Bremerton’s Leah Persinger on real estate, giving back and living life

Some people, as they say, light up a room. For others, the light is their backdrop; they simply glow. Vibe member and front desk host Leah Persinger? She’s an all out light show.

The powerhouse behind Leah Persinger Professional Realty Services, Leah has been a Vibe member for going on three years, initially using the Vibe Lab (Vibe’s now extinct temporary space in Poulsbo) as a meeting place for Kitsap Cancer Services, where she serves on the board.

Leah’s zest for life, easy conversation, wicked sense of humor, and authenticity of spirit make for a memorable addition to the Vibe host team as its latest Space Captain as part of the Vibe Host Program . We’ve come to know her, too, as an arbiter of taste when it comes to playing DJ with the ambient music vibes at our favorite Kitsap WFO (work from office) space.

Leah and I nestle in for an afternoon tea chat at Vibe’s kitchen island. With a broad smile that speaks of immeasurable fortitude, it’s clear that, no matter what, she can never have too much fun.

We burst into giggles as she describes trusty mutt, Duke, while ribbing one another about the summer-less Washington season. Bright, lively, and possessed by a merriment that never seems to leave her eyes, Leah is an entrepreneur, rock climber and surfer, and cancer survivor who was inspired to launch a brand new business at the onset of COVID-19.

Leah recognizes that it can be “such a scary thing to do—buy a house, it’s such a big purchase!” Some clients need their hands held, others just want to analyze, and still some families can’t make up their minds. “I can be that person for them, wherever they’re coming from,” she nods, confident in a level of service that brings people home.

How would she describe herself? “Hmm. Well, I’d say I’m a conscious human, driven by values such as responsibility. courage, compassion, humility, integrity, selflessness, and LOVE. I also have a great butt. All self-proclaimed of course!”

Ahh, a trademark gusto that simply makes one’s day.

What’s the top advice you’ve ever received from a mentor?

Leah: Don’t worry about tomorrow, it’ll make you anxious. Don’t focus on the past, it’ll make you depressed. Live in the moment…live in the today!  So simple, but THE BEST ADVICE EVER!!! 

How do you differentiate your real estate business from others in the area?

Leah: I go above and beyond to find my buyers the home of their dreams, even if that means sending letters to homeowners in neighborhoods. For sellers, every property I sell receives premier placement on Zillow, Trulia, and I also do online retargeting and mobile ads, as well as professional and drone photography to make sure I sell a property for the highest price possible in the shortest amount of time. In addition, I partner with local professional providers who will help to get my client’s home in top-notch shape and photo-ready before it goes on the market.

When do you feel most cool, calm and connected?

Leah: When I’m volunteering. It really is. Giving back just fills my heart bucket, which sometimes gets depleted by life. Whether it’s a whole day or a week, I just feel so rejuvenated. Whole. I’m currently, and have been for quite some time, a volunteer for First Descents. It sponsors week-long outdoorsy programs, like backpacking, kayaking, surfing, and hiking, for cancer survivors, 18 to 40.

I actually am a cancer survivor. I went on one of First Descents’ adventures in 2015 and met 20 other survivors. That really impacted my life. Since then, I’ve volunteered a “camp mom” on several trips. We’ve gone rock climbing in Leavenworth, kayaked the San Juans. It’s wonderful how these experiences take your mind off cancer but also connects you to others and the world.

How long have you been a Space Captain at Vibe Coworks? What’s that like?

Leah: I’m fairly new, but I’ve been a Vibe member for quite some time. I really enjoy it. I love getting to know everyone’s name. Getting to talk with them, and being a part of this fantastic community. There’s energy here; I get stuff done. Vibe means a lot to me, especially being a new real estate agent.

How did you first discover Kitsap Cancer Services?

Leah: They helped me after I was diagnosed in 2012 with leukemia (now I’m a Vice President on their board). I was referred to them by a social worker. Kitsap Cancer Services (KCS) helped me with so much. I was going to school and bartending so when I was diagnosed. I didn’t have health insurance and could not work due to treatment. KCS helped pay my rent.

What happened next that spurred on your passion for volunteering?

Leah: I was re-diagnosed eight months later. Kitsap Cancer Services helped me again, because at that time, I had to move to Seattle for at least four months for a stem cell transplant. I was able to live in the Seattle Cancer Care housing unit over there. People from all over the world come to that treatment center. My stem cell donor match was in Germany. I just knew then that, when I was better, I would be giving back.

