There is a lot to Lee & Associates Charleston that helps keep the company going—our hardworking, organized Broker Services Coordinators, our creative Marketing team, our hardworking Brokerage team, and the incredibly patient Property Management team. Supporting everyone is Lizzie Cook, Operations Manager and unofficial backbone of Lee Charleston. Lizzie had an unexpected journey to real estate—but her multi-faceted background and level head makes her perfect for the role.
Lizzie was born in Greenville, South Carolina, and grew up in the small town of Fountain Inn with her two older sisters and three stepsisters. She rode horses competitively until softball, and eventually cheerleading in high school, became more of a priority. As a teenager, she was already excelling in various areas of her life—she made varsity cheer her freshman year and served on the student council throughout all four years of high school, culminating in her election of student body president her senior year. Lizzie met other South Carolina natives—like Cameron Yost—who, surprisingly, would end up popping up later in her career at Lee—at this time.
After high school, Lizzie studied Visual Communications at the University of South Carolina, which is a degree offered through the school of journalism that focuses on visual mediums and how to use them effectively in industries such as advertising, PR, media, and more. She continued her streak of participating and leading her peers by working for The Daily Gamecock, first as a page designer and later on as the Design Director for the university’s publication. This spurred an interest in working in publishing, but she quickly realized after graduating a semester early that the newspaper industry maybe wasn’t as thriving as she wanted for a career. She knew one thing: it was time for a new beginning somewhere and that place was Charleston.
Shortly after her move to Charleston, Lizzie’s brother-in-law introduced her to his friend, Will, who happened to have an open room in his house available for rent, conveniently located near Lizzie’s restaurant job at the time. This job was soon to change, however. Will, now her roommate, told her about Anchor Commercial, his brother-in-law, Milton Thomas’, company. They were looking for a Marketing/Broker Assistant. This person would serve as Milton’s right hand, so he could continue making deals as the company’s portfolio grew. Lizzie didn’t know much about the real estate industry, but easy-going and flexible with change, she accepted the position.
At this time, Anchor Commercial was small. Lizzie remembers about eight agents, two property managers, one property management assistant, one bookkeeper, and one operations manager. She spent two years learning the ins and outs of the industry, until she did a complete 180 in her career—and life!—and moved to Dallas, Texas, for a Pharmaceutical Sales job.
This job took Lizzie from her role in Charleston working with a tight-knit team to a very large corporate firm and a new position covering an expansive territory. She was travelling Monday through Thursday, and although she made great friends in Texas, she was hardly around to get to know her new city and began to realize she needed to live closer to her family. She optimistically moved back to Charleston with no job, but a room at a friend’s place and a future full of opportunity.
Lizzie put more of her organizational and level-headedness to test at her next role as a Client Services Representative for Hamby Catering & Events, a staple in the Charleston events scene for decades and a high-pressure role that had her coordinating with brides, clients, planners, and more on a daily basis. While she was working at Hamby, Bob, Milton, and Reid learned that Lizzie moved back to Charleston. They took her to lunch and asked her to come back to what was now Lee & Associates Charleston, previously Anchor Commercial. The company was very rapidly growing, and they needed someone to facilitate this growth, manage daily business activity, and handle HR tasks. Most importantly, they wanted Lizzie in this role.
Soon after she joined the team, Lizzie facilitated the move from the old Daniel Island office to the current office, downtown on Morrison Drive. This was a key role for Lizzie to play, as she could ensure everything ran smoothly while the brokers could continue to focus on their agent work. While Lizzie’s job has evolved over the last five years, this very much remains at the core of her role: she works hard running Lee Charleston so that the brokers, coordinators, and marketing team can stay on task and focused on their roles in the business. She is very much involved in all Human Relations duties as the company’s growth sets new expectations, and touches on everything from budgets to software to commission management to venture capital. Since the arrival of Dave Howard as President, Lizzie has spent a great deal of time with him, improving Lee Charleston’s organizational effectiveness and making alterations to the operations with an outside, fresh perspective.
Another major event occurred quickly after Lizzie moved back to Charleston from Dallas, outside of her career. One night at Home Team Barbeque after a kickball game with friends, she was introduced to Bryson Cook, and two days later was hanging out with him on his boat. They became engaged in 2014, and married in 2015. She also returned to school in 2014 to get her master’s degree in business, and spent her nights after work attending classes at The Citadel with other like-minded professionals until her graduation two and a half years later.
Lizzie and Bryson live in West Ashley (where Lizzie says the best part of their home is spending evenings looking out at the marsh from the porch). The couple (as well as the entire Lee Charleston office) welcomed baby Emma in October 2018. When Lizzie gets away from her job, she likes to spend time outdoors and traveling to visit family. She is also a member of the Junior League of Charleston, where she is on the Cobblestones Magazine Committee and feels inspired by the volunteerism and culture of women supporting other women there. Her father’s history as a businessman and acting CFO of his company in Greenville is a point of guidance for her when she feels overwhelmed, and her mother’s drive—she went back to school just a few years ago to become a doctor of nursing practice—is a great source of motivation. The last little factor that gets Lizzie through her toughest days? The great community she has at Awaken Church, and her favorite Bible verse, which she likes to sum up like this: “work as though you are working for the Lord and not for men.”