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Substitute teacher becomes real estate dynamo

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BURLINGTON, N.C. -- We're on a mission to discover and share insider stories about women in the Triad who are thriving and inspiring. It's for our series "Good for Her!" as in, "that is really cool, how did she do that?"

Our first story in the series features Sandy Sparks. You hear her before you see her. The tiny lady's giant laugh is infectious. Just a few seconds with Sandy and you know she's a make-it-happen kind of gal. But to make-it-happen in such a big way, so quickly?

For years, Sandy was a stay at home mom and worked as a substitute teacher while her kids grew up.
"Subbed every day and made about $9,000 a year. My husband said to me, ‘Sandy, I appreciate the fact that you're passionate about substitute teaching, however, I'd like a little help with the college bills once my youngest son was about to go off to school,’" Sparks said.

Sandy says she prayed about it for months. "I just assumed I would go into teaching full time. Prayed a lot about it. Heard it loud and clear. Go into real estate."

It was 2008, Sandy was 46 years old, had never been in sales and the real estate market had just completely tanked.

"Everyone was fleeing out of the business,” she said. “Everyone in my entire life, except for my sweet husband, thought I had lost my mind."

Sandy listened to her gut feeling, took the real estate exam and within a year, was her agency's number one producer. She has been winning awards ever since for her high sales volume. Out of over 4,000 real estate agents in Keller Williams' North and South Carolina offices, Sandy is currently No. 2 is sales volume.

So what's her secret? What makes her tick?

"If I'm up, I'm working. I love what I do and I'm passionate about what I do. I don't do this because I care about houses; I care about people. I am passionate about people. So don't let words people say stop you. So don't let your best friends or family tell you can't or shouldn't do something, if you feel it in the deepest part of your heart. Just do it and you'll do it with excellence."

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