How Tenisha Williams Went From Teen Mom to Owning A $200 Million Real Estate Brokerage

We live in a world where seeing is believing, but in the world of Tenisha Williams believing is seeing.

She solely attributes her faith to the achievements of her company’s rapid success. But life for Williams ain’t been no crystal stair. Pregnant at age 15 and bringing another life into the world at age 16, she was determined not to abandon her daughter or her dreams. When she went to college at FAMU, she took her daughter along with her. There she became a full-time student and single mom. Many may see the shiny side of entrepreneurship but not know the true story behind “the glory.”

Williams is the CEO and Founder of Elite Realty Partners, which was founded in 2018. Currently, it is the largest Black-owned, woman-owned real estate brokerage firm in South Florida. We caught up with her recently to talk about her business achievements, leadership styles and journey as one of the fastest-growing industry entrepreneurs.

Tenisha Williams
Photo Credit: Brandon Smith, Just B. Still Photography, Inc.

How do you feel about such an iconic milestone of hitting over $200 million in sales in less than 3 years?

So thankful! I was so focused on hitting our sales goal for 2021 that I forgot about tracking the overall goal. I just happened to pull the report recently and I remember just being in disbelief. I am honestly just so proud of our Elite Family for working so hard to help so many families in such a short period of time.

What have you done differently since your last milestone of $100 million in just two years?

We have done a lot different actually. However, I would say the main thing we’ve been doing is ensuring that each agent at our firm receives the tools and resources that they need to be successful.

What culture are you building @ Elite that’s causing you to stand out from the rest?

Family! We literally act like family. We understand that we are truly better together, and we have built a family of agents that lean on one another to ensure we provide Elite service from start to finish. As a result, we all succeed.

What do you think sets your brokerage apart from other brokerages?

The main thing that sets us apart is that we are truly an Elite family. I have witnessed and experienced friendships form, agents from all walks of life partnering up and winning together along with willing to help each other like I’ve never seen. An ideal family where no agent is an island.

Are you still expanding your agency without formal advertising or have you started to advertise now?

We still do not actively recruit agents by way of cold calling, email marketing, or anything of that sort. We have at least 175 real estate agents simply by showing the world through social media and word of mouth that we are super passionate about investing in our community, giving back, providing elite service, and changing the narrative within the Florida market.

What is the “secret sauce” to Elite’s success as quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing real estate companies in the US?

Strong faith! I can’t say anything without first saying that our faith and trust in God deserve all the credit. As crazy as it may sound, having strong faith and being a brokerage that truly cares about our agents is truly the secret sauce.

Did you have any obstacles that you had to overcome to reach the $200 million sales mark and if so, what were they?

Managing and motivating people is no easy task. I would say that is the biggest obstacle to ensure that I lead by example, which can be overwhelming at times while still ensuring that we keep our agents motivated.

How do you keep your existing agents motivated to hit their goals?

I believe it has a lot to do with them being inspired by other agents within our firm. Going back to the family culture enables us to keep each other motivated and hold each other accountable.

Do you think that you will be able to expand into other states in the near future?

Yes, expanding is a part of the plan, but not immediately. I believe that one should take care of the home first, be sure the home is operating at its full potential before expanding to other markets. So, our focus is home for now, but we do have a particular state on our radar.

As a CEO and visionary, how do you stay fresh with ideas and vision for the future?

I am a heavy analyzer and thinker. Actually, I cannot take credit for a lot of the ideas because my husband who is also my business partner contributes to a lot of what we have in place. He is in the background silently, and I am the face of the brand that’s most visible.

As a CEO, the main thing that I have learned is the importance of continual personal development. I am in constant pursuit of becoming unrecognizable every 6 months because I truly believe that elevation has no ceiling.

If there was ONE person that you would love to have lunch or dinner with, who would they be and why?

Dottie Herman is known as the most successful woman in real estate. Some say the richest self-made woman in real estate and featured in Forbes and other magazines for all her great achievements. She recently stepped down as CEO of Douglas Elliman, which is New York’s biggest residential brokerage. She bought and built that firm years ago and I would love to pick her brain as I am truly inspired by her. One of her articles has been my screen saver on my cell phone and a part of my vision board for years.


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