Enterprising Woman Katie Toups: The Blue Heron Group powered by Anchor South Real Estate
A NORTH AMERICAN NATIVE tradition declares, the Blue Heron brings messages of self-determination and self-reliance. This elegant soul represents an ability to progress and evolve with grace. The heron’s long thin legs reflect that one doesn’t need massive pillars for stability but can learn to stand on one’s own. Katie Toups connects with her spirit animal, the blue heron, on many levels. It represents her love of Louisiana; and, the story of her life is told in the bird’s meaning to Native American cultures, whose heritage she shares. She describes humble beginnings – a childhood where her mother cleaned houses to survive hard times. “We didn’t have much, but my mom persevered tirelessly. I inherited her work ethic and the motivation to build a better life for myself.” Katie planned to become her family’s first to attend college with sights on a nursing career. Determined to succeed, she worked multiple jobs. “I tended bar in the French Quarter knowing it wouldn’t be my life’s work, but I learned a lot while in the service industry.” That taste of success in customer service revealed an innate strength, changing her career path and her life. That strength would be called upon again as she faced the ultimate test of survival from a rare carcinoid cancer at seven months pregnant.
Like the Blue Heron, Katie Toups’ ability to progress and evolve was rewarded with a quick ascent up the ladder of a Fortune 500 homebuilding corporation. “I liked serving clients but had no idea how quickly and deeply I would connect with sales and the industry. I was already motivated, but once I found my undiscovered natural talent, I was absolutely driven.” On her very first day, Katie sold a house to a man named Wesley. Along with winning the sale, she won his heart and now, nine years later, Katie and her husband share a son, Wesley, Jr. Katie’s ability and connection to customers led to her position as Sales and Marketing Manager of the company’s Southeast Louisiana division. Her duties not only included training and managing 30 salespeople and marketing new projects, but also expanded to development, land acquisition, floor plan design and purchasing.
“As the sales manager, my belief in the developments was crucial. I was involved in every aspect of the process – market research to select locations and set price ranges, I had a hand in design and materials to ensure quality along with competitive pricing which resulted in timely sales benefiting the company.” Katie’s eight years in that corporate setting were invaluable and rewarding but true to her spirit animal’s message, she felt strong enough to stand on her own, spread her wings and fly to her next adventure.
Katie decided to make her formidable talent and knowledge work for herself by forming her own real estate team. Aptly named The Blue Heron Group, powered by Anchor South Real Estate, her new endeavor assists clients in buying and selling luxury residential and commercial real estate from two offices – one in Madisonville and another in Denham Springs in the Anchor South Real Estate building. In her office near the Tchefuncte River, the company mascot presides as a symbol of Katie’s vision. She already has plans to offer property management services starting in February, to provide expanded staging services, and to open offices in Houston by this time next year. “I’m going for world domination,” laughs the ambitious but down-to-earth entrepreneur. “Running a well-oiled machine relies on the quality of my team and elevated customer service.” Katie is proud of her hand-picked agents, including Amanda Yates, Tiffini Helg, Ariel Holloway, Patrick Taylor, Brittany Rice and Katie Babineaux. “It’s a privilege to work here and because of my reputation, I can attract the best in the business. We have the expertise that others just don’t have and the mission to listen to customer needs and act with a serious sense of urgency. I’ve done market research here for years which means I can negotiate the best deals for buyers and get top dollar for sellers with an arsenal of proven marketing tools. Our ability to truly strategize has gotten customers tens of thousands more when we’ve taken over from another agent or the owner trying to sell themselves.”
While Katie insists that work is her baby, she beams when speaking of her husband and son who bond over duck hunting. “My son saved my life. We wouldn’t have found the lung cancer had I not been pregnant. I’m six years cancer free and that experience has pushed me into overdrive. I’m so grateful for that and want to be an example to others battling cancer.” She is also grateful to share her success with her mother who helps Katie run the household. “I’m happy to take care of her now and share the fruits of hard work and self-determination that she taught me. Developing my career and being here for my family is what pushes me every single day to improve, grow and succeed.”
The Blue Heron Group, powered by Anchor South Real Estate is located at 306 Pine Street, Suite 200 in Madisonville, 985-981-6037 and 8193 Vincent Road, Suite B in Denham Springs, 225-401-2525. For more information, email [email protected].