Frequent Flyer: Dawn Reeves, RealtySouth

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While Dawn Reeves’s real estate career as director of marketing and relocation at RealtySouth stays grounded here in Birmingham, her work often has her up in the air on business travel. Reeves has also served as a long-time officer with the American Advertising Federation, including as governor of District 7 AAF, which often means attending meetings in far-flung cities.

Despite her familiarity with business travel, or maybe because of her love for real estate marketing, for Reeves there really is no place like home.

“From someone who is on two to three dozen flights a year, I must admit I absolutely love the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport,” she says. “You know you fly too often when TSA calls you out by name in line to say good morning before you present your identification. But, I like it. That attitude and approach of the people in our airport are part of what makes returning home so exciting. To return from a weeklong trip from a city where people look at you oddly if you smile or speak in passing for no specific reason to someone offering to help gather your belongings or ask how your day has been is refreshing, a solid reminder there is no place like home, no place like Birmingham. Don’t get me wrong, I love to see the Pacific crashing against the cliffs and listen to lines of cabbies honking their horns relentlessly. It is beautiful to watch snowdrifts accumulate and watch rabbits leap among cactus, but home is Birmingham, and our airport tells our story now in a way others do not. From the historical photos on the walls, to the vertical botanical display and the merchandise that shares our love of football, BHM gets it right.”

Business travel is not for the faint of heart, but her long experience keeps Reeves grounded in a more philosophical way. “For me, surviving travel comes down to the ability to be flexible, the ability to realize when things go wrong, it is happening to everyone at that gate or on that flight,” she says. “Recently, I had a less-than-stellar experience with an airline who, due to mechanical issues, left me in an airport for 19 hours, (with) no vouchers, no help, no anything. But what the experience afforded me was priceless. I was able to help several other women in the same situation, one traveling with two small children, one who didn’t speak English, and another who was without her medication. It was a phenomenal reminder that everyone needs someone, and everyone has something to share with another. The world would be a better place if we could all learn to live the way we spent that one night in the airport placing the needs of others above our own, displaying a genuine respect for our differences and finding a way to bridge those gaps in a way that was beneficial to everyone.”