Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Faith Hope Consolo >

Faith Hope Consolo, Chairman, Retail Leasing and Sales Division, Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate

What do you need to be an entrepreneur?

Determination and a great idea, not necessarily in that order. Entrepreneurs really are a breed apart.

What did inspire you to start your business?
My first endeavor as an entrepreneur was staring my own modeling agency in college. I saw a need, and being a bit of a performer myself at that time, figured out a way to fill it. Alas, I wasn't tall enough to be a model myself. But I sold the agency after graduation for a nice sum to start my life!
How did you finance it?
Given that I was acting as an agent, not manufacturing something, I could self-finance.
Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business?
I'm not Hispanic -- I'm of Italian and English ancestry. But I work with a number of Latino and Latina businesses, and while I hate to generalize, I do find that there is a unique drive to succeed in this huge community. The U.S. is now one of the largest Spanish-speaking countries in the world, of course, and that opportunity galvanizes entrepreneurs.
In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
What other decision is there? As have we all, I've faced obstacles both personal and professional -- losing both my parents before I was a teenager, being a woman with no business connections in a very male-dominated industry. I simply got up each day, worked harder than everyone else and didn't take no for an answer.

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?

Certainly the last economic downturn could have been a tremendous problem -- particularly in motivating staff. We went back to basics, pounded the pavement, and instead had some of our most successful years.

If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?
Even more business for me??

What was your childhood ambition?
I wanted to be an actress -- and in New York real estate, we all are!

Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire?
Larry Silverstein, Mary Kay, Salma Hayek

For business meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Dinner! I avoid morning meetings if at all possible.
What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
I work 24/7, and some friendships did sort of fade away. But I'm not sure 'sacrifice" is the right word -- it's more like prioritizing. My friend Elaine Wynn once said "You can have it all -- you just can't have it all, all at the same time." I've been a successful businesswoman, a wife, a stepmother, a mentor, student, friend .. just not all at the same time. I haven't sacrificed anything.

What is your favorite quote?
"Why not?"
Is it difficult to be unconventional?
No. I don't think I'm that unconventional, but being a pioneer is just what I've done. 

Biggest mistake made?
I'm not a person who regrets -- every decision, even one that doesn't work out, is a learning experience.
Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
I do. There were few women in my industry when I started, and I work with a number of organizations to help increase our numbers. I started my own website years before many others in my business did. I opened a European office for my former company in the 1980s, when international brokerages were unheard of.
About the Company
Douglas Elliman's Retail Group is the industry leader in retail leasing, investment sales and consulting. We've brought some of the most famous names in international retail to the United States, and helped U.S. retailers expand abroad by offering site selection, negotiation, consulting and even visual merchandising services. See company site:

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