Lee Ann Canaday awarded Orange County Business Journal’s 8th annual Women in Business Award.
The luncheon was held at the Hyatt Regency Irvine. Additional recipients included Nancy Nygren with Girl Scouts of Orange County, Laila Pence with Pence Wealth Management, Ellen Bancroft with Dorsey & Whitney, Kay Napier with Arbonne International LLC, and Dr. Judy Rosener received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Lee Ann Canaday is the owner/broker of RE/MAX Fine Homes, an active agent leading her team the Canaday Group, and supports numerous philanthropies. Even with a full schedule, she tries to play tennis once a week. “I wear a lot of hats, and if I don’t work seven days a week, I can’t get everything done,” Canaday said. “To me, if you don’t work hard it’s not really moral.”
Canaday was an algebra teacher and was looking for a way to earn extra money. “I couldn’t make enough money teaching, so I got into real estate to supplement that void,” Canaday said. She started selling homes on the side in 1979. Then she started buying homes as rental properties. Canaday originally planned on buying an apartment building, but she purchased houses instead. She made four times her teaching salary in her first year selling real estate. Canaday purchased a RE/MAX franchise in 2008 creating RE/MAX Fine Homes with offices in Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, and a soon to open Huntington Beach location. Lee Ann is proud to be part of RE/MAX because of its global presence in 90 different countries. International buyers account for about $82 billion in U.S. home sales. “I want a piece of the foreign buyers,” Canaday said. “RE/MAX is the perfect vehicle
for that.” She also focuses on the short-sales segment through an office she maintains in Costa Mesa. Canaday has an extensive marketing program, with presence online and offline. She also sells homes directly through her half-hour weekly TV show that airs every Saturday at 9am on KDOC-TV.
One of the things she’s learned in her 30-plus years in real estate is to try to be prepared for the unexpected. “The thing you learn is never to be surprised, and always to be prepared,” she said. Canaday supports several charities and sits on numerous boards. She was one of 12 women honored by Girl Scouts of Orange County last year and appeared as one of the dozen women in the Girl Scouts’ keepsake calendar, which is unveiled at the Celebrate Leadership fundraiser each year. She was also a presenting sponsor for the first annual ball of Susan G. Komen for the Cure Orange County, based in Costa Mesa. She also supports United Way of Orange County’s Women’s Philanthropy Fund, whose members give more than $10,000 annually. Lee Ann is an advocate for Chapman University and is part of the Board of Counselors for the Geroge L. Argyros School of Business and Economics. Canaday’s daughter, Christa Lee Canaday, graduated from Chapman and now works out of the Newport Beach office. Canaday said she’s involved with charities because she wants to help. “I feel so thankful for what I’ve been given that I want to give back,” she said.