MARIETTA — It takes a special bond for a parent and child to go into business together. Today we look at two success stories at Harry Norman Realtors.
Joanna Conyngham and daughter Carson Wernz
Joanna Conyngham grew up working in a family business, Owens Flower Shop on Whitlock Avenue.
“I worked with my mother and my father and sisters and brothers. Making (real estate) a family venture was very normal for me. It was a very easy decision for me to ask Carson to join me,” said Joanna, a sales associate for Harry Norman Realtors for 20 years.
Carson, who worked with an advertising agency for three years, changed careers and joined Harry Norman seven years ago as a sales associate. With the relationships established by her mother, Carson brought marketing and technology skills to the partnership.
“It's been fun to know her on a different level as a business partner instead of just a mom. We get along great. Sometimes we have our issues, but for the most part we get along well and make a really good team,” said Carson, a Marietta resident.
She has been married to her husband, Jeff, for five years and they have one son, 22-month-old Henry.
“It's been the best decision career-wise I've ever made,” Carson said.
The mother-daughter team splits the responsibilities and rewards 50-50. “We share everything,” Carson said.
“We are a definite tag team. We started our partnership knowing everything would be 50-50. We basically offer a great deal for our buyers and sellers because if one of us isn't available the other one is,” Joanna said. “We feel like they get two for one.”
“No matter what there's always one of us who can go take care of a client,” Carson said.
Their arrangement provides flexibility to Carson as a young mother, and Joanna the opportunity to spend more time with her grandson.
“I have the best of both worlds. I get to be a grandmother and have a very rewarding career,” said Joanna, a Marietta resident who has been married to Paul for 43 years. The Conynghams also have a grown son, Cotters.
Joanna said the hardest part is stepping back from wanting to be Carson's friend.
“The Harry Norman office is one big family. We do a lot of things together. We hang out together. We help each other. If anything I have to pull back and remember I have my own friends I need to do things with. I don't try to mother Carson unless she asks my advice,” she said.
“I feel incredibly blessed to have this opportunity to work with Carson. It's made the biggest difference in working in real estate. Every day is Mother's Day for me,” Joanna said.
Suzie Crowe and son Andrew Turner
While attending college at Kennesaw State University, Andrew helped his mother in her real estate business. “(Andrew) helped me put signs in, helped me go look at houses. I think he developed a love for real estate at that point,” Suzie said
After graduating, Andrew worked in the insurance industry while referring friends to his mom, who has worked with Harry Norman Realtors for nine years.
“I would help her preview homes for my friends and I just really loved the business,” Andrew said.
Like his mother, Andrew has a cheerful and positive personality, making real estate a natural fit. Two years ago, the 2003 North Cobb High School graduate joined his mother at Harry Norman as a sales associate, drawing from his large network of friends. This year, Andrew was chosen as Harry Norman's Rookie of the Year.
“It's great to be with my mom every day and have her mentor me and teach me everything that she knows. She is one of the top agents at our office, and I've learned so much from her,” said Andrew, who is married to Ivey. They live in Kennesaw.
Suzie and Andrew share the same office, reviewing contracts, brainstorming and marketing together. Although they share some clients and cover for each other when necessary, they retain their autonomy.
“We're together every day and we're in the same office but we still have our different clients. We do a lot of things separate and a lot of things together,” said Suzie, who is married to Barry.
The Acworth residents also have a daughter, Brittany.
“Andrew came out of the gate and has done so well that he really hasn't needed my help with clients. I want him to do all he can. I want him to get all the accolades he can,” she said.
The close relationship between the mother-son team makes for a solid business relationship.
“Even though I have been in business a long time, it's nice to go to your son and confide in him and know it's going to stay with him. It's nice to have someone to confide in about different issues. We pump each other up,” Suzie said.