Baird & Warner
Mary O’Connor, a former schoolteacher, knows that student achievement is intrinsically linked to an educator’s ability to make even the most complex concepts easy to understand. After all, her purchase of her first condominium more than 20 years ago left her feeling overwhelmed, confused and irritated because her agent never explained the home buying process to her. “I knew I could be really successful in real estate because, just like with students, you make a connection with clients and find the best way to communicate information that you want them to retain, but brokers sometimes forget to take the time to educate clients.” Determined to help others avoid an unpleasant experience similar to her own, O’Connor made the career change that, even today, leverages her two graduate degrees in education as she helps teach people the ins and outs of real estate. Her role with Baird & Warner partners her with a diverse group of buyers and sellers, but she dedicates the same attention to each client regardless of budget, needs and wants. “My clients deserve to have me working for them all of the time,” she says. “I always tell them that I may not be working every hour of the day, but I’m nevertheless working every day.”
A primary driver behind O’Connor’s success is the long line of accomplished Realtors in her family. “We talk all of the time about what’s going on in real estate and we even attend national and international real estate conferences together so that we can be at the top of our business,” she explains. An example of that “top” status is the key role O’Connor played in selling 55 E. Erie Street, a luxury residential skyscraper, with colleague Kim Hamburg. The duo brought it to market in December of 2000, offering sales appointments for a refundable $1,000 deposit. They converted the overwhelming majority of those deposits into hard sales and placed 90 percent of the building under contract before the developers had even broken ground in the Spring.
“I feel most inspired about my career when clients refer their friends and family to me,” O’Connor says. “I absolutely love what I do,” she offers, adding that just like the values she strived to instill in the students she once taught, “I’m not afraid of hard work and what it means to always be learning.”