To Log in to Market Watch or Sign up for a New Account Click Here
Gloria Jean Hecking
Gloria Jean has had a career and life that some only dream about having. Not only has she achieved her longing to fly, but she has soared to the height of her current profession as well. She has become one of Atlanta's most successful Realtors, not only gauged by her earnings, but by her good work as a volunteer and in her leadership capacity to give back to the community that has embraced her.
These values were instilled in her during her youth. Her parents owned a dairy farm in Orange County, N.Y. Growing up on a farm wasn't easy. Cows had to be milked and cattle fed. Her first experience in service to others was a member of the 4-H Club, the premier organization for country children. She learned about animals and farming, and eventually showed calves at the Orange County Fair. She rose to positions of leadership and responsibility in the organization; she was a member of the Orange County Cattle Judging Team at the age of 15, representing the county at the New York State Fair in Syracuse. But more importantly, anyone who knows Gloria Jean knows that the meaning of the four H's has been ingrained in her very being: HEAD to clear thinking, HEART to greater loyalty, HANDS to larger service, and HEALTH to better living.
Today, Gloria Jean enjoys a level of professional respect afforded only a few. In the top five percent of Prudential agents nationwide, she is in Prudential's President's Circle and Master's Group. She also has been in the Prudential Atlanta/Georgia Realty Top 50 since 1990. And that's not all. She is a lifetime member of the Atlanta Board of Realtors Million Dollar Club and a 1998 Phoenix Award recipient.
More importantly, Gloria Jean has earned the respect of her colleagues for her service to the community by her repeated choice for leadership positions in the metro Atlanta area. She is a director at the Georgia Association of Realtors, and the 2000 president of the Atlanta Chapter of the Women's Council of Realtors. She was the WCR's Atlanta Chapter Realtor of the Year for 1997.
Life for Gloria "Jean" started with hopes and aspirations. The difference between Gloria "Jean" and others is she makes her goals a reality. "Even if people say to me, 'Gloria Jean, this won't fly,' I tell them, 'I'll make it fly.' I always have," she says confidently. And she does it on her own terms.
She recounts an incident that occurred several years earlier. She participated in a charity road race for a local Dunwoody church. An inexperienced runner, she started the race by trying to keep up with the front of the pack. "I was trying too hard to keep up with someone else's stride," Gloria Jean explains. "That's when I had an insight that I have applied to everything I do: I run my own race; I don't worry about what anyone else is doing."
Despite her apparent self-confidence and her obvious business acumen, Gloria Jean has not forgotten the human touch. "I believe what goes around comes around," she says. That is evidenced by her career choices, all professions that have assisted others. And it is evidenced by how she has chosen to spend her personal time, as a volunteer for a myriad of causes, serving others. She has truly epitomized the adage; Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you. Perhaps that is why over 70 percent of her business today is from referrals. "There is value in developing relationships and letting people get to know you," says Gloria Jean..
Gloria Jean was Miss Orange County in 1965 and represented Orange, Ulster and Sullivan counties in the 1966 Miss New York State Pageant.. To rephrase a popular song of yesteryear, "How could she go back to the farm without seeing Paree?" She couldn't. So in 1967, she fulfilled her longtime fascination with aviation when she began to fly as a Stewardess/Airline Hostess for Eastern Airlines. She was based in New York City and flew out of all three major metropolitan airports. In 1970, when she was transferred to Atlanta, she knew she was home. "I loved it here from the beginning," recalls Gloria Jean. She married an Eastern pilot in 1971. She got her private pilot's license in 1972 (she flew a Piper Cherokee 140 and an Aero Commander 112) and continued to work as a stewardess until 1973, when she became pregnant with her son, Dirck..
She assumed the life of a wife and mother, first in Union City, then College Park, and finally Dunwoody, where she continues to reside. She became active in the Silverliners, a club for former Eastern Airlines stewardesses ("We weren't called flight attendants in those days," comments Gloria Jean), and the Eastern Pilots Wives' Club. Both clubs served the metro Atlanta community with fund-raising activities and assisted at the airport to augment regular employees. "We gave airport tours to schoolchildren and helped during the holidays, when airports are traditionally hectic. We accompanied unescorted children and helped wherever we were needed." Gloria Jean reminisces. Her service and dedication were apparent. She grew to leadership positions in both organizations, culminating in the presidency of both. (She was the youngest president of the Eastern Pilots Wives' Club, an honor usually reserved for a more senior member.) She is no longer active in either organization due to her successful real estate business and her commitments to her auxiliary real estate activities. "It's hard to do both," she explains. "Besides, it's too sad now," she adds with poignancy, referring to the airline. Ironically, it was because of Eastern's continued problems that she became an agent.
Plagued with rumors of difficulties at Eastern, Gloria Jean decided she better do something to assist with the family's finances& just in case. In 1984, she became a real estate agent. "Things were different in those days. I took my pre-license course on the top floor of the Merrill Lynch office. My instructor was Sandy Fosgitt Stephenson and my broker was Toni McGowan." Five years later, Prudential bought out Merrill Lynch. Gloria Jean has remained with the same company in the same office. "A lot of the agents think the grass is greener somewhere else. I think if you really want to succeed, you can make it wherever you are," says Gloria Jean. "And besides," she adds, "I'm a very loyal person."
The business today is very different from when they started. "What I did in those early days wouldn't work today," Gloria Jean explains. She describes how she farmed her Dunwoody neighborhoods. In July, she put American flags on mailboxes; in October, Halloween bags. In December, she took pictures of houses and made holiday cards out of them.
Gloria Jean's farm area is a lot bigger today. On a regular basis, she works in Dunwoody, Roswell, Alpharetta, Duluth, Norcross, and Lawrenceville. But she's gone as far as Peachtree City for quite a few airline employees. And she has quite a relocation business, including one's from family members. "Two of my sisters are realtors in upstate New York, in Goshen and Middletown. I've received a few referrals from them," Gloria Jean says. She has also received referrals from her networks. In addition to WCR, she is also a CRS(Certified Residential Specialist), ABR (Accredited Buyers Representative), a Certified Relocation Specialist, and the prestigious LTG (Leadership Training Graduate). In addition, she is an associate broker. "I wanted to get these designations and take the additional training so I could continue to improve myself and better serve my customers and clients," she explains. "An unexpected benefit was the additional referral business."
The business has changed in another, more significant way. "A few years ago, I attended several different conventions for Prudential and the National Association of Realtors. I noticed exhibits were becoming more high-tech. I was intimidated, but I knew I had to get with it or be left behind," says Gloria Jean. And so she did. Today, her business is fully entrenched in technology, from her website (www.gloriajeanhecking.com) to a digital camera to her laptop computer, which she often uses for presentations. She regularly "visits" different Internet sites so she knows what her clients are reading. "This way I can serve them better." And, according to Gloria Jean, serving her clients and customers is the most important part of her job as a Realtor.
With her busy professional life and her active volunteer work, she still has time to "pilot" new agents. Her advice is basic: In today's fast paced world, there is still no substitute for face-to-face contact. Technology is a help in business, not a replacement for the personal touch.. She also adds that new agents should regard real estate as a profession and a full-time job, not as a stopgap measure until something better comes along. The competition is stiff; it's not a free ride. A new agent should plan to work without significant income for at least one year.
Gloria Jean reflects on her life. "In Real Estate, the three most important things are location, location, location. In life, I think the three most important things are timing,timing,timing." And for Gloria Jean DeBlock-Hecking, it's been the best of times.