Ann Garti Reminisces

Ann Garti Reminisces
Ann Garti, HGAR Chief Operating Officer

This may be the most difficult thing I’ve ever written as goodbyes often are. Although I know I have made the right decision to retire it does not come without ambivalence. It is difficult to imagine that I won’t be waking up each morning and heading to the job I love and have loved doing for the past rewarding 40 years.

At the start of any position, we usually don’t have an awareness that we are embarking on a long-term career that will become our personal identity. Prior to being hired as the executive officer of the then Orange County Board of Realtors, my entire real estate education consisted of being on the selling side of one home and the buying side of two. Not a very auspicious knowledge base for an organization whose members expected you to know license law, the Realtor Code of Ethics and all there was to know at that time about the MLS.

Perhaps those who hired me, a committee headed by John Dwyer, a past OCAR and NYSAR President, saw that spark of excitement in me knowing I would be taking on a challenge as well as my candid acknowledgement that while I knew truly little about real estate, I could learn. Admittedly, at the time, I had no idea how much there was to know and that the learning curve would continue for four decades.

Many Realtors and colleagues along the way were generous in their kindness and in their willingness to share their expertise. Generosity, I have learned, abounds in the Realtor community. I begin to realize just how long I’ve been around when I recognize that my mentor George Kohl, a past NYSAR President, is not a familiar name to many. Nonetheless, his support gave me credibility within the Realtor community, and I am forever grateful. I’ve also had the good fortune to have as a role model, a voice of reason and colleague Gil Mercurio, who began his career with the former Westchester County Board of Realtors (WCBR) when I began mine in Orange County. I probably got to know Richard Haggerty (finally, a familiar name) very soon after Gil hired him, and we established a rapport that has turned into a valued friendship. I will miss our daily professional interactions but have no doubt that the friendship will endure.

Anyone who has achieved any recognition or success in any field realizes that it is not done in a vacuum. To my credit, I have made some excellent staff decisions and they have been my ballast as well as my silent partners without ever seeking or getting the recognition they truly deserve.

While I will miss it all and look forward to new adventures, I realize it is all about the incredible interaction over the years; you have truly helped to make me “all that I could be.”

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