Chanda Davis

Marissa Dick | March 22nd, 2021
Chanda Davis

Chanda Davis

Most who were not born with a silver spoon in their mouth, may appreciate what it means to come from humble beginnings. Understanding how and where you grew up plays a major part in your drive to grow beyond those humbling circumstances. Many of us do that by going to college and acquiring scholarly and interdisciplinary knowledge while others accomplish moving forward in life by working hard on a 9 to 5 or grinding for themselves as entrepreneurs.

The point is that humble beginnings can either make or break you. Have you ever wondered why some people come from the womb and it seems as if they are destined for greatness? How is it that some can press through the oppressive experiences while others, “just can’t get right”? Could it be that the one who presses forward is the generational curse breaker? When you have been “chosen” to be that curse breaker then you understand that your life is going to be challenging with every breath you take.

Meet Chanda Davis Lanier, generational curse breaker and owner and managing broker of Chanda Davis Real Estate, one of the largest black owned women brokerages in the state of Alabama. Chanda is also the owner and instructor of Superior School of Real Estate, one of the fastest growing schools in the Southeast region.

Chanda shares, “My life started out rough, my mother struggled with drug addiction. I was born addicted to heroin, so I was given methadone to wean me off the heroin. My maternal grandmother who loved her family dearly, attempted to adopt me but the State of Pennsylvania would not allow it due to the large number of a family already residing in her residence. Grandmother reached out to her brother-in-law and pleaded with him to adopt me in hopes of keeping me in the family. After four years in foster care, I was moved to a new state with a new family. Life was hard growing up because even though my parents did the best they knew how, I always seemed to have to face my mother’s past. Thank goodness for my Aunt Dora who was a college professor in Tuskegee, Alabama. When I was older, I went to visit with her one summer and she noticed while we were playing spades that I didn’t know how to add or use negative numbers. So, the next day she sat me down and taught me arithmetic starting with one plus one. By the end of the summer, I was doing percentages, decimals, and algebra. Aunt Dora called her brother and basically told him that she was going to keep me during my 8th grade year in hopes of catching me up to grade level. That one year turned into four years of studying for hours each night. Aunt Dora was the turning point of my life. I thank God for grace and mercy because He brought my Aunt Dora into my life. Aunt Dora constantly reminded me that I was beautiful and with hard work, I could achieve anything in life. She was my saving grace. Aunt Dora provided much structure, guidance, and support. I was required to attend Girl Scout meetings on Saturdays and Church each Sunday.
God’s word gave me a sense of confidence and security. I really held on to the Word of God when I started college. I was placed on academic probation after my first quarter due to a 1.6 GPA. I was terrified, so I went to the student support center and worked hard to improve my grades. Thank God that I was able to attain my degree- even if it was with a 2.7 GPA. I did something that no one ever thought I could do- I became a college graduate.”

Despite her challenges Chanda continued her education and earned a master’s degree in Biology education, an Education Specialist degree in Curriculum Design and she is just a few hours shy of a degree in Education Administration. She taught at an inner-city school for three years then transitioned to an exclusive middle school and high school where both she and her students flourished. In addition to being a National Board Certified Teacher, there are not many coveted titles for teaching that she hasn’t won such as Teacher of the Year for Huntsville City Schools, Alabama Science Teacher of the Year and a finalist in Shell Oil Company’s Top Science Teacher Award. Not only was Chanda a local and state decorated teacher but she was also recognized on the national level.
She won The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). Included in that distinction Chanda met then, vice-president Joe and Jill Biden. So, what does a teacher with a master’s degree in Biology education do after 17-years of laudable teaching? She quits teaching and becomes a long-distance truck driver! Yes, you read it right. Let me enlighten you on her rationale.

According to Chanda, “I had a lot going on back then. I was going through a divorce and I had three daughters. I was teaching genetics and anatomy and AP environmental science, so I really had hard core classes and on top of that I taught 200 students daily. The overload of teaching and going through the divorce was just too much. I felt like it was killing me. I needed money and many of my friends told me that trucking was the ideal occupation to make lots of money, so I opened a hot-shot trucking company with a flatbed. I was now a trucker! I traveled across country with light loads. During that one year, anything that could have happened to cause me to go out of business, happened. One truck caught on fire and another truck’s transmission fell out while I was waiting to unload. Then another time I was driving through Virginia during an unexpected ice storm. I was going down a mountain when the brakes gave out. I was sliding down this mountain praying and crying out to God for help. Wow, talk about, ‘God’s trying to tell you something’. I was devastated and while in the middle of an explosive cry, a local broker called asking if I cared to move my real estate license to her company and she assured me that she would help me rebrand my real estate school. I have been a part time real estate agent since 2001 and have had a real estate instructor’s license since 2009.”

How many of us recognize that all that shines isn’t gold? How many of us know that people will capitalize upon your gifts as though they were their own? The moment Chanda stepped into her new career of real estate; commission checks started pouring in. Even though most of the money was going to trying to save her trucking company, Chanda realized that being a fulltime real estate agent may be her answer. Then, out of the blue, one of the largest real estate schools in the state asked her to become an instructor. Chanda was so excited because she believed that it was a gift that God was giving back to her- the gift of TEACHING! Chanda, already “teacher extraordinaire,” took that real estate school’s pass rate from 32% to 76% in one year. With numbers like that it was a no brainer that the owner would want to join forces and lock her in by offering to sell her the school. Naïvely, she believed that the seasoned owner would honor her word but she soon discovered that was not the case. So, she gave a 30 day notice and started planning to rebrand her own school. She changed the name from Davis School of Real Estate to Superior School of Real Estate. She opened the doors, with new branding in October 2017 and by December 2017, she was at full capacity and in search of a larger location.

Chanda became one of the top salespersons at her real estate company. She was a multi-million dollar producer and won many company awards for her production. Her real estate school was performing very well. She and her broker together decided that they would join forces to open a separate location for her brokerage and Chanda’s real estate school. They both signed the lease in a very elite area and for over a month Chanda focused on doing the build-out of the location. Unfortunately, a day before the two of them were to join forces and pay the rent together, the broker informed Chanda that she had changed her mind about partnering. Chanda was devastated that morning but was forced to suck it up and teach the 10 students enrolled in post-license class. The beauty of her having to face her students, is that she taught these new agents in pre-license class and they were considered her friends. While Chanda was depressed and terrified to take on such a monumental task on her own. To her chagrin, everyone was supportive and excited for her new business adventure. Her students, friends, and family had encouraged her for years to run her own real estate company.

How many of us know that God always has a ram in the bush? Chanda recalls the preparation for moving into a new space on her own. “So now I have to furnish the entire place and as God would have it the previous tenants left all of their furniture and the landlord gave it to me and we have been going strong ever since.” Look at how God turned the bad to good for His daughter. Today she has 75 agents, and her school has one of the highest pass rates in Alabama.

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