La Jolla real estate broker earns prestigious award


By Gina McGalliard

At a recent meeting, La Jolla Realtor Bonnie Adams was listening to a description of this year’s recepient of the La Jolla Real Estate Broker’s Association (REBA) McNaught-Davis Award when the winner was described as having been on the dean’s list at a party school.

She thought to herself that who she thought was going to be getting the award must not be the winner. Then the speaker began naming off organizations that Adams belonged to, and she began to think that the winner might actually be her.

“It was a complete surprise,” she said of having being chosen. “I went to a weekly meeting and they announced that the award was going to be given that day and never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be getting it.”

The McNaught-Davis/Knox Award has been given annually since 1962 and is named after both Eric McNaught and Judge Ralph Knox, two La Jolla real estate agents. It is given by the La Jolla REBA to the member who most embodies personal integrity, community activity, service to the real estate profession, salesmanship, and cooperation with associates, which is defined by the association as “work(ing) with you at a high professional level, cooperating in every aspect to accomplish a satisfactory transaction for the principal and buyer.” Nominees are selected by their peers, and then past recipients decide who the year’s winner will be. Adams is the 46th person to receive the award.

“I am incredibly humbled and honored by it,” said Adams of receiving the award. “To be respected by my peers is a great honor. It’s everything that I would want to be.”

Adams has been in the real estate industry since 1979, “when interest rates were at 18 percent,” she said. At the time she was going through a divorce and had two children who were still in school. She had a degree in elementary education, but after teaching a short time, knew that it was not what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. After a short stint as a purser for Pan Am Airlines, which she found “a lot more fun,” she then decided she wanted to become one of three things: an interior designer, a travel agent or a real estate broker. So she took someone who worked in each industry out to lunch, and then decided that being a real estate broker would be best because that way she could afford to travel and hire her own interior designer. She then went on to earn her broker’s license, as opposed to a sales license.

She currently practices real estate all over San Diego County, although the majority of her transactions are in La Jolla because that is where she lives. She is also a certified international property specialist, a designation given by the National Realtor’s Association, and she has been to the Graduate Real Estate Institute.

“The more education I can have the more my clients will benefit,” she said.

Even though the real estate market may be slowing down nationwide, she believes La Jolla’s affluence will largely cushion it from flucuations in the market. “Our market in La Jolla is a healthy one,” she said. “I believe we have a stable market.”

Despite changes in the economy, however, she is confident that there will always be business. “There are always people who need to buy and people who need to sell,” she said. “No matter where you work there is always a challenge.”

Of what makes a successful Realtor, Adams said, “I think it takes someone with enormous enthusiasm, someone who won’t give up and someone who cares more about the person they are helping than the money they are earning. It takes a lot of energy and patience.”

Despite having been in the business for almost 30 years now, Adams said, she still remains enthusiastic about her work, in large part because she gets to be a problem solver and because of the day-to-day variety the profession offers.

“I think it’s the challenges. Every transaction and every person is new and different,” she said.

To learn more about Bonnie Adams, visit