September Real Producers: Leslie & Heather
This content originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of Real Producers Fort Wayne
SYNERGISM AT ITS BEST: A Closer Look at the Team of Leslie Ferguson & Heather Regan
Chemistry. From the little home sets to a class in high school or college, most are familiar with the general principle of the subject, which is to understand the composition of substances and the result when combining them. Perhaps you had to learn the Periodic Table, or you just enjoyed “experimenting” with the combinations of things your teacher said should not be mixed (I speak for a friend).
Sometimes when combining things, the results produced are greater than the sum of the parts. For those who did not care for science, it is like 1 + 1 = 3. One gains from the summation, but wait, there is more! That is exactly what happened recently when Leslie Ferguson and Heather Regan merged efforts. You may not have heard the explosion, but you will see the results.
Leslie proclaims herself an “army brat.” When she turned 14, she had already moved 14 times. Her father, grandfather, and uncle had military careers with stints at West Point. Ferguson admits that it was hard to adjust and that she could never call any one place home, but she says that the moving taught her about adapting, changing, and succeeding. Upon her high school graduation, her father retired, and most of the family move to Europe, leaving Leslie and her sister in the states. She started college at Illinois State but transferred to Indiana University her second year where she finished her studies in advertising and marketing.
Ferguson was the recipient of an ROTC scholarship, which afforded her some financial help for school and obligated her one weekend per month and two weeks each summer. She also knew that she would have to serve after her education, so she embarked on her military journey—the family business.
Having returned from an exhausting weekend her junior year of college from her ROTC responsibilities, Leslie was riding passenger front seat position with the goal of keeping her driver awake, (several girls heading out of town for spring break), when both fell asleep, exiting the road and flipping the vehicle multiple times. She suffered a head injury that later required 13 surgeries to correct. Leslie had to sit out that semester, but the experience completely re-shaped her worldview. She explains, “I learned a lot about people and the importance of being there for others; I also lost my selfishness and adopted important views regarding endurance and focus.”
After graduation from IU, Ferguson went to Switzerland to join her family. Her term of service did not start for some time, so she spent six months backpacking all over Europe—meeting people from all around the world. The summer of 1992 took her to Chicago to stay with her college roommate, and there she found her future husband, John. The two spent time in Colorado where Leslie served as a marketing associate for the Denver Broncos. Later, she was called to active duty and served in South Korea and Bosnia. Eventually, she married John, and he convinced her to move to Fort Wayne so that he could join his family business as a partner of Ferguson Advertising—a position he has held for the last twenty years.
John and Leslie have three children, Jack (19), Will (17), and Caroline (14). The family loves to spend time at the lake, ski, and snowboard. Since they are both business owners, they have little spare time, but they love to be together.
She remembers the wonderful support of John’s family upon her arrival in Fort Wayne. She could finally call a place home. Leslie played the cello for nine years and is qualified in three weapons. I will bet that you have not connected those two things before.
Leslie touts the necessity of taking care of people like family and walking them through the process of the transaction from beginning to end—which almost always concludes with smiles. She says that following the Golden Rule is foundational to success, and she lives by the mantra Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Having been the only female graduate of 300 people in her Airborne school, Leslie knows how to persevere and fight for the right result.
Heather Regan attended St. Mary’s College with an intended degree in Pre-Med. She struggled and quickly learned that she had not been taught to study properly. Later, she transferred to Indiana University and became an English major—forgetting the fact that she did not enjoy writing papers. She had brief thoughts of fashion or interior design and maybe even a stay in New York. Meeting a guy changed all of that, and Heather moved to Fort Wayne and finished her degree, becoming a Dental Hygienist. Sadly, Heather lost her first child and later her first marriage. She was able to later conceive her son, Phoenix, who was named from the bird that rises to life from the ashes.
Regan navigated through the rough waters of being a single mother and provider. The lessons of life were forming skills that she would later draw from to find her professional success. A handsome dentist in a nearby office saved the day (although Heather called to ask him out—surprise!), and the two have been married for 13 years. As Office Manager, Heather helped him build his practice for three years and then became a stay-at-home mom for six years, adding two more children to their family.
She stayed active professionally with an adventure in her “In-home boutique,” working in the Williams-Sonoma store, and even teaching cooking classes. With thoughts of designing and making her own pottery for sale or returning to school to pursue Pre-Med (stats class at IPFW killed that dream), Heather longed to find her niche. An encounter with real estate in selling her own home sealed the deal. In 2012, Regan became licensed, and she sold over $16 million in her first two years.
Regan’s past, though full of varied experience, is just that—full of experience. Life shaped Heather to become a free spirit whose motto is Work Hard; Play Harder. She loves the fact that her agency gives her the freedom to market her work in the way that best fits her personality and style. She loves to be a young professional and to work with others who share her passions. Heather hopes to impact the real estate world by changing the image that people have of REALTORS.
