Search helps Patterson choose her own charitable path

Alisa Patterson

Alisa Patterson

In 2003, Alisa Patterson needed a job with a flexible schedule so she could help care for her young children and her cancer-stricken father.

Not only did that search get her started in real estate, but it enabled her to spend key time with family, led her to a productive career as a REALTOR®, connected her to the local chapter of the American Cancer Society and introduced her to many people.

Today, Patterson is a managing broker for the Byron office of Dickerson & Nieman REALTORS, and says her community involvement has helped her career and vice-versa. “To be honest, the volunteer experience has probably exceeded my expectations,” she says. “It’s opened a lot of doors for me. And so many of the people I’ve met, I’ve felt a connection to. Seeing them at the events year after year, many of us have become friends. Some, I think will be lifelong friends, and that’s something I didn’t anticipate.”

Patterson, who also serves as president of the Rockford Area REALTORS® (RAR) and vice president of membership for the Rockford Chapter of the Women’s Council of REALTORS®, says good advice given in the early stages of her real estate career, helped her choose the American Cancer Society.

“I was told to pick a charity or cause that would mean something to me, and following the death of my father, I became involved with annual cancer walks with local cancer survivors and family members of victims.  Fundraising – finding sponsors who’ll donate money or goods for those walks – seemed like a good fit for me.

“Eventually I chaired and co-chaired the walks, and in recent years I’ve participated in the walks with a team named Buffalo,” she says. “During the last several years, I’ve helped a friend with a three-week garage sale that raises money for the American Cancer Society. This year, the garage sale raised more money than it ever has before.”

Patterson says, “There’s something special about the people I’ve met through volunteering, and it has to do with the unique stories each of us share. It seems that everyone has either lost someone to the disease or knows someone who’s had cancer.”

Earlier this summer, Patterson was named RAR’s REALTOR® of the Year and she also was one of a select group to participate in the Illinois REALTORS® Leadership Training Academy. She says she loves her career and her involvement with the local and state associations. “I’m doing what I love to do, and it pays itself back over and over again.”

So how does she define her success?

“I measure my success with my family’s happiness,” she says, noting that her children are 23, 14 and seven years old. “I don’t measure my success monetarily. I measure it in terms of making dinner for my family, taking my son to hockey practice and my daughter to softball and volleyball. Having the flexibility to be there for those ‘special’ moments, to me, that is ‘success.’”

Read the Illinois REALTORS® blog for weekly stories about the community involvement of Illinois REALTORS® during the association’s 100th anniversary year. If you have an idea for a REALTOR® to highlight with an article, please send it to To read stories like this, go to: #MemberMonday

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *