For the first installment of the Female Founders series on the Union Street Media YouTube channel Rachel Allard, Senior VP of Strategy at Union Street Media spoke with Dava Davin, Principal and Broker Owner of Portside Real Estate Group in Maine. Portside Real Estate Group is the top woman-owned real estate company in Maine. Click the video above to watch the full interview. 

Dava Davin got her start in real estate in 2008. She had moved to Maine with her family and decided to leave her job in pharmaceuticals to pursue a more rewarding career in the non-profit sector to “feed [her] soul and give back.” Unfortunately during the summer of 2008, it was hard to find any job, let alone something in the non-profit space. So she regrouped and decided to get her real estate license. After getting her initial start Davin says she “just fell in love with this new lifestyle,” but does admit It was challenging in the beginning because she was new to the community and hadn’t built a sphere of influence yet. This turned out to be a blessing as she says she was able to reinvent herself and start over and “really be able to be myself from the minute I woke up in the morning to the minute I went to bed.” In 2012 Davin opened Portside Real Estate Group and over the last eight years has grown her brand tremendously. 

Don’t limit yourself.

– Dava Davin

Davin stresses the importance of believing in yourself, especially as a female where “it can be easy to fall into a track of expectations.” 

When the Coronavirus first hit it forced a lot of businesses to pivot and navigate something completely unknown, but Davin explains that the sense of community, especially in the real estate industry and its leaders, made it easier because they were all going through uncertainty together and that meant that they didn’t have to reinvent the wheel because they were able to share ideas on how you run a company with agents who are now all remote. This wasn’t easy in the beginning, especially for a company like Portside Real Estate Group where a major part of the culture is connecting with the community. 

Davin admits that they were fortunate in Maine that there weren’t as many cases as in other areas of the country and notes that the market has intensified, after a little bit of a pause in the beginning, with July being “the best month the company has ever had”. Things are still shifting and Davin explains that “as CEOs, we’re sort of made for that” and that the adrenaline takes over, noting that you have to “be all in every day as it continues to change.”

Davin believes in “putting the real back in real estate” by forming meaningful connections and providing a safe space where people can be themselves and let their guard down. Davin admits it can be hard to build trust but that when agents feel safe and supported that resonates through the agents to the clients. 

The real estate industry is being forced to change through all of this and Davin believes “this will be a time of innovation” for real estate and notes that “real estate has been doing business the same way for a very long time” and that it’s time for “leaders to shine.” 

Looking to the future, Davin says she and her team will continue to strive for better and continue to serve clients in the best possible way – which will, in turn, grow her business through the addition of new agents. Davin also sees Portside Real Estate Group expanding down Maine’s coast. In addition to growth on the real estate side, Davin is also excited to grow the Portside Foundation. The Portside Foundation works with non-profit partners to fundraise and bring awareness through four annual events, which are not being held this year, but she notes her team is really inspired by the work they’ve been doing strategizing how they can help Mainers.  

The Portside Foundation typically hosts the “Rooftop Recharge” each summer where people raise money and participate in a bootcamp style workout event. They hosted the event virtually this year and had a great turn out. Davin says that technology has allowed her team to continue to connect with the community during this time. 

The Portside Real Estate Group has always been a tech-savvy company. They have been paperless since the beginning and have always tried to stay ahead tech-wise as best as they could and are going to continue that momentum. “We have a lot of heart and a lot of energy and we try a lot of things,” Davin says admitting that not all of things they try stick “but that you should just put yourself into it and create a safe place where agents feel comfortable saying ‘hey should we try this.’”

The most important piece of advice Davin would give someone looking to start a company, real estate or otherwise, is to “write out your goals, cross them out, and multiply them by five or ten and just really go for it. Otherwise, there’s not point.” She also adds that you “should create something that is way bigger than you ever imagined or you’ll never get there.” Davin sees her completing four Iron Mans is a great example of pushing yourself to go above what you thought was possible and that putting in the work every day will get you past even your largest goals. 

Davin attributes her success to her focus on ensuring agents feel happy and supported as well as her hard work, stating “people want to do their best, when they’re not something is wrong.” In regards to hard work she adds “hard work is available to everyone but sometimes people are afraid to work hard in real estate because a lot of times you can work really hard and not get compensated.” Davin continues to work hard every day but mentioned earlier in the interview that she hasn’t felt like she’s been working at all since she got into the industry because of how much she loves it. While her calendar is typically booked all the way through the day she still makes time to meet with her agents as a team every morning to help move the ball forward. 


You can learn more about The Portside Real Estate Group on their website

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