Today, she is affiliated with Coldwell Banker in Katonah as an Associate Broker and is an Independent Certified Coach.

Donna Bruno

A Realtor Pro with a Twist of Animal Magnetism

Donna Bruno admits that real estate was the furthest thing from her mind when she graduated from Iona College (now Iona University) in New Rochelle with a pre-med degree. Her love for animals was coaxing her toward a career as a veterinarian, but instead, she ended up accepting a job at Rockefeller University Labs where she was involved in protein research.

Putting her degree to good use, she remained in that field as a research associate until having her children. “That changes your life a lot and so I decided on a career that would be a bit more flexible,” she recalled. “Of course, we all know now that it’s not optimal to be a part-time real estate agent. Luckily, I fell in love with it very quickly.”

Bruno started with a small company before being recruited to another. She enjoyed a long stint with Century 21, becoming a Broker/Owner of two offices—Century 21 North Star Realty in Peekskill and Mahopac. She later accepted a position as a Regional Instructor for Coldwell Banker Realty, servicing agents in Westchester and Connecticut, which she held for 10 years. Today, she is affiliated with Coldwell Banker in Katonah as an Associate Broker and is an Independent Certified Coach.

With almost 40 years of experience, Bruno finds it rewarding to pay it forward. “I've come up through the ranks to be a top producer, manager, owner/broker, regional sales instructor, and now a consultant,” she noted. In addition, she currently serves as the Vice Chair of the HGAR Faculty Committee, an HGAR Instructor, and the 2024 Communications Leader for NY CRS. She also holds a CRB, ABR, PSA, AHWD and C2EX and has been approved to teach the ABR designation classes through NAR.

“I think this was such a good choice for me because I always like to work with people and it really makes me happy,” she shared. Bruno also offers coaching services through her own firm, Donna Bruno Coaching and Consulting. Her clientele includes agents in Westchester, Putnam and Fairfield counties. “I love watching the impact I’m making on agents. It’s very rewarding.”

One of her personal goals is educating the public about the value of a Realtor. “The majority of people still don’t really know what agents do, and I think it’s so important that they understand everything agents offer,” she added. In fact, she teaches agents to “spell out” exactly what they’ll do so people will realize the importance of using a real estate agent.

While she relishes her chosen career, Bruno has still found a way to embrace her one-time aspirations of becoming a veterinarian—at least in some form. Bruno is also the proud owner of “Little Dog Grooming,” a pampering service for small dogs.

It all began with a PetSmart ad seeking dog groomers. Bruno jumped at the opportunity and signed up for their dog grooming course. “One of the requirements was that you had to bathe 150 dogs before being able to work as an official groomer,” she explained. “All I could think was ‘How am I going to do that with a real estate company?’,” she recalled. But somehow, she did it. “I’d get up early and groom dogs for a couple of hours, go home and shower and then go to work in the office.”

Following a year of long “dog days,” she worked under a master groomer, adding another 100 dogs to her repertoire. Bruno was finally satisfied that she put her pre-med degree to work in some capacity and also established herself with a second career. “It was the only way I could try to revisit the fact that I couldn’t go the rest of the way as a veterinarian,” she said.

Many of her PetSmart clients followed her when she opened Little Dog Grooming, which she now operates on weekends. In the scarce free time that she has, Bruno enjoys spending time with her two grown children and six grandchildren. She also likes to unwind with knitting, crocheting and sewing.

“And yes, I do limit the number of dogs I groom now,” she laughed. “No more goals of 150.” Doggone it!

Mary Prenon

HGAR, Director of Communications

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