We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Barnes and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jennifer, what’s the most important lesson your business/career has taught you?
As I enter my “third quarter” in life, I have learned that the most joy in life comes from giving back. The second most joy in life is witnessing others’ joy when they realize the gift of giving back. I have spent so much of my life in achievement and goal mode, believing that my self worth was attached to how much money I could make or how much I could get done. I have come to realize that all of that achievement has its place, but life’s really valuable nuggets are in the connections you make and the joy and purpose you can give to others’ lives. The best days are the ones spent helping others doing something meaningful and that makes a difference in the community.

My business has taught me that the more I give back without expectation, the more is available to receive. I have learned that activity begets activity. The more positive energy we spread in the world, the more we will get in return. My new life mantra is – We GIVE because we HAVE. We HAVE because we GIVE.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
In my first life, I have been a Realtor for over 30 years, the last 20 years with Keller Williams Realty. I have personally opened 2 Keller Williams offices and played an integral part of opening 3 additional offices. During my tenure I have built a team of smart, intuitive, resourceful, dedicated women. Together we have consulted over over 2000 families and individuals navigate the different chapters of their lives and find the place they call home. It can be challenging dealing with different personalities, changing family dynamics, people’s largest financial investments and the emotions that come with moving to a different chapter in people’s lives. (We sometimes refer to ourselves as real estate therapists). Some days are stressful, some are cause for celebration. Quite often it can be both in the same day. We have weathered 2 recessions, September 11, a housing bubble, a mortgage meltdown and now a pandemic. We have done it through strong personal relationships, a concierge level of individual service, an extensive list of service providers and an inner desire to make peoples’ lives better through the entire process and beyond.

Since the Covid 19 pandemic began in March 2020, my new side hustle has been co-founding a non-profit, Solidairty Sandy Springs Food Pantry. What began as a plan to feed 10 families for 2 weeks has turned into a community movement serving over 30,000 shoppers and engaging over 1700 unique volunteers. We are creating community, embracing diversity and capitalizing on inclusivitiy to bring a stronger sense of community to Sandy Springs Georgia.

In addition to feeding our neighbors, we are actively involved in moving them from surving to thriving-hosting monthly events-Over 1000 back to school backpacks, 4 Covid Vaccine Clinics, a Mother’s Day Pop Shop for the 350 kids to pick out something for their mothers, Easter bags, 4th of July Cookout Celebration, Halloween trick or treating, 400 Thanksgiving Food Bags, and Christmas/Hannukah Gifts for 843 children (included 247 bicycles and 11 kitchens), educational event, a Job Fair and a Financial Clinic.

The joy in creating a safety net for our neighbors so they don’t have to decide whether to feed their family or pay their rent and the reward in watching the youth volunteers come together from different backgrounds to solve common challenges and create community is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Connecting people’s gifts-their time, talent and treasures -to other’s needs and watching the transformation for both people is the best feeling in the whole world.

I truly believe I am living my best life in the middle of a crisis. My goal is to pass along everything I have learned and experienced. I want everyone to know what the gift of service feels like.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
While Atlanta is such an exciting place to be, I am really partial to our Sandy Springs community. We have done our fair share to support the local economy during the pandemic and our favorite spots have been Under the Cork Tree Restaurant (get the Mediterranean salad-the best n all of Atlanta) with live music on the weekends and a great brunch, Chastain Bistro for fancy comfort food, Bishoku for sushi and an intimate bar, il Giallo Osteria and Bar for Italian and a great wine list, C&S Seafood for some great food and ambience. Oh, and you have to swing by Nothing Bundt Cakes for the red velvet Bundtel with cream cheese icing that will fix anything that ails you. The City has a beautiful new events venue City Springs, with outdoor concerts and fabulous plays an amphiteathre and free movie and band events throughout the year. The Saturday Farmers Market has something for everyone and is dog friendly. If you love the outdoors, the Chattahoochee Nature Center and Morgan Falls Overlook Park has great trails and fun kid activities.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to give a shout out to one of my first real estate brokers, Kay Evans, who has guided my career and provided so many opportunities for personal and professional growth. She is the co-owner of the Keller Williams Southeast Region. Kay is an example of professionalism, generosity, wisdom, kindness and abundance. She has spent her life paving the way for others to have businesses worth owning, lives worth living and legacies worth leaving.

Website: www.barnesyoung.com www.solidaritysandysprings.org

Instagram: jennyluvshouses solidaritysandysprings

Facebook: Jennifer Spurlin Barnes Soidarity Sandy Springs

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlanta is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.