The Fourth of July might be Independence Day for our country, but certain women in San Francisco embody that spirit every day, through their shining examples of dynamic, entrepreneurial and energetic leadership. Look no further than Barbara J. Callan, one of the city's top Realtors, and Margaret Mitchell, co-founder and CEO of the Epi Center MedSpa, whose independent streaks have led to amazing success in their chosen fields.
Both Callan and Mitchell have an innate ability to foster meaningful connections and a desire to help their fellow San Franciscans. Each of them recognizes that no achievement comes without dedication and determination, and that might just be the reason they have come to be known as two of the Bay Area's most important businesswomen.
Independence takes many forms, but perhaps the most admirable is the guts and bravery it takes to follow your dreams—and turn them into a reality.
Callan and Mitchell remind us that with fearlessless, and a lot of hard work, anything is possible.
Every time she drives over the hill on Divisadero Street, Barbara Callan sees something different. It’s always a beautiful panorama, but the magic behind the way the water meets the city, and the clouds dot the sky, is made up in part by the fact that it’s ever-changing and always spectacular. Perhaps that’s why Callan, San Francisco’s top Realtor, loves her job: Like the view, no two days are ever the same.
Callan began a career in real estate after raising her three children. She looked to expand her skills elsewhere, and quickly found success as a Realtor. Beginning at San Francisco’s distinguished Grubb & Ellis real estate firm, she rose to become Grubb & Ellis’s #1 Agent and ranked nationally. Then, in 1993, she moved to McGuire Real Estate, where she had consistently been McGuire’s #1 Realtor and #1 Team. Barbara was ranked San Francisco’s #1 Real Estate agent by the Wall Street Journal and Real Trends.
For Callan, success in real estate stems from her ability to make connections. She forms strong relationships with each of her clients, and builds meaningful relationships and networks with other Realtors. And, thanks to being a fourthgeneration San Franciscan, a title not many can boast, she’s connected to all the ins and outs of the city.
Callan has been in the real estate business for three decades now, and spent the last 14 years working as a team with her son and partner Robert Callan, Jr. at her side, which she considers a great joy.
Her passion for her career is driven by her love of helping people. Callan’s priorities lie in serving her clients, and being available whenever needed, whether that entails answering emails as late 11 at night or helping a client whose house she sold 20 years ago.
But Callan isn’t all work and no play. Despite her busy schedule and large list of both domestic and international clients, she always makes time to have fun with her husband, her #1 supporter, and to see her three children and her grandchildren, about whom she speaks with pride. She makes sure to attend all her grandchildren’s events, and she watches them develop new interests and improve at their sports and music. “I don’t want to miss a moment,” she says.
Photo by Anastasia Sierra | Sponsored Content: Independent Women Profile
Haute Living Where are you from? What attracted you to San Francisco?
Barbara Callan I am a native San Franciscan, fourth generation. Everything about San Francisco is attractive to me. I love the views, the variety in each neighborhood, and the diversity. It truly is an amazing and beautiful city, and is considered the heart of the state! It is also a great city to raise a family.
HL What attracted you to real estate?
BC I have always been attracted to architecture and the many styles of homes throughout the city. Real estate is in my blood. My dad was a broker and owned a successful real estate company when I was a child, and my sister Mary has been a very successful realtor in San Francisco for more than 30 years.
HL Who was your first mentor, and how did he/she influence you?
BC My first mentor was my dad. He was an amazing businessman and a person of great integrity. He instilled in all of his children and grandchildren the importance of honesty and of giving back to the community and helping others. He was a very giving person, had a great sense of humor, was very positive, and a person of strong faith.
HL You’ll never be found without your…
BC Multi-use Palm Treo, and of course my brilliant assistant David Ayerdi who has been with me more than eight years.
HL What were your yearly sales for 2007? Forecast for 2008?
BC Independently, I closed close to $130 million in San Francisco real estate in 2007 and was ranked No. 1 Realtor in San Francisco by the San Francisco Association of Realtors ranking report. I was ranked No. 8 in the state of California, and No. 22 in the United States by the Wall Street Journal and Real Trends. My forecast for 2008 is to sell more than $100 million of San Francisco real estate.
HL What is your most memorable deal?
