What inspires you to show up to work every day?
My big why … my family. I am a husband of 24 years to my lady, Melinda Bolling, Esq., a father to my daughter, Aliza (15) and my son Absalom (12). Every day, they inspire me to go out into the world and show that that I can serve as the husband and father they can be proud of and are motivated to follow my leadership.
How did you determine your career path?
God has determined my career path by the gifts he has bestowed upon me. Three gifts in particular have helped me to follow my career path as a commercial real estate professional: My gift to talk, negotiate, and persevere. I am the only child of Maggie Bolling and Leo Simms. A second generation Washingtonian, I attended D.C. public schools where I would have been an academic honor roll student except for one over-riding complaint every teacher from k-12 ever offered as the reason for my average grades, “Anthony is smart … but he talks too much.” Very early on in my childhood I recognized a strong desire to question everything in search of that ever elusive answer, why? Always seeking to understand why kept me from mastering the really important question, how?
During my senior year at McKinley Tech High School, the one and only year that I played on the varsity football team, I was offered a full academic athletic grant in aid to attend the University of Virginia in exchange for playing football. During the recruiting process, I discovered my gift to negotiate. The UVA football recruiter sat between myself and Antonio Rice, our super star player, and began to discuss the scholarship packages he had secured for both us. The offer for Rice was glowing, room and board, full tuition, stipend … the works. Then he turned his attention to me and said, “Anthony, we want you to come and play at UVA however, we can only offer you partial tuition, a dorm room with non- football players, and you will need to work at the library to supplement your partial meal plan.”
Without a blink or hesitation, I thanked the recruiter for UVA’s generous offer. I stated that I wanted to attend UVA and play football for a future division 1 ACC powerhouse, however, if my mamma had to spend one dime on my education, I was going to Howard University and not play football and pursue her dream for me to become a dentist. Five years later in the spring of 1987, I earned my BA degree in sociology from the University of Virginia, having lettered three years on the varsity football team.
During my junior year at UVA, I was set on a journey that would reveal my third gift to persevere. By the end of my third year the joys of asking my family members and friends why, why, why as a sociology major was now been met head on with the harsh question of “what are you going to do with a sociology degree, be a sociologist?” The dream of me becoming a dentist was dead, but staying up late most nights studying and watching infomercials by “Mr. Wu” on how you too can become a millionaire in the real estate industry offered me a new dream.
And so, I become a licensed real estate professional the summer of my third year. That summer I affiliated with Shannon and Luchs on Capitol Hill and the following spring and summer I spent all of my free time working at my profession. When I graduated from UVA, I returned home and began my career as a licensed real estate professional. Over the next 28 years I served the real estate needs of my clients throughout the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan and Prince Georges County, Maryland, areas. I have never stopped my unrelenting pursuit of my dream. Over the years my different positions and titles have granted me the opportunity to gain considerable skills and knowledge in a wide arrays of disciplines. Bank teller, call center associate, housing project manager, JD, settlement officer, business development manager, commercial leasing associate, contracting officer, CCIM, and managing director. Like all “fools gold,” Mr. Wu caught my attention and led me towards the career path of a real estate professional, and along the journey, God taught me the most valuable lesson of all, “Chasing Gazillions ain’t the same as making Millions.”