Home > PUM History Salutes: Helen Hanna Casey, President, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services

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PUM Women's History Salutes: Helen Hanna Casey, President, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services

(Helen Hanna Casey, her sister Annie Hanna Cestra and her brother Howard W. “Hoddy” Hanna, III, have guided and grown Howard Hanna Real Estate Services to the rank of 4th largest real estate company in the United States. )

“It’s a challenge but any business has to regenerate to grow. It’s this sort of savvy thinking that keeps them moving forward.  They are always looking into the future.  Earlier in my career when I served the community on non-profit boards, I was the only working woman.  But I learned a great deal from non-working women as well such as my mother Anne Hanna.  Although now as a member of business boards, I see women bring a different perspective– we make men more accountable; our perspective is different”    Helen Hanna Casey

 

As President of the 4th largest real estate company in the United States, Helen Hanna Casey is an energetic dynamo with endless energy and enthusiasm. She has grown from an entry position of sales associate in 1975 to manager, regional vice president and to her current role of president, leading more than 5,700 sales associates and employees in 167 offices located across Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Michigan, New York, West Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland.

 

Instrumental in the growth of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, her passion for the real estate business and improving the real estate process for the client is legendary in the industry. Her leadership and savvy marketing mind have led the company to many firsts such as the award-winning company website, www.howardhanna.com – along with the mobile site, Hanna2go attracting more than one million visitors a month; The Showcase of Homes weekly television show which airs in four metro markets, on howardhanna.com and the Howard Hanna YouTube channel; and the company’s exclusive 100% Money Back Guarantee, in which Howard Hanna is the only real estate company in the country to offer a such a guarantee to buyers giving them confidence in their real estate investment.

Involved in the real estate industry both nationally and locally, Helen currently serves on the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Executive Committee as chair of the Real Estate Services Advisory Board and as chair of the Large Brokers Group. She previously served as chair of The Realty Alliance and as board president of the West Penn Multi-List as well as numerous positions with the REALTORS® Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh (RAMP).   Helen is a recent recipient of RAMP’s Distinguished Service Award for her commitment to delivering the ‘American Dream’ to generations of home owners.  For her role in generating change and growth within Howard Hanna and the real estate industry, along with the weight of her ideas and actions on other leaders and the public, Helen was named to Inman News’ list of the 100 most influential leaders in real estate in 2011.

Just as committed to improving the Pittsburgh region, she has served as chair of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce and on the Allegheny Conference on Community Development’s Executive Committee.   She remains on the Allegheny Conference Executive Committee, and on the boards of Tri State Capital Bank, the Strategic Investment Fund and as vice chair of Pittsburgh’s Civic Light Opera.  

Additionally, Helen has chaired the Board of Trustees at Carlow University.  She has served as the ‘Executive in Residence’ for the Carlow MBA program and received an honorary Doctorate Degree in Humanities from Carlow, her 2nd honorary Doctorate Degree as she has also been awarded one from her alma mater, Georgian Court University.

A much sought-after speaker, Helen has spoken to real estate professionals throughout the United States, and as far away as England; has been a featured speaker at the Working Woman 500 Congress, NAR and The Realty Alliance annual meetings, the Real Estate and Relocation Conference and the Council of Multi-List Services.

Also highly regarded on the Pittsburgh speaking circuit, her recent engagements include the Economist Club of Pittsburgh, Chatham University’s Women Business Leaders Breakfast Series and the Pittsburgh Business Times’ ‘Top Business Leaders in Pittsburgh award luncheon.

Helen and her husband Steve reside in the Shadyside area of Pittsburgh.  They are the proud parents of two children and grandparents of three.

PUM One on One with Helen Hanna Casey, President, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services 

PUM:  Celebrating Women’s History Month, what does that mean for you in terms of what you have been able to accomplish in your career?

Casey: It’s a challenge but any business has to regenerate to grow. It’s this sort of savvy thinking that keeps them moving forward.  They are always looking into the future.  Earlier in my career when I served the community on non-profit boards, I was the only working woman.  But I learned a great deal from non-working women as well such as my mother Anne Hanna.  Although now as a member of business boards, I see women bring a different perspective– we make men more accountable; our perspective is different.  

