Women in Business: Kathy Braddock, William Raveis New York City

Kathy Braddock is an entrepreneur in every sense of the word. She delights in the opportunity to bring innovative real estate businesses to life -- particularly ones that fill unanswered needs -- and to helping them achieve market dominance.

As a managing director at William Raveis New York City, the 100th office of William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage & Insurance, the largest family-owned real estate company in the Northeast, she's poised to continue that mission. Along with fellow real estate expert Paul Purcell, also a managing director at the firm, she is introducing New York City to the 40-year-old residential firm's fresh approach to real estate. A 30-year industry veteran with a passion for working closely with brokers, Braddock uses her business acumen to take agents businesses to the next level.

Braddock is no stranger to success. During her venerable career in real estate, she helped form and build some of New York's most distinguished real estate firms. She and Purcell co-founded Rutenberg Realty, which they grew from the ground up, with zero agents, into the sixth-largest residential brokerage in New York City.

Formerly executive managing director, general sales manager for Douglas Elliman (DE), which was New York City's and tri-state New York's largest residential real estate brokerage, she was responsible for the oversight and supervision of the entire residential brokerage division throughout New York City, as well as suburban offices in Connecticut, New Jersey and Long Island. She also oversaw the firm's relocation and corporate services.

Prior to joining DE in 2000, Braddock was a principal at the Intrepid New Yorker, which she founded in 1982. Braddock turned Intrepid New Yorker into New York City's premier destination services company, handling relocation and resettling-in services for individuals and Fortune 100 and 500 corporations. Her extensive understanding of the greater New York region culminated in her co-authoring two books about living in New York and navigating daily life in the area.

She, along with Purcell, founded braddock + purcell in 2002, a Manhattan-based consultancy that operates as a "personal shopper for the consumer," guiding them through the real estate process and matching them with the right agent.

Her wealth of industry knowledge has made Braddock a sought-after source by the media. She is regularly quoted in newspapers, including The New York Times and the New York Post, featured in trade publications such as The Real Deal and Real Estate Weekly, and seen on-air as a guest commentator on NY1 News and Fox News.

How has your previous employment experience aided your tenure at William Raveis?
I have always worked for myself and built my own businesses, except for two years when I worked for Douglas Elliman. Since I have had deep experience being entrepreneurial and building a business from the ground up, Bill Raveis had the confidence that I would be able to help build the New York office; (William Raveis New York City) as well.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at William Raveis?
The highlights have been seeing the fruits of our labor. We have hired 17 top-tier agents in the first six months of operation. Coming together as a group and seeing the business take shape has been gratifying.

The challenges inherent in building a business are figuring out how to get from A to B and put the puzzle pieces together. But I don't like the word challenge and prefer to call it a mission. When you relish the tasks and the challenge of growing a business you realize that hard work and being challenged is not a bad thing.

What advice can you offer to women who work in a family owned business?
Well part of the beauty of joining a family owned business is that in this case you actually do get to choose your family. But in seriousness, you know what you are getting when you join a family business. You have to decide if that family you will be working with feels right to you. Because you are never going to change the structure of that family or the way they run their business. Also - women tend to be intuitive and the hub of their own families - so they will often fit in well to a company that is run by family members; especially if the family environment runs through the DNA of the company and all employees and team members are treated as members of the family, as is the case with William Raveis.

What is the most important lesson you've learned in your career to date?
My most important lesson is that while nothing stays the same, every change brings a new opportunity and you have to embrace the change.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
As an entrepreneur, work is just part of life and is incorporated 24/7. You're always there for your child for example, and you are also always there for your business. We are always available for our agents when they need us. You just have to prioritize, but living life is a balancing act. Sometimes your kids need you more, sometimes it's your partner, or a friend, other times it's the business. It's all significant, but I don't consider one aspect of my life more important than another.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
I look at is as a personal challenge. Women need to make sure they are as competent and successful as any guy in the workplace, if not more so. In a way, I feel women actually have more of the tools than men, as women are more intuitive and more able to multi-task. We're chameleons and we should use that to our benefit.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
Yes, definitely! I'm a curious person and I like to hear people's stories. I think if we listen well, we can learn something from everyone. It means staying interested, and if you do you will usually walk away having taken something from somebody. I like people, so I have a million mentors.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
My mother! She stayed strong and independent her whole life, and she knew her mind and spoke her mind.

What do you want William Raveis to accomplish in the next year?
I want William Raveis NYC to be a standout boutique brokerage in the city. I truly do want us to bring honor and professionalism back to the real estate business.