Resiliency: The Leigh Smiley Story
If you know Coldwell Banker Southern Coast’s Broker/Owner, Leigh Smiley, you know she’s all about Liberty County! She’s a Flemington City Councilwoman, Co-Chair of the Realtors ® Political Action Committee for the Hinesville Area Board of Realtors, an active board member of the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce and the Hinesville Area Multi-List Corporation, and a member of Hinesville’s local Rotary Club. What you may not know is that Leigh came from humble beginnings, and her rise to the top was filled with trials and tribulations. As we honored her accomplishments and distinction within our community, we wanted to sit down and learn more about her journey to becoming our Business Leader of the Year.
A Glimpse into Her Life
Born and raised in Liberty County, Leigh’s parents instilled her with a strong work ethic, emphasizing honesty, love and trustworthiness. With that mindset, and an eagerness to carve out her own path, she jumped into the workforce at the age of 15 with what was then the Fort Stewart Credit Union. The skills she obtained while working there helped build the foundation of her professional career and mold her into a budding businesswoman. Leigh would go on to various other jobs and eventually began her transition into a sales position working for companies such as Alltel. It was during this time that she met her husband, Jody. Eventually Leigh started working with her husband’s land development, landscaping and lawncare business.
Industry was growing in Liberty County, and local leaders were encouraging everyone to build and expand in preparation for an incoming brigade to Fort Stewart. Suddenly, life threw a curveball, and Leigh and her family were faced with the Great Recession of 2008. Most of the developers Leigh and her husband were working for began to go under, and people began losing their jobs and their homes: “we were caught up in all of that, nearly losing everything we had.” This unforeseen obstacle did not set her back, and she and her husband pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, buckled down and moved forward.
After restructuring their business, Leigh decided to leave it in the hands of her husband while she pursued the real estate industry. This was yet another challenge for her, as she jumped into the field at the height of rampant foreclosures. Through it all, she persevered and found ways to rebuild and sustain in the event of another recession. By 2014, business was back on track and flourishing. This is when Leigh was given the opportunity to step in as the Broker/Owner of Coldwell Banker Southern Coast, formerly known as Coldwell Banker Holtzman Realtors.
Leigh’s Support System
Leigh also acknowledges her family as her biggest cheerleaders and inspiration: “I wouldn’t be where I am without their love, support and encouragement.” Her success is multiplied by her amazing team of professionals, who challenge her to be better each and every day. She fully believes it is thanks to their creativity, innovation, loyalty, hard work and determination that Coldwell Banker Southern Coast has found steady growth and success.
Although she lightheartedly jokes that she’s awaiting the day she can retire and ride off into the sunset, her biggest motivation is her contribution to those around her. With a determined expression, she asks herself, “who can I help and leave in a better position than I found them? What can I contribute to make my family, my business and my community better?” Clearly, she’s doing all of this and more, as evidenced by her numerous awards and accomplishments.
- 2010 Hinesville Area Board of Realtors Rookie of the Year.
- 2017 Liberty County Business of the Year.
- 2021 Top 45 Under 45 in Liberty County.
“You have to surround yourself with like-minded people,” she explains. “Stay motivated and stay educated. You have to constantly grow to succeed.”
More to Come…
Always looking forward, Leigh is excited about future growth and expansion within Coldwell Banker Southern Coast. She has tons of upcoming projects on the books, including an additional office in Statesboro and a remodel of their current location. She recently started an Agent Accelerator Program, which aims to help new and experienced realtors achieve success and sustainability. Coldwell Banker Southern Coast will also begin offering educational tours to help incoming realtors become more familiar with our county and its resources. On top of all that, Leigh is always working to expand services and locations for their property management company, Southern Coast Properties.
We hope that you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into the life of Leigh Smiley. Be sure to read the full article in our Liberty County Magazine.