As Chief Executive Officer of Douglas Elliman Long Island, Ann Conroy has received accolades galore. And she has the track record to back them up.
In 2018 she was recognized as Realtor of the Year by Long Island Press. In 2019 she was selected as one of Long Island’s 100 Most influential People, and later won the Lifetime Achievement award for Top Real Estate Executives.
Elliman Insider caught up with Ann to find out how she got her start in real estate, the most rewarding parts of her job and why she is more excited now than ever to lead Douglas Elliman on Long Island.
Elliman Insider: Tell us about your start in real estate, and when did you get involved with Douglas Elliman?
ANN CONROY: I started as an agent with Merrill Lynch Realty, back in 1981 in Sayville. Merrill became Prudential Douglas Elliman, and then [Douglas Elliman CEO] Dottie Herman and [Douglas Elliman Executive Chairman] Howard M. Lorber purchased the company. A few years later we dropped ‘Prudential’ from the name and the rest is history.
EI: What’s the best part of your job?
AC: There are a lot of best parts. And, quite frankly I can’t pick one over the other. First and foremost, I always love interacting with the agents, and COVID has really cramped our Long Island style, since all the networking meetings and events have been placed on hold. But I truly admire our agents’ tenacity, and how they handled themselves this year, helping so many people find that ever-important home. It was quite inspiring, and I am so happy for their success and perseverance. I also get to work with really smart people every day, starting with my senior management team, who’ve worked around the clock during the pandemic to make sure that our agents and their clients were well taken care of. They are so talented, and I consider myself very lucky to have the best leadership team in the industry.
“There is a new excitement to my job that I never thought I would experience in real estate.”
Additionally, there is a new excitement to my job that I never thought I would experience in real estate, and that is working with our parent company, Vector Group. I call them the brainiacs of our industry. They care so much, they listen to what we need and also what we want, they are polite and they deliver. They show such respect for the agents and the managers. It is such a remarkable add-on to our company, and the best part is that they are ours and we don’t have to share them with anybody else. We are definitely a better company because of their focus and commitment to innovate and deliver a great experience, not only for the agents but for the managers as well.
EI: How have you seen the Long Island market evolve over the 40 years you’ve been in real estate?
AC: The evolution since 1981 is like night and day. It has evolved from a very “local” business with “print advertising and grabber ads” into a sophisticated entrepreneurial business model with business plans, marketing strategies and global campaigns where the sky is the limit, and flexible hours means you’re on 24/7. The business is just NOT local anymore.
EI: What attracted you to real estate initially?
AC: There are so many reasons, where can I begin? But the most important aspect about real estate was the independence and the entrepreneurial component, and the ability to make an income that allows you to live the life you want to live. Are you surprised I didn’t say because I love people and houses?
EI: What sets Elliman apart from the competition?
AC: I could write a book! I love everything about this company. We stand out for so many reasons:
- Our thought leadership. Elliman’s parent company Vector Group is second to none in this area, and I mean none, and the trickle down effect this has in every phase of our company is significant.
- Public Relations. We have an in-house public relations division that promotes our inventory and our agents in all the right places. Who else has that? The exposure is remarkable.
- Reach. Our global partners at Knight Frank in London provide us an international network, a deep analysis of what is trending globally and are always ready to take a call.
- Innovation. Our new venture capital arm, New Valley Ventures, and its innovation lab demonstrate the commitment from the top to give our agents a technical edge.
- A world-class relocation division.
- Training. I have never seen the level of training and coaching available to all of us, and it is accessible 24/7. Nobody has any excuse to not be the best that they can be because it is all right here at our fingertips.
- Branding. Elliman’s brand campaigns are always memorable.
EI: What is the best advice you received?
AC: “If it’s going to be, it is up to me.” Which means that, individually, we are in charge of our destiny and must ourselves take the steps required to achieve our goals.
EI: Who have been the most influential people in your life?
AC: Too many to list, but I would have to say my mom and dad, who had an incredible work ethic, and were good, honest people who loved to laugh and worked together to give their three daughters a better life than they had.
EI: What is something people might not know about you?
AC: I’m actually quite shy.