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Meet Lorna Bank

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lorna Bank.

Hi Lorna, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
In truth, as so many other women do, I wear a multitude of hats. In terms of career, the longest one has to be a unique niche market in commercial real estate which started way back in 1978 and continues today, though impacted by covid19 since Winter of 2020. The following is a section taken from my website, “LB Realty is a commercial real estate brokerage, woman-owned and operated.

As Owner/Broker, I have worked many years in the commercial real estate business, ultimately creating LB Realcorp, opening our first offices in downtown Los Angeles. Our name was later changed to LB Realty. Over the years, I developed an expertise in working with small business owners (as opposed to investors) and a second specialization working with Non-Profit Organizations. These client groups each have a unique set of commercial real estate needs. Working with these types of business owners and organizations ofttimes requires skills and expertise which differ from those called upon when working in the typical commercial real estate brokerage business.” In addition, to the decades working with Non-Profits and small business owners and working with developers specializing in Affordable Housing, I am a wife, a mother, a step-mother and a step-grandmother. I sing in an amazing opera chorus entitled The Verdi Chorus which has been around for 38 years, based in Santa Monica, and I also sit on their Board of Directors. I am a martial artist and equestrian, having been lucky enough in years past to travel around the world with groups of youth equestrians for riding holidays under the heading of the US Cultural Exchange and Sports Society.

Up until the pandemic hit, my husband and I were learning both salsa and Argentine Tango and can’t wait to get back to dancing! Finally, while I have written poetry for friends and family for a number of years, with the pandemic lockdown, I have started writing more frequently and have begun to explore expanding my written poetry to Spoken Word. My adult son Osiris and I were fortunate to be asked to perform a short spoken word piece together by the Inauguration Committee during the inauguration week this past January as part of The Inauguration Project, performing as A Mixed Blessing, #mixdbless – A white mom, black son partnership, talking about the loving, crazy, exciting life in a mixed race, mixed religion, mixed culture American family. YouTube of The Inauguration Project

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Well, I suppose when you have lived a while, there are always struggles and that certainly has been true for me. Starting off in commercial real estate in 1978 was interesting as I was very young, just out of college and didn’t know what I didn’t know. I think that was probably an advantage. I tried to go to work for one of the large commercial brokerages but was told to “go to IMB for a year and learn how to sell and then come back to us again”. I was far too impatient to do that and just wanted to get to work. This was at a time when there were almost NO women in commercial real estate, unlike today. Back when I first got my license, an old family friend had a small boutique real estate business in Hollywood and when I called him at my Dad’s suggestion, he said “sure, come on in, you can start next week. Coincidentally my own two kids are starting next week too.” He sold and leased every kind of real estate there is: houses, land, offices, warehouses, etc. There was no formal training program back in those days, but he gave me a desk, a phone and access to the forms I would need and was good enough to take me on when others wouldn’t.

For that, I will be forever grateful. I took as many seminars as I could, learned by doing, and stayed with that company for six years during which time I was top producer in the office each of those six years before I went on my own to open LBRealcorp, a small six-women commercial real estate firm in downtown LA. I will say, looking back on those early years, despite what you hear about the commercial real estate field in those days being all about the “boys”, I cannot think of one single time when the men in the brokerage business were anything but kind and encouraging, friendly and professional to me. I am grateful to so many mentors with whom I did cooperating brokerage transactions in those early years. I am sure I made a lot of beginning mistakes, but I told them all I was new to the biz and still learning and in every case, they were great to work with.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
My more recent work, Spoken Word/Poetry and A Mixed Blessing includes an IG presence and Facebook page where my adult son and I begin to explore all the interesting aspects of a white mom, black son relationship. We live in a world that is becoming more and more mixed and blended and it clearly is the way of the future. Navigating some of the unique challenges that face mixed race, mixed religion and mixed-culture families is what we are talking about, often with humor. Being in a mixed family brings a wonderful richness to life and we want to celebrate it!

Can you talk to us a bit about the role of luck?
Well, there is an old saying, luck is where preparation meets opportunity. I can agree with this, but I am an optimist by nature, so it doesn’t really feel like luck. My martial arts Master, Richard Alonzo, always says there is no such thing as failure, there is only success or lessons. This resonates with me at age 66. As I look back, even the most challenging of times were filled with great lessons and often great opportunities for growth and expansion. The idea of regret has never set particularly well with me. I do think I have made some less than stellar decisions along the way, particularly when I was younger and afraid of making a mistake or afraid of what others would think of me, but even those times helped to form who I am today. I do feel that there is much for me to still explore and learn. It is fascinating to speak with folks about the lock-down time of this pandemic and to ask them to share five good things about this time, this past year. The number one answer I get is “more time with family and greater appreciation of family and the simple things”. Other answers include learning new technology, embracing their creative artistic sides, learning new athletic skills, or gardening, or cooking…the list goes on and on. All this to say, I suspect our attitudes have much more influence than our “luck”.

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Image credit for headshot for Lorna Bank to Mia Duncans Photography

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