DOTTIE HERMAN Dottie Herman began her real estate career in 1978, working as a broker for Merrill Lynch. When the real estate division was sold to Prudential, she became one of their leading brokers. In 1990, she borrowed $7 million from Prudential to purchase Prudential Long Island Realty. Despite the voices that told her she would not succeed, she turned the company into one of the most powerful brokerage firms on Long Island and in the Hamptons. In 2003, she and her partner, Howard Lorber, purchased Douglas Elliman, which has become the largest residential real estate brokerage in New York, and the third largest firm in the United States. This year, Herman will launch a new business venture that will focus on entrepreneurship for women, and a podcast aimed at women who are over 50. In addition, she is currently writing a book, and plans to expand into coaching, speaking engagements, and television.
Downtown: Name three women that inspire you, and why:
Dottie Herman: I am inspired by Ruth Bader Ginsberg because of what she achieved on behalf of women and how she navigated a very biased field with grace, determination, and intelligence; Estee Lauder, because she started from nothing out of her kitchen and as a result of intense drive and ambition, made her dream into an incredible success, and welcomed everyone around her into her family; Lady Gaga because she followed her dream despite tremendous discouragement; she is incredibly talented and extremely brave.
DT: What has been the secret of your success?
DH: My success comes from having a vision, being persistent, working hard, and always possessing passion. I never let my success go to my head. I follow my heart. I follow my heart. I believe in helping other people and recognize the importance of being an effective leader, communicating my vision to the people around me and helping them be successful too.
DT: If you were going to pass on one piece of advice to a young woman looking for success, what would it be?
DH: You have to learn how to navigate the highs and lows, face inevitable challenges and ride the ups and the downs. I learned early on that when there’s an obstacle in your path, you can’t let it stop you. Instead, you must figure a way around it. Take a breath, step back and stay committed to your vision.
DT: In the fight for women’s equality, what area do you think needs the most attention?
DH: Pay Equality. There is still a gender gap in pay. Women make approximately make 89 percent of what a man holding the same position earns.
DT: What are you most proud of in your career?
DH: I’m so proud of the fact that my partner and I built and raised the single largest independently owned company in the United States. I’m proud that I did something that I loved and did it well and helped many others along the way.
DT: Where do you get your confidence?
DH: I’ve always possessed a lot of inner strength. I make sure that I associate with people who are positive.
DT: What makes a woman beautiful?
DH: Poise. Intelligence. A great smile. Positive Energy.
DT: What gives you joy?
DH: My family gives me joy. Great friends. Lively debates. I’m an entrepreneur and I love that. I really enjoy building a company from nothing. And I love the serene and calming beauty of the ocean. I also love music.