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Hometown Hero
Paying it Forward

Real estate team is partners in business, community service.

Sue Andrews and Sharon Pacetti
For top-producing sales associates Sue Andrews and Sharon Pacetti, there truly is no “I” in “team.” The duo have not only worked as successful business partners in real estate since 1990, but they’ve also joined forces on a variety of social causes, including Home Builders Care, daniel (formerly Daniel Memorial Home, Florida’s oldest not-for-profit child services agency founded in 1884) Womenade, the Humane Society and Safe Harbor for Boys, among others.

Last year, Andrews and Pacetti focused their energy on helping low-income women to enter the Jacksonville job market. By collecting women’s professional garments and monetary donations for the local nonprofit group, Success Suits You, the two, along with many other donors, helped the area’s disadvantaged women make a tailored transition into the professional workforce. Each Success Suits You client receives one suit for her job interview and a second suit when she is hired, explain Andrews and Pacetti. They also receive help with writing a résumé, coaching for job interviews and ongoing support to help them build a successful career.

“I think we ended up with about four racks of clothes plus monetary donations,” says Andrews, adding that she and Pacetti both donated at least 10 suits from their own closets. Most of the garments were slightly used pieces from the closets of area businesswomen, but the two women also managed to convince scores of men to donate cash for the purchase of new women’s clothing and accessories.

“I’m pleased to say one man dropped a $100 bill in my hat,” says Pacetti, adding that she and Andrews made regular pleas for donations at various professional meetings they would attend. “We told [people], ‘If you don’t have a woman’s suit, then we want your money.’ The response was incredible.”

As part of the clothing drive, Andrews and Pacetti arranged drop-off locations at homebuilders’ model homes around the city including one at Mattamy Homes’ sales office at Bartram Springs (where the two women work). The donated clothing was stored in one of the closets at the model home, and signs were on display so that visitors would know about the clothing drive and Success Suits You.

Mattamy Homes and all of the lenders affiliated with the homebuilder also donated hundreds of dollars to the clothing drive.

The women joke that although people often get their names mixed up, calling them “Sue Pacetti” and “Sharon Andrews” for example, their partnership has lasted longer than some marriages. “We’re best friends,” says Andrews. “ We do everything together,” adds Pacetti. “People have asked us what the secret of our successful partnership is. I think it’s that we have the same work ethic and habits, and we respect each other as individuals. We’ve always agreed on things and never had a harsh word, which is very unusual.”

Ambassadors of Affordable Housing

Two Florida cities — Jacksonville and Miami — recently were recognized by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) and the United States Conference of Mayors as Ambassador Cities for 2007.

NAR’s Ambassador for Cities program, launched in 2004, selects cities as Ambassadors and highlights the innovations they have implemented to promote homeownership, increase affordable housing and make their communities more livable. Only four other cities across the nation received the honors this year

  • The Northeast Florida Association of Realtors and the mayor of Jacksonville have joined forces to promote employer-assisted housing (EAH) programs to local businesses. Realtors also will be trained to use NAR’s EAH training program, “Home from Work,” to help local businesses establish their own EAH programs.
  • The Realtor Association of Greater Miami and the Beaches Housing Central- and Miami is a virtual housing center that connects renters with affordable rental units and buyers with sellers. The Housing Central Web site will link to the Realtor association’s multi-language Web site and home listings. The association is also working with the Florida Housing Finance Corp. to provide a Realtor course on affordable housing solutions and will develop a program to educate Realtors on different funding incentives available to buyers and renters.

NAR and the mayors’ conference, through its Council on the New American City, established the Ambassador for Cities program to encourage collaborations between local city governments and Realtor associations to expand housing opportunities in their communities. Since then, the program has honored 19 cities and has awarded $95,000 in grants to support local affordable housing initiatives.

For more information about the program and all of this year’s honorees, go to www.realtor.org/press_room/news_releases/2007/
nar_and_mayors_recognize_six.html.