As we close out 2018, changes are afoot at The Group, Inc. After nearly 39 years, Helen Gray, the company’s Marketing Director, is retiring. She leaves the kind of cutting-edge legacy we’ve come to expect from a company that built its mission around anticipating the future of real estate and one that Groupies look forward to expanding.
“I joined The Group after they had just opened a second office, and the company and the city were in growth mode. It was the opportunity to work in an exciting dynamic young company that was employee owned — a very new concept at that time,” she says. Over the next several years, she filled multiple roles, including working as business manager and Larry Kendall’s personal assistant. “I sat at his feet and learned marketing from him.”
When The Group created an official marketing department, Gray stepped into the position of Marketing Director. She embraced the opportunity to work with both the community and the Realtors, and she built bridges that reflect the company’s commitment to service and engagement.
“I’ve always admired Helen’s success and expertise in community building and word-of-mouth marketing. Those are popular terms these days, but she was an innovator in that space,” says Tom Flanagan, Chief Technology Officer.
But Gray stresses that she couldn’t have accomplished nearly as much if she hadn’t been working with a team that was so game. The Realtors were always willing to try new things.
As The Group continues to grow and the real estate industry changes at an ever faster pace, so has the company’s marketing department and its scope. Now handled by a staff of 4, marketing duties include everything from the development and production of advertising materials to coordination of company events, offering marketing support for the Realtors, and, increasingly, the cultivation of an online presence.
Those persistent changes have afforded Gray the opportunity to keep pushing herself, to keep growing over the years. And that’s part of what’s made her time with The Group so fulfilling. “You have to be flexible because you’re heading in one direction one day and the next you’re going another. Constant change is part of the fun of the business,” she says.
However, throughout all this change, The Group has held onto its central priority; people and communities will always come first. Just 6 years ago, Gray helped start GroupGives, the company’s community fund that provides support to non-profit organizations focused on housing issues.
Gray is excited to pass the torch and see what The Group’s future holds. Come 2019, the marketing, technology, and relocation divisions will merge and CTO Tom Flanagan will step into a new role overseeing the resulting department. Amy Hoback, a long-time member of the marketing team, will carry forward The Group’s tradition of community engagement.
Flanagan says, “What we’re hoping to do is build upon the great foundation that Helen built at The Group for 4 decades.”