relate to the general principles of Feng Shui and interior design. I want to create a book that focuses on real estate building and development. Many in my industry could benefit from these principles including architects, designers, engineers, builders and brokers to guide them in making decisions that could potentially make their project more successful, sustainable and efficient. I can’t tell you how many new developments that I enter and think why certain features are placed in odd areas that extend no movement. In all areas of life, you must allow movement.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? Enjoy yourself and life. Do what most interesting and important to you.
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