Yesterday was International Women’s Day when I read the article on one of the Real Estate Industry’s female icon’s story.
In 1963, Sadie Moranis was a 37 year old homemaker with no work experience, a financially distressed husband and two children to support. Adversity roused the tiger in her and off she went to sell houses.
Sadie Moranis Realty opened her 1st office in 1976, 40 years ago with 5 salespeople and grew the business into 150 agents and 6 offices. Sadie was a trail blazer and a first in so many things. When she started in real estate in 1963, her biggest challenge was to find a broker who would hire a woman. She was the 1st woman to own her own real estate company in Toronto and in 1981 became the 1st woman elected as president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, which was quite the feat in a male dominated industry.
I love this quote: “She was the first lady of real estate when I started,” said Elise Kalles, a “friendly competitor” for 30 years. “She was a very astute businesswoman and a pioneer who laid the groundwork for others. Real estate was an old boys club and she was very much to be admired.”
From the beginning Sadie Moranis used her name, client base and connections to build a network of agents and branches, often being the first real estate company to adopt new marketing techniques and embrace technological advances – whether it was photocopiers, fax machines or cellphones.
Sadie Moraines died in May 2009 at the age of 84. Therefore, I found it sad to read that the Sadie Moranis Realty has shut its doors and filed for bankruptcy. That this woman who did so much for women in a male dominated industry, poured her heart and soul into her business, so intelligent, such an inspiration and role model, family oriented, passionate, hard working and her legacy is now tied up in the courts, muddying her name.
What happened? Without her driving force, could the business not continue without her? Did the business take on too much by joining the Sutton Group franchise or was it plain old greed. I am sure there is a great lesson in this but we may never know because the lawsuits just keep piling up.
And so, the end of an era. After being a Toronto household name, the name Sadie Moranis Realty will be no more. Here’s to you Sadie Moranis for forging the way for women in this industry!
Colleen Saunders is a 25 year veteran in the mortgage industry, serving Mississauga, Burlington, Oakville and Toronto and offering all mortgage related services such as 2nd mortgages, private mortgages and more.