One day when Pat Villani, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in New England, dropped by Donna Fitzgerald’s office in Norwell, she met a couple dropping off two SUVs full of toys for needy children. Villani tried to thank the couple, but they responded, “Donna and this office stepped in and took care of us when we needed it. This is our way of giving back.”
Fitzgerald’s office is so packed with gifts and warm clothing for underprivileged children around Christmas time, Villani said, that you’d be forgiven if you mistook it for a gift shop.
And it’s Fitzgerald’s team spirit and generosity that Villani says makes Fitzgerald a Woman of FIRE.
Fitzgerald, the sales office manager for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Norwell, entered the real estate business nearly 30 years ago, when her husband encouraged her to get into real estate.
Real estate was a natural fit for this people-person. After 17 years as an agent, Fitzgerald decided to throw her hat into the ring when a management position opened up, and she loves coaching her new agents.
“I love my office. I love the people in my office. I try to create an esprit de corps and a real team feeling,” Fitzgerald said. “I love that when one of my brand new agents gets their first listing or sells their first house, the rest of the office gives them a huge round of applause.”
She must be doing something right: Under Fitzgerald’s leadership, her office has achieved the top market position in Norwell and Hanover and is fast emerging as a leading office in Marshfield.
First In Line
“There was no doubt in my mind, when they asked me if there was someone I wanted to nominate [for a Women of FIRE Award], I knew it needed to be Donna. She just gives so much; it’s good to see her get something back,” Villani said.
And Villani should know. After all, she’s known Fitzgerald for nearly the entirety of Fitzgerald’s real estate career.
“She is a lady that really inspires those who work around her and with her, both in her office and her peers in the company,” Villani said. “She’s just a woman who has a lot of conviction, a lot of drive and just does a terrific job, no matter what she tackles. And she’s willing to tackle anything that needs her help. She’s the first in line.”
When Villani got involved with the Home for Little Wanderers, a regional nonprofit that provides residential housing for at-risk children, Fitzgerald stepped up to ask how she could help.
Now a yearly tradition, Fitzgerald’s office collects gifts, winter coats, hats, boots and pajamas for the organization. They also organize food and toy drives for DOVE, a Quincy-based organization that supports victims of domestic violence.
But Fitzgerald wouldn’t dare take any of the credit for herself.
Villani “sees to it that they get a Christmas you wouldn’t believe. We do a huge collection here at the office. I have such generous agents,” she said. “I’m proud of them, and proud to be associated with them.”