This article first appeared in Real Estate magazine’s special-edition Women in Real Estate issue. View the entire issue here.
Vitals: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Fox & Roach REALTORS®
Years in business: 135
Size: 75 offices, 5,500 agents
Regions served: Southeastern Pa.; the Lehigh Valley; Northern Delaware; South Jersey; Central Jersey
As President of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS®, Joan Docktor represents the largest single-market brokerage in the U.S. servicing Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
Entering the profession after spending time as a teacher, Docktor followed in her sister’s footsteps because the real estate industry seemed exciting to her. She did well, earning Rookie of the Year her first year, and continued to grow in the firm.
Under her leadership today, the firm has won the Elite Circle Award from 2015 through 2019, ranking No. 1 throughout the entire Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network.
What has been the key to your success through the years?
Joan Docktor: I made myself indispensable to the company, and that helped by simply being the go-to person. I also believe very much in servant leadership, and that has been a key for me through the years. People are attracted to that, and they know I want to help them.
How would you characterize your market in 2020, and how has your firm adjusted to the pandemic?
JD: In Pennsylvania, we were in a total shutdown from March through June. In New Jersey and Delaware, things were a little looser. We made sure everyone was safe, then we began to figure out how we could keep our agents engaged. We did virtual open houses almost immediately, and we moved all of our classes online, which we’re going to continue doing going forward. We also encouraged our managers to stay in touch with agents. When the market opened up in June, things took off, and we’ve been busier than ever. Plus, our average sales price has grown due to lack of inventory.
What do you feel makes your firm special?
JD: We have very deep roots in the marketplace. Back in the ’80s, we started one-stop shopping. We had our own mortgage company, our own title company and our own insurance company before anyone else did. When I joined the company, we were 350 agents. Today, we’re 5,500 agents, but we’ve always been a family company. We provide our agents with all of the tools and services they need.
How do you support women at your firm?
JD: I do everything I can to be a good role model for everyone in our company—especially the women. I host leadership classes, which anyone can join, but the majority are women. I truly believe that leaders have the responsibility to help others, and so I put myself out there to do that for women in our company.
What efforts have you made to get more women involved in leadership across the industry?
JD: I’ve taken on many national leadership roles, which gives me the ability to help people across our industry. I have also spoken at local Women’s Council of REALTORS® events and other local events. Wherever I can have exposure, whether it’s in writing or in person, I have made an effort to be very active.
What do you enjoy most about this industry?
JD: From the moment I got into this business, it became my passion. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go into management because I bonded with my customers and enjoyed it so much, but I knew that if I did, I would affect more people. It wasn’t just my customers, but all of my agents’ customers fulfilling their dreams.
Keith Loria is a contributing editor to RISMedia.