Two ambitions drew Barbara Wolcott to the real estate industry more than 35 years ago: to be the master of her own fate and to create a company of distinction. Today, as chairman and CEO of Prudential Towne Realty in southeastern Virginia, Wolcott reaffirms those goals each morning, and her company is recognized throughout the state for its passion, professionalism and dedication.
“The secret to my success is simple,” says Wolcott, who has also served as president of the local and state real estate associations and on the boards of numerous business and charitable organizations. “Surround yourself with the best people and then get out of their way.” But as those who know her best are aware, there is a lot more than that to her working strategy. In this exclusive interview, Wolcott shares what makes her company strong—and how she plans to meet and exceed the expectations of her agents and their clients.
Barbara Pronin: Let’s begin with a brief synopsis of your career path.
Barbara Wolcott: I grew up in New York, but I finished high school and started college in Virginia, where my first job was in banking. I found I enjoyed it, especially the mortgage loan end of it, but that was many years ago, and it didn’t take long to realize I was up against an unbreakable glass ceiling. The only way a woman could move up in banking in those days was as a bookkeeper or a teller—and I wanted more challenge than that. So when a customer, a real estate broker, urged me to try real estate, I decided to give it a go. I loved it from the outset, because I quickly found I was now the master of my fate—that there was no end to what I could achieve based on my own efforts and perseverance.