BC All of my real estate transactions are memorable. Each one is different and unique as I have the opportunity to work with wonderful people. I have always had a great respect and admiration for Warren Buffett. I was very honored when he chose me to sell his properties in San Francisco. It was a very memorable experience for me.
HL Where do you live?
BC I have always lived in San Francisco and can’t imagine ever living anywhere else.
HL If money were no object, what property on the market would you recommend in the San Francisco area?
BC I currently have two of the most spectacular homes in San Francisco on the market. They are listed for $25 million and $27.5 million. Both are absolutely magnificent and offer deep roots in the history of San Francisco. They are both rare jewels, and truly the best of the best.
HL What is your formula for keeping your high-end and/or high profile clients happy?
BC I have great passion and joy for my work. I look forward to starting each day. My clients know I am always available for them. I provide the very best in service and marketplace knowledge.
HL Tell us one thing most people wouldn’t know about you.
BC They may not know that I was a second grade teacher before I started my family.
HL What is your proudest achievement?
BC My proudest achievements are raising (with my husband) three amazing human beings. My son Robert is one of San Francisco’s most seasoned and successful realtors, he is currently among the top 10 of all realtors in San Francisco and a partner at McGuire Real Estate; my son Geoff is an award winning filmmaker and actor whose successful production company recently produced several Super Bowl commercials; and my daughter Regina is a San Francisco real estate developer who designs some of the most spectacular homes all over the city.
HL Where would we find you on a Friday night?
BC Usually out for a quiet dinner with my husband. We have a very extended family in the city and we frequently attend family and charity events.
HL What are your favorite vacation destinations and/or leisure activities?BC My favorite leisure activity is to spend time with my husband, my children, daughters-in-law, and my amazing grandchildren! My favorite destination spots are Napa and Hawaii.
HL Your forecast for the San Francisco real estate market for 2008?
BC My forecast is very positive. There is always demand in this great city.
HL What are your personal goals for 2008?
BC It is very important to keep one’s life balanced in order to achieve success. My personal goal is to stay healthy, spiritually strong, and to continue to spend quality time with my family and friends. My clients also know that I am always there for them.
HL In your opinion, what makes San Francisco so special?
BC San Francisco is an international city, and everyone wants to live here. It is like an island surrounded by great beauty. We have the perfect climate all year and a perfectly designed and planned city. I have traveled extensively, and to me there is not another place in the world that offers the quality of life that this great city of ours has to offer.
When you talk about high-end home sales in San Francisco, Barbara Callan should be one of the first names that comes up.
Callan is a luxury-market Realtor and partner with McGuire Real Estate in San Francisco and she was recently named the cities top-producing real estate agent in 2007. She sold more than $126 million worth of residential estates in San Francisco.
"I am very proud to be on top of my field," said Callan. "It is a wonderful business and I work with seasoned professionals and the best in the businesses that have helped me in this area."
Callan got into the real estate business in 1986 after being a stay-at-home mom. The manager for Grubb and Ellis asked her to join the company.
"My children were grown and it was a wonderful opportunity to get into the real estate business," continued Callan. "I took advantage of this and have been at it every since."
Since she started, the San Francisco Real Estate business has gone through a transformation. Buyers for properties aren’t necessarily in your immediate area, but all around the world.
"When I was getting into the business, the market was very different," Callan said.
"Back then, I kept active working with a lot of buyers, having open houses and floor time. Now, with the use of technology, I am able to reach clients around the world within seconds. Technology allows me to reach clients in an efficient way and it also provides amazing marketing," she explained.
In 1993, Callan began to work with the McGuire Real Estate Group. In the last five years, from 2002 to today, she has been the top producer and the No. 1 company agent.
Not only is she the top Realtor in San Francisco, in 2006 she was recognized as eighth in California and 22nd in the United States, according to the National Association of Realtors, The Wall Street Journal and Real Trends.
"This makes me very proud, as I have a great regard for this profession," continued Callan.
She has sold houses to San Francisco Giant Rich Aurilla, Warren Buffet and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, among others. She says most of her sales today are referrals from previous clients. And while most of the nation is seeing a downturn in the economy, when it comes to home sales, San Francisco is a different world.
"There is a great demand in San Francisco, because we are such a small city and there is no place to really build, as there isn’t that much land," Callan said. "San Francisco is also an international city and everyone wants to live here, so that drives demand."