Two years ago, I was just getting back on my feet. But I hadn’t been able to work for about four-and-a-half years after my transplant because of the immunosuppression drugs. Then KCS invited me to join their board.

How has all that changed your perspective on life?

Leah: Transformative. It brought a lot of positives. (But I was already pretty amazing before this! Even more awesome now!) My perspective on life has shifted. I have a more enhanced outlook, and I’m far less judgmental. Being diagnosed with cancer was a real eye opener as to what’s genuinely important—human interaction, connecting, volunteering.

At the time, I was going to college for my business degree. It wasn’t making me happy because I wanted to work independently, not in a corporation. I felt so super stressed that I didn’t even know I had leukemia. Throughout the course of my treatment, I knew that life wouldn’t matter if I wasn’t giving back to my community.

Just imagine if we all volunteered. Mother Earth would truly be a better place.

What impact do you feel Vibe Coworks is having on our [Greater Kitsap] community?

Leah: Oh, geez. A major impact. Recently I’ve seen the amount of people here really grow as things pick up here again. With all the amenities Vibe offers to folks who are working remotely, and the feeling of being safe with all of the protocols they’ve put in place, Vibe allows people to get out and about, and feel semi-normal. We’re all so comfortable here, even as we practice every COVID-smart precaution we can.

As a Space Captain (front desk Host), I watch people talking together and I can see how reinvigorated they are when they walk away. You can tell that people here relate to each other in truly authentic ways, and the energy is contagious. Incredibly helpful. Vibe adds so much to my life—and the quality of it.

What’s your favorite thing to do with Duke, your rescue pup?

Leah: My favorite is to go walking with him. He loves walks. It’s unbelievable. He’s half lab, half pit-bull. Half blind and half deaf. Chocolate merle. Really scared of people and dog reactive. That’s one side of him. He’s very goofy. He’s got the pit bull scream—like a woman screaming bloody murder if he sees any other animal. It’s the cutest thing ever. I think it’s adorable. Not everyone does. White and a freckled-face. Freckles all over his face.

What’s the most fun thing about surfing?

Leah: Living in the moment.

Where do you like to hit the waves in the PNW?

Leah: Crescent Beach near Salt Creek is my favorite. It’s not very far from Port Angeles. What makes it’s so special? Well, the beach itself is shaped like a crescent. It’s super sandy, no rocks at all. And you can camp in the locally-owned campground about 200 feet from the beach—direct access, yay! They also have internet, so I can work. I just book an RV site to plug in. I tend to car camp. The waves tend not to be huge, but I’m not a super rip-curl girl. I’m not there to Hawaii Five-O it.

Dinner or breakfast?

Leah: Breakfast for dinner. I do potatoes with scrambled eggs and oatmeal.

Share a little bit about the most satisfying experience you’ve had professionally.

Leah: My first closing with buyers. They were in their twenties, two kids, husband in the military, wife working for a doctor’s office. The family was moving over to Gig Harbor from across the bridge, and I was in a position to help them so much. They had so fallen in love with this particular home. Basically, the big moment was when I was able to call them and say, “It’s yours, your dream home, the keys are yours.” It was quite a coup because it was a “multi-offer situation” in this market. That was the best feeling, helping them to close the deal. It was amazing.

Who do you consider here at Vibe to be a “woman to watch?”

Leah: Hands down, Alanna Imbach. She’s a trailblazer. I feel proud to be a member here because of her—and because of a lot of other members. The more I talk to everyone, it’s just blowing my mind what they do. Very inspiring.

What’s your funniest Vibe moment to date?

Leah: The dishwasher. I was “initiated into Vibe”, as they call it. It’s so sneaky, so quiet, that when the dishwasher is running, you can’t hear it. So if you happen to accidentally open it during a cycle, WHOOSH. You’re totally sprayed. I got soaked in front of a bunch of people!

Meet the author: Vibist Susan O’Meara is a Poulsbo-based freelance writer, editor and journalist with global experience. Back in the day, Susan did event marketing for the electrified Don King, boxing’s bad-boy biz whiz. Then she got roped into writing and producing TV spots for Love Boat: The Next Wave, the ‘90s reboot, and nonfiction programming for Showtime (e.g., Roswell: The Real Story). She’s not sure which was more surreal—going with the flow of those Hollywood highs, so to speak, or navigating Nairobi’s magazine scene. Susan has worked in the US and abroad for the likes of Bloomberg Media, Deloitte, Discovery Communications, and the United Nations. She’s obsessed with wrangling language and messaging that helps brands, businesses, and individuals to grow and shine. Except when it comes to Don King’s hair.