As we celebrate Black History Month, it is an honor to highlight Jackie Arnette, who in 1996 became SABOR’s first Black Chairwoman. In a conversation with Jackie, we are reminded of the great importance that real estate agents play within our community.
A native San Antonian, Jackie grew up in the southwest area of San Antonio near Kelly Air Force Base. Something special to note about Jackie is that she graduated from St. Mary’s University having been one of the first 40 women graduates. Immediately after graduating, she began her successful career in 1965 while first working with the San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA). After nine years of experiencing the public housing sector with SAHA, she decided to apply for her real estate license to grow her understanding of the housing industry as a whole. In 1982, she received her real estate license followed by her broker’s license a few years later, and first marketed herself in San Pedro Hills. By then, she began serving as a sales agent with Terri Schultz Red Carpet, managing 100 properties until 1988. In speaking with Jackie, one could hear the vast knowledge she learned throughout her years in real estate and how that might help others on the same path. She first credits Terri Schultz as a source of motivation for her growth within the industry, especially since Terri first introduced her to SABOR.
Reflecting back on her challenges in real estate, she tells us of a common difficulty shared amongst all agents no matter the race—that of having friends or acquaintances as clients. Particularly as a Black woman agent, Jackie recounts her experience: “Being a Black person, sometimes it was a shock to people when they would meet with me in person. I started putting my picture up on the website so that people could know upfront who they were dealing with.” Despite having some challenging encounters due to racial factors, she views San Antonio as being a progressive city with the help of a large military presence. Jackie shares that while she was aware of being Black, she never let the thought of race stand in her way. “I just thought of myself as someone who could help and do what I can, and that’s what I did,” she says.
Perhaps most inspiring to Jackie was the wisdom inculcated by her father: “Don’t ever use the word ‘can’t.’ Everything is a ‘can do thing.’” This propelled Jackie to an unstoppable career, which led to her involvement with various real estate committees, serving as SABOR’s Chairperson in 1996, and receiving numerous distinguishing awards.
Above all, Jackie accentuates that her dedication in serving within real estate is mainly inspired by her love for her family. With this love and her formidable “can-do” attitude, she has not only paved her own way but has also helped pay for her children’s education—as she expresses to be one of her greatest accomplishments. A progressive and contemporary woman herself, she shares that of her preference of home to be contemporary with the present time.
In asking Jackie what message she’d like to leave with incoming real estate agents, she says, “Know that you can do it. Put your mind to it and you can do it.” Jackie would also like for women, especially Black women, to know that all they have to do is choose and go forward without a shred of doubt, that they can equally accomplish the same and more in real estate so long as they see themselves serving within the community. Lastly, she emphasizes the importance of having family at the center of everything. After all, a home is where families of all sizes unite.