Mary-Ellyn Vicino was looking for a part-time job that wouldn’t be too demanding. Her husband, Nick, suggested real estate.
Thirty-three years later, she’s a regional vice president for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, overseeing 17 offices and 550 independent agents serving Hartford, Middlesex, and New London Counties.
“My husband talked me into it,” she recalled. “It was going to be part time and not a lot of pressure. I wanted to take the kids to DisneyWorld – that was my short-term goal.”
Vicino quickly discovered, however, that she not only had a flare for real estate sales, but a passion for the job.
“I had never done sales, but I found I loved commission sales, and I loved being paid for the effort I put in,” she said.
The residential real estate industry has changed dramatically since Vicino started, with technology transforming marketing, sales and operations.
“But the 80/20 rule is still in place – 20 percent of the agents do 80 percent of the business,” she commented. “My job is to try and get the other 80 percent involved. It’s not an easy job, for sure.”
She’s on the road every day, visiting offices and agents in her region, which extends from Simsbury to Mystic.
Although her job is managerial, she also keeps her hands in sales, with an occasional transaction.
In recent years, Coldwell Banker has consolidated offices, mainly in eastern Connecticut where the residential real estate company had a large number of small offices.
“It’s not about bricks and mortar anymore,” Vicino explained. “The agents work out of their homes; they’ve got well-equipped offices.”
Large branch offices are no longer necessary, she said.
The Vicinos did take their two children to DisneyWorld – several times. Vicino, who now has five grandchildren, said she intends to keep working: “I love my managers and find my president great to work with, and it affords me enough flexibility that I enjoy it.”