by Lou Mancinelli
On a poster in the window at Weavers Way, 8424 Germantown Ave., Amanda Saunders, a local realtor who scored 1,256 points in her career as a point guard at Providence College, flexes her bicep like in the classic Rosie the Riveter image. “Do it for the Co-op,” it says on the photo.
The sign is modeled after the World War II image of “Rosie,” a strong woman in a blue shirt with rolled up sleeves, a red bandana and the message “We Can Do It.” Today, in Chestnut Hill, this new take on an old symbol is designed to promote working memberships at the co-op.
“I think they thought I am in shape,” joked Saunders about why she was asked to pose for the photo.
Six years ago, Saunders relocated to Flourtown from Boston through her work at GE Healthcare. Shortly afterwards, though, she decided on a career change. She had worked in sales since she graduated from a five-year masters program in finance and information systems in 1998. But Saunders felt like she had done all she could do in medical and pharmaceutical sales and yet still felt unfulfilled.
“The paycheck wasn’t cutting it anymore,” she said.
She had taken real estate classes in Boston and thought she could make use of a long-time passion. “I’ve always had this thing with houses,” said Saunders, who owned her first house when she was only 23.
Saunders, 38, who now focuses on neighborhoods in the Northwest, Main Line and areas in between, started five years ago at the Fox & Roach office on the Main Line and is now building a team at the Chestnut Hill office, 14 West Evergreen Ave. She was voted a “5 STAR Professional” both this year and last year.
“At the end of the day, I’m helping people buy the highest priced things in their financial portfolio,” said Saunders. “It’s a pretty personal purchase … Usually, it’s pretty close to home … I don’t run a transactional business. I’m very interested in the relationships.”
But developing relationships with sort-of strangers used to be something she struggled with. Unlike her shooting skills, which landed her in the Providence College record books for the highest free-throw percentage at 84.2%, she was quiet on the social court.
When the 5-foot-7 deadly jumpshooter blew out her knee in her sophomore year as she did a crossover dribble in a game, the biggest and most time-consuming part of her life was taken away for a year. Saunders had always been a “gym rat.” In high school, where she was raised in Richmond, Va., she practiced with 200 jump shots a day. (In college she took 300.) She scored more than 2,000 points and took a full ride to Providence in Rhode Island. If she was not playing basketball, she was studying. But now basketball was gone, if only for a year.
“I had to sort of rediscover myself,” said Saunders. So the injury, while it took her off the court temporarily, propelled her life in other directions. In fact, she thinks it happened for a reason. She learned to develop her social skills. She had been so shy as a child that in kindergarten it was wrongly thought that she had a speech problem.
Saunders returned to the court and was even allowed to play as a graduate student while studying for her master’s degree. If she had not blown out her knee, professional basketball might have been an option. (Amanda once scored seven three-pointers in a game against Syracuse University.) But the WBNA had only started in June, 1997, a year before Saunders finished school. So when the diploma came, it was time for new endeavors.
So Saunders, who plays golf and is big into food, dogs and hiking in the Wissahickon, began to set personal instead of athletic goals. She wants to sell 30 homes a year and has hit the mark the past two. Now her biggest competitor is herself. Instead of 300 jump shots, she sets networking goals and stays in touch with past clients.
Today at Fox & Roach, which was recently bought out by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, she is working on recruiting two members to join the two already there, which will make for a full five-person squad.
She also plans to raise a family with her partner, Moira, who has three dogs and who also played basketball at Providence and was on a team that went to the Elite Eight in the NCAA March Madness tournament.
“I feel like more and more same-sex couples are moving into the area,” said Saunders about Springfield Township.
More information at 215-514-9597 or www.foxroach.com.