Steve and Heather have three children: Phoenix (sophomore in high school), Halle (sixth grade), and Hudson (third grade). The family is involved in sports like basketball, volleyball, football, and the arts: piano. The couple loves to play golf and tennis, and everyone enjoys their pool.
Heather seemed to rise quickly, bypassing rising star status, to launch clearly into top-producer levels. She credits her ability to “put herself out there” and to remain “super social” as keys to success. She even competed in the local “Dancing with the Stars” competition (somewhat pleased with the third-place finish—not really, though). She loves to build relationships, whether it is through golf, tennis, or just any connective activity. “Real Estate Selling is a business of relationships,” she notes. She is also extremely appreciative of the structure that she has learned and the models she has observed. “I love working with people who share my values, drive to succeed, and morals,” she claims.
— By Brian Ramsey
Rising Star: Brandon Schueler
Full name of individual and/or team.
Brandon Schueler with The Minnick Group.
When did you start your career in real estate?
My real estate career began in December of 2012 when I was 18 years old.
What rewards have you received?
President's Club Member consecutively since 2014.
How early did you know that you wanted to be a real estate agent?
When I bought my first house at age 18, my realtor and I bonded from the beginning. All through the transaction, I was intrigued by every step that was required to get the transaction finished.
What people influenced you the most or have been a big support to your career?
First and foremost, Jennifer Callison. From the minute I walked into the doors at Mike Thomas, 18 years old and not having any real estate experience, Jennifer believed in me. Since then, she has continued to help me overcome any challenge I have, giving me the tools to be the successful agent I am today. When I was able to purchase my first house, I reached out to Nanetta Minnick to assist me and instantly my interest in real estate peaked. She assisted me in obtaining my real estate license and provided me with the knowledge she had as a successful agent herself to help get my business established. Since then, she has been a huge supporter of not only my business but my personal growth as well. In an industry where we are “on call” all the time, it can be easy to lose sight of what is important in life. Deanna Fisher’s ability to be as successful as she is and still be actively involved with her family and a great friend reminds me that we can truly be what we want to be if we work for it. Lastly, my friends and family. I have been given the best support system I could’ve asked for. They’ve all been patient and understanding when I have those last-minute schedule changes or when I have to take that call at dinner, all knowing it plays a part in my success.
If you did not attend college, what profession did you enter? Why?
While I was in high school, I was working at Menards where I assisted homeowners with upgrades and home improvement projects. I then purchased my first home as a kid right out of high school, which sparked my interest in the sales side of real estate.
Have you discovered anything from that time that helps you in real estate?
My time working in home improvement has helped me be able to show my clients the possibilities a home could have as well as helping them gauge the cost of the improvements.
What are the positives/rewards of what you do?
For most people, purchasing a home is probably one of the largest investments they will make in their lifetime. The biggest reward of my career is being able to help my clients turn a dream into a reality. Every step of the process is a priority for me. From the very first conversation about their wish list and showing them houses to the moment of “this is the one” and getting to hand them the keys at the closing table—every milestone is important to me.
What are the negatives/challenges of what you do?
Currently, the biggest challenge of what I do on a daily basis is the lack of inventory. I want my clients to be comfortable and secure in the decision they are making as well as finding the home they love rather than settling for something that “will do.” Unfortunately, in the market we are in, buyers are required to make a decision quickly so they do not lose an opportunity, so I focus on being 100% prepared for every appointment so my clients have the resources they need to make a decision.
What has contributed to your quicker success?
The biggest and most important contribution to my success is referrals from friends and family and past client business.
How do you define success?
My definition of success is to live the life I truly want and have worked hard for instead of settling for the life that comes easily while having peace of mind knowing that I am the best version of myself possible.
What are your hobbies and interests outside of the business?
I enjoy spending time with my friends, trying new restaurants, shopping, traveling, and spending every free minute of sunshine out by my pool.
What makes your business different from others?
In today’s real estate market, I feel it is very important to remember the basics and stick to them. One thing I take pride in when it comes to my business is respecting everyone involved in the transaction. This market can be crazy at times and push anyone to their limits, but I have chosen to set myself apart by structuring my business on honesty, compassion, and trust.
If you could change one thing in your industry right now, what would it be?
If I could change one thing in the real estate industry, I would change the ability to educate the public on the local real estate market. So many people aren’t able to fully understand the market we are in. Sure, they hear there is no inventory and homes are selling quickly, but most people don’t realize how that affects them directly.
What advice would you give to those considering real estate?
For anyone considering real estate, my advice would be to focus on the relationship with your clients. There are no better advocates for you and your business than a past client referral. I’ve learned if you take care of them, they will take care of you.
Inside the Fort Wayne Real Producers September Issue:
Photos by Tony Frantz
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