Ask The CEO

By Hannah Wallace January 31, 2009

After completing a four-year stint as a top executive with global real estate company Realogy Corporation in New Jersey, Judy Green moved back to Sarasota last June, eager to enjoy leisurely walks on Siesta Key Beach, spend quality time with her nine grandchildren and soak in the good life she had earned after 30 years of shaking up the real estate industry.

Her retirement lasted all of four months.

That’s when Green answered a phone call from Mike Good, CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty, offering her the Sotheby’s franchise in Sarasota. Its then-current affiliate, Sky Sotheby’s International Realty, was by all accounts imploding, and Sotheby’s was eager to cut its losses and find a new company to partner with in the Sarasota market.

Green, recognizing a golden opportunity, kicked into what she terms “execution mode.” Within three weeks she had created a new company, Signature Sotheby’s International Realty, of which she is now the managing partner. A few weeks later, Good contacted Green again. This time he wanted to introduce her to the folks at Lutgert Companies, the Naples-based parent of Sarasota’s Premier Properties. Lutgert quietly offered to sell Premier to Signature at what Green says was “a great value.” On Dec. 10, Signature Sotheby’s announced that it now owned Premier. 

Age: 59

Why jump into real estate now? There is tremendous opportunity in the international market. Thirty percent of Florida sales in 2008 were international and 10 percent of those were in Sarasota. Sotheby’s can deliver international exposure that no one else can touch. They have an unbelievable marketing program. Every property over $1.5 million is displayed in the lobby of every Sotheby’s company in the world. And there are over 500 affiliates all over the world.

First job: It was actually in real estate. Except for some babysitting when I was a kid, I I’ve never done anything else. I got married very young and my husband and I were building homes in Oviedo. I eventually got my real estate license and opened up a real estate company. I did that for 15 years until I sold the company.

Greatest satisfaction: I am very hands on and operations focused. I like to roll up my sleeves and be in the thick of things. And I love to mentor people. I get a lot of satisfaction from coaching people to get them to the point of being strong enough to make their own decisions.

Biggest complaint:  I have no patience for people who get hung up on the small stuff and I won’t tolerate petty office politics. I don’t like to get bogged down in nonsense.

Favorite escape: I walk CrescentBeach very early in the morning. It’s my time alone, my time to reflect on yesterday and think about today and put it all together in my heart.

Downtime: I watch CNN the majority of the time but when I want to relax and just chuckle, I watch Reba.

My greatest strength: When I make a decision to do something, you had better get out of my way because I have got to make it happen. My philosophy is do your homework, set your goals, then execute it.

My biggest weakness: I just can’t say no to my grandkids.

The best advice I ever got: Always listen and try to understand before you make a decision.


As Coldwell Banker Florida CEO, starting in 1999, Judy Green was responsible for 94 offices, more than 4,000 sales associates and orchestrated the acquisition of 28 companies, turning them into the largest and most successful real estate brokerage in Florida.

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