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gretchen_pearsonAs president and broker/owner of San Ramon, Calif.-based Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Drysdale Properties, Gretchen Pearson has proven­ there’s no ceiling in real estate for women—and she wishes more women would follow her lead.

“I’m not sure why there aren’t more women owners,” she says. “The flexibility allows parents—both moms and dads—to be fabulously involved in the community and family, plus become a top REALTOR®.”

A mother of three and a wife for 21 years, Pearson is a great believer in honoring long-term relationships, which is why she has been in real estate her entire professional life.

“You can describe me as very myopic. Ever since I graduated college, I’ve only worked in real estate, and I’ve been in it for 38 years,” she says. “I love the fact that it is open in all concepts. Anyone can use their skillsets to succeed.”

Pearson started her career as a sales associate and relied on her marketing skills to open up her firm 11 years ago, and in that short time, it has become the 95th largest brokerage in the nation by sales volume, according to RISMedia’s 2016 Power Broker Report.

“Northern California is a very large footprint, and strategically, that works for us,” Pearson says. “When we started in late 2005, we were aggressive, and as a marketer, I knew that to sustain, we needed to move quickly. Our growth strategy was to find companies, agents and people who aligned in value and come together on business terms, and we did.”

Today, the firm deals in properties from the San Francisco Metro East Bay into the Central Valley, working through Fresno, Sacramento and other Northern California cities. And it continues to grow: Over the next year, Pearson will be adding new offices in Sacramento and aggressively targeting individual agents in the areas the firm is already serving.

“We’re a company that cares, and we are proud to be REALTORS®, ” Pearson says. “Our agents are focused on taking the real estate industry to a higher standard and making the home-buying and -selling process a rewarding one. They are committed to maintaining an open line of proactive communication, providing information on market data and trends, and creating that all-important trust between client and agent to lead to long-term relationships.”

For new licensees, the firm conducts a personality skill-assessment test, offering the results whether the individual chooses to come on board or not.

“They see the areas they could work on—closings, opening, personality, and learn what the job is,” Pearson says. “We use that as an attractant for people to engage with us.”

For experienced agents, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Drysdale Properties brings them value with help in business and providing balance. The firm offers an in-house program called Success Selling, which covers accountability, working one’s sphere, and other advice agents would get from a coach. And every Tuesday, the firm has Tech Tuesday, with different webinars available for its agents.

Although Pearson loves the industry, she admits she is a little nervous about where it’s all heading.

“It’s changing. The big are getting bigger and that may be the way of it, but it’s a change that is concerning,” she says. “The bucket brokers—hack shacks—have given up on the value the broker brings, in my opinion. It’s all electronic, but you need more. I have to be within hugging distance and to be within ‘foot in their rear’ distance. It’s that sort of relationship that makes you a success.”

Vitals: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Drysdale Properties
Years in business: 11
Size: 32 offices, 979 agents
2015 sales volume: $54 million
2015 transactions: Approximately 5,000
Region served: Northern California—San Francisco Metro East Bay into Central Valley

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