Gray’s secret: Say ‘yes’ to opportunity

Helen Gray has always liked doing a variety of things, and that can-do spirit has helped her be a creative mainstay of her company, The Group Inc. real estate firm of Fort Collins. Gray started at The Group in 1980, working her way up from escrow officer/office manager to marketing director for the past 15 years.

Gray, 59, is being honored as a 2013 Woman of Distinction for her work in real estate. Her work at The Group includes maintaining the firm’s corporate image, including spearheading much of its community involvement and helping its 190 salespeople succeed by supporting their personal marketing and website management. She also orchestrates company events and helps produce a monthly publication, The Real Estate Source.

“I do a little of this and a little of that,” said Gray, who grew up on a Wyoming ranch doing the same thing. “That’s what keeps my job fresh. … I think I’m kind of a ‘yes’ person. Saying yes has brought me a lot of opportunity, both professionally and personally.”

Gray moved to Fort Collins after earning a bachelor’s degree in office administration at the University of Wyoming in 1975, and worked in the mortgage business at Home Federal Savings & Loan. At the thrift, she forged the Realtor relationships that took her to The Group.

Co-workers credit Gray for her creativity and leadership, which have helped build The Group into one of Northern Colorado’s most successful real estate brokerage firms. In 2012, the company ranked as the area’s top-selling residential brokerage with $1 billion in sales. The firm has won national recognition, including being named “Most Productive Real Estate Company in America” by Realtor magazine in 2004.

“Anytime we want to roll out anything new or get to the next level, Helen is always the one who has the vision to get there,” said Susie Ewing, The Group’s employing broker. “She’s very creative, and she’s got a great business mind. … She knows what works.”

Larry Kendall, The Group’s chairman emeritus, has worked with Gray for 33 years and calls her a “classic go-giver — always giving, always creating, always building, always making a positive difference and changing lives.”

Gray aided The Group in launching its charitable giving initiative, The Group Gives, and helps runs its scholarship program with Colorado State University. She has worked over the years with organizations including Leadership Fort Collins, Junior League and United Way, and currently serves as board president for ChildSafe, a nonprofit that provides therapy to sexually abused children.

“All the experiences and successes I’ve had are because I said yes somewhere along the way,” Gray said.

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