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2011 Most Influential Women Honoree: Isabelle Jimenez Walker

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Since 2005, Isabelle Jimenez Walker has been on a mission to fight foreclosures in the Springfield area. Little did she know it would end up getting her national attention.

As a Realtor since 1996 and owner/broker of Eagle Management & Realty 1 since 2005, Walker responded to the housing bust by aggressively defending homeowners.

“I realized in 2005 that the real estate market was going to go through changes that would affect the way we do business,” she says. “I started to get as much specialized training in home retention and short sales … to understand the changes that were coming.”

With the numbers of foreclosures rising and the ranks of Realtors falling, Walker’s knowledge became a hot commodity.

“I was being asked to sit on expert panels on state, regional and national levels to share my knowledge on how I was successful in helping homeowners stop foreclosures,” she says of her renegotiating work between homeowners and lenders. “I have been able to stop them as close as 15 minutes of selling on the courthouse steps.”

Next, she turned to educating nonprofit organizations that provide mortgage payment assistance. Walker would help homeowners modify their loans before turning to aid from such groups as Ozarks Area Community Action Corp., Consumer Credit Counseling Service and Women In Need.

Last year, those dollars stopped getting funneled to nonprofits, so Walker turned back to working directly with homeowners as well as Realtor peers and title company representatives.

Walker was recognized as the Greater Springfield Board of Realtors 2009 Broker of the Year, and she served the Missouri Association of Realtors as 2010–11 state director.

She’s also been an advocate for the elderly and homeless, participating in the biannual Homeless Count Task Force and as a committee chairwoman for Hope Connection, a daylong event to help the homeless obtain Social Security cards, mental and health services, food and job assistance.

In October 2010, a National Public Radio reporter in Washington, D.C., got word that Walker was knocking on doors of homes weeks away from foreclosure. She and a homeowner who avoided foreclosure two days before the house was auctioned were interviewed for a “Morning Edition” story.

“After it aired, I was overwhelmed with phone calls from people all across the country begging me to help them,” Walker says, adding that she also did an interview on Skype for “ABC World News” with Diane Sawyer.

Click here for full coverage of the 2011 Most Influential Women.
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