Carol O’Leary, branch manager of Coach Realtors on Sunrise Highway in the village, is the Rockville Centre Chamber of Commerce’s Businessperson of the Year.
The Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce honored the businesspeople of the year from 36 local Nassau County chambers at its 35th annual Legislative Breakfast on Oct. 18. “I was very honored,” O’Leary said. “It was such a big, impressive event.”
The lifelong village resident has been in real estate for more than 20 years. She began at Rockville Realty in 1997 and became manager of Coach Realtors in 2009, two years after it bought the company that first hired her.
As manager, O’Leary now oversees more than 50 agents. “I love helping buyers and sellers move on to the next phase,” she said, “but I also love helping agents with their real estate careers, assisting them with transactions and motivating them to increase their sales.”
While most of her time is spent managing, O’Leary still makes her own deals on a referral basis. Continuing a real estate practice helps her keep up with the changing market, especially under new tax laws and home value re-assessments, which she cites as current challenges in the world of real estate.
“She does a really good job there promoting the village and businesses,” chamber President Brian Croutier said.
Ann Frew, a sales agent at Coach, described O’Leary as a knowledgeable, fair and honest leader. “She’s so easy to work with and for,” said Frew, who has worked in the office for 18 years and calls it a fun, collaborative work environment. “She’s active in the community. You can reach her at all hours of the day — she’s always answering the phone.
“Everybody respects her here and from other agencies in town, too,” Frew added.
O’Leary’s community involvement, especially with the Chamber of Commerce, earned her this year’s businessperson award. She joined the chamber eight years ago, and has served as its secretary for two. She is dedicated to “shopping locally and promoting businesses locally,” she noted.
This year, she introduced a new program to the chamber. Large, foldout maps have sprung up in several business districts across Long Island, and now there is one in Rockville Centre.
Chamber members each get their business illustrated on a cartoon map of Rockville Centre, which is then distributed throughout the community. The initiative helped the chamber gain several members this year, O’Leary said.
The Rockville Centre Chamber of Commerce has been serving the community for 100 years and aims to help businesses in the village grow. Meetings are held on a monthly basis and several events are held throughout the year to help businesses connect with residents in the community.
Croutier said that O’Leary is “vital” to the chamber’s everyday function, helping set up at events, getting information out to the public and actively serving on the board.
“She helps us in so many ways,” Croutier said. “She’s very responsive and always has great ideas. I’m not sure the chamber would run as well as it does without her.”