(“Helen has a way of making every meeting fun, every issue easy to understand and every meeting productive,” says John Denny, director of community relations for the Hillman Company.  He has served on two boards Helen chaired.-Denny also named Helen in an article titled “Five Women I Fear Most in Pittsburgh”.  These women scare him in a good way.   He says of Helen, “Get out of her way and follow wherever she leads. She is one of the most successful business leaders in Pennsylvania.  She has led her company into new markets like Ohio, Michigan, Virginia and North Carolina.  She also makes sure the company gives back to the community – to the tune of more than $9 million to Children’s Hospital Free Care Funds One of the most powerful women in business, not only locally, but perhaps nationally – Carlow University has honored her as a Woman of Spirit, she has been named as one of Pennsylvania’s Best 50 Women in Business, Inman News put her on its list of 100 Most Influential People, the Swanepoel TRENDS Report chose her as a featured visionary and named her as one of the top 50 on the Swanepoel POWER 200, a list of the most powerful people in residential real estate, people with the ability to make things happen.) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

PUM: As President of your company, with more than 40 years in the real estate industry and as President of the 4th largest real estate company in the USA, your passion and dedication has been to improving the real estate process for the client, how are you accomplishing this goal?

Casey: As a company, one of the things we are proudest of is the introduction of ‘one stop shopping’ before anyone thought of it.  What the client really needed and wanted was a smother, easier and cost effective real estate transaction.  We opened our title company, Barristers, in 1979 so clients didn’t have to go downtown to an attorney’s office and our agents didn’t have to go downtown to get tax records. 

We have local real estate offices to provide customers with title and closing, mortgage and insurance services right there in the community.  People aren’t just buying houses; they are buying the community, the schools, the parks, the bus stops.

We don’t believe any technology will replace smart, articulate and educated agents.  The ones who know how to plan and are not just order takers will prevail.  Knowing what a home looks like on the inside because they have toured it, knowing what the schools are like because they have been in them; this kind of information is incredibly important to help customers make decisions. Encouraging our agents to do open houses, gives people the opportunity to be in the community, to see if they like the neighborhood, the streets, the styles of houses - giving people the ability to make their own decisions, with the help of our expertise and knowledge.  

PUM: What makes you such a successful and focused leader?

Casey: I’ve learned from strong people that only I can decide if what I do will make a difference.  It’s about accountability back to people.  At our annual awards rallies held in February, I have a “12” theme that continues the whole year.  In 2012, we had “12 Steps to Success” and in 2013, the “12 Habits of Successful People”.  This year we have “12 Master Degrees in Real Estate Success”.  Once a month, a step, habit or key to mastering a career in real estate is sent out to the entire company from Helen personally.

PUM: What is your advice and recommendation to women as they break through the glass ceilings in their career? How were you able to persevere? 

Casey: We are very blessed to have the advantage of having so many wonderful women work for us.  Many who have educated their children, people that never believed they could be so successful.  The women with us, while we have nurtured them, they are the stars within themselves.  

Nobody says when they are 7 or 14 or 18 that they want to be a real estate agent.  But when they do and see it can be so beneficial and they can have a balance between their professional and person life.

Howard Hanna agents and employees see a woman who leads powerfully and comfortably. Like everyone in business, she may worry about mistakes or problems and how to handle them.  “The decisions I make and what I say, I do with confidence,” adds Casey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PUM: What are you most proud of as a woman who inspires women every day?

Casey: I am most proud of my daughter, Annie Hanna Engel.  She excels at remaining close to her family while tackling the challenge of chief legal counsel for Howard Hanna while also leading our insurance company, Howard Hanna Insurance Services.  As we said in the recent LORE Magazine article, “All in the Family”, it is a joy and a challenge of having family in a family business, and managing those relationships in and out of the office.  Engel says one of the good things about working together is there’s an understanding of the struggles of balancing family life and a professional career, because Casey has experienced it.

  

 

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