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Profile: Heather J. Baker, President, Fuller, Towne & Country Properties

Several key strategies guided Fuller, Towne & Country Properties President Heather J. Baker toward success: goal setting, demanding integrity, and seeking workplaces that would empower her. Today, she manages a real estate company based in Denver which, although it is just over seven years old, tallied $1 billion in business in 2005 and employs 130 brokers in four offices with 32 full-time staff people.

Baker grew up in Greeley, Colorado, where she was raised by a single mother. She was fortunate that her mother valued education and obtained a tuition waver for her to attend a small private high school at University of Northern Colorado. She notes that her father also played a significant role in her educational experience.

Baker was interested in science and medicine early on but the options for advanced coursework at her small school were limited. She applied to all three service academies and received a Presidential nomination to West Point. At this time the Gulf War was under way, in 1991, and Baker decided to enter the working world instead. (Six years ago she completed her college degree at Regis University in Denver while working full-time. She earned a BS in Business Administration & Management and Small Business Management.)

After a brief stint as a secretary for a small transportation company, she delved into real estate, and she’s never left. “The firm was Sears & Co. The Team, based in Greeley, and the president turned out to be a mentor for me,” she recalls. “I heard later on that I was one of two candidates to be an unlicensed assistant to the brokers, and when he was told they were leaning toward hiring me but I was young, just 18, he said to hire the best person for the job. My work there really helped me form the path I wanted to take. I knew I wanted to get into management and the legalities of the business. I wanted to help people build the business.”

Baker next worked for The Group in Ft. Collins, where she honed her technology skills as the internet began to take a role in the business and she became the go-to tech person. “I realized, however, that the company had such a loyal group of employees that it would take me forever to move up,” she says.

She moved to Denver in 1996 and worked for the Devonshire Co. for several years, again as a licensed assistant for agents. When the company was purchased by Coldwell a number of agents left to start Fuller Towne & Co., but Baker didn’t want to make the move until she could gain the management piece she had always sought. She accepted a managerial spot with Perry & Butler and later worked with Prestige Real Estate Group as the technical operations manager before the ownership group of Fuller Towne & Co. approached her with another offer. “I agreed to make a commitment as long as they would commit to me to give me the chance to become president,” she says. “I was appointed president last April, after 4 ½ years.”

Baker exudes focus and energy. “I learned from my early jobs the importance of sitting down and writing out business goals,” she says. “Otherwise, you don’t do it.

“The other important thing is integrity. You never compromise on what’s right. I always believe in giving people an honest and fair answer, even if it’s not always the answer they might have wanted to hear.

“Finally, I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve had a strong support system. I think it’s very important to align yourself with groups who are entrepreneurial and who will help you grow.”

On the personal side, Baker now is seeking to balance her time a little more effectively so she has more time for friends and relationships, traveling, scuba diving, and other activities that she loves. She’s also increasing her involvement with charitable organizations, particularly the Center for Work, Education, and Employment in Denver. It is focused on helping low-income single parents expand their skills and find employment.