White Plains Realtor Dorothy J. Botsoe made history earlier this year when she was elected as the first black president of powerhouse real estate association the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors (HGAR). Founded in 1916, the nearly 10,000-member HGAR advocates for buyers, sellers, and agents throughout the Hudson Valley and Manhattan, and is one of the largest Realtor associations in the country. Botsoe, a native of Ghana and 30-year veteran of the residential real estate industry, has owned her eight-agent firm, Dorothy Jensen Realty Inc., since 1995. In 2016, her company was responsible for $20 million in real estate transactions. We caught up with Botsoe, to chat about her historic appointment and what she hopes to accomplish this year at the helm of HGAR.
What does it mean to you to be selected as HGAR’s first black president?
It is an overwhelming responsibility but an honor and privilege to represent all my fellow Realtors in this industry. I want to make sure all the members are heard and understand that it is our organization and that they have access to all the tools that will enable them to be excellent Realtors and advocates for their clients in all aspects of the transaction.
Do you feel that Westchester is a supportive community for minorities in business?
Yes, I do. There are many opportunities for my company to meet other companies within the community — many networking events and business forums to attend, where we can learn new things and mingle with other professionals. I belong to a few different organizations, including NAHREP [National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals], AREAA [Asian Real Estate Association of America], and women’s organizations, like the Women’s Council of Realtors, which have legs at the community level.
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What are your plans/goals for HGAR this year?
Inclusion and making sure everyone’s voice is being heard. For my installation [as president], the theme was “We Are the World,” which was a nod to all the different people we work with, clients we serve, backgrounds we have, and cultures we honor. By recognizing our differences, I hope that we can find space to make everyone feel welcome and excited to be involved. One of the newest initiatives I’ve started with HGAR is quarterly teas in [various] geographic areas, to encourage involvement [among Realtors]. I have made rounds at our offices in White Plains, Nyack, Goshen, and Yonkers, to get feedback from our Realtor community and help them have a place for their voices to be heard, as well as to hear their concerns.
What do you think is the toughest thing about running a real estate business in Westchester?
For me, it’s making sure my independent real estate company is visible and thrives amid all the franchises and larger companies [which dominate in the local real estate market]. We are a full-service real estate company; however, I have focused on foreclosures, so we have an REO [real estate-owned]/foreclosure niche.
You’ve received a variety of awards and accolades in the industry, including HGAR Realtor of the Year in 2012. To what do you attribute your success?
Perseverance and integrity. Dealing with people from all walks of life and providing the same quality of service to all…. The willingness to include everyone in the process [is important], and leading by example is how I work to inspire and motivate people.