Name: Diane F. Grannum

Major at Baruch College and Degree Obtained: MSEd '95 Education Administration

Graduation Year: 2011

School within Baruch College: Weissman School of Arts and Sciences

Company and Title: Independent Contractor/Sales Agent EXIT Realty Premier

1) Tell us about your organization and your role there

I retired from The NYC BD. Of Ed. in 2007, and joined EXIT Realty International in February of 2008, from then to present, my husband Michael and I, a former Banker, specialize in educating Real Estate investors and consumers in the sale and purchase of properties in Long Island, Queens, and Brooklyn. EXIT Realty is a company formed by Steve Morris out of Canada in 1996, who created “The EXIT Formula”, the idea of obtaining residual income by sponsoring agents. We have over 600 agencies in The US and others in Canada. EXIT is run like a family and is a diverse and inclusive environment.

Focused primarily on residential properties EXIT provides daily and ongoing professional development and technological support utilizing experts in house and at large in any area of Real Estate expertise and human development. For example, Daniel Amen MD, the noted brain clinician presented at an annual Exit Convention to help improve agents and their families’ psychological wellbeing. Steve, who now serves as Chairman’s Slogan is “we sell Real Estate, and our assets are the agents”. Our administrators, agents, and managers all act in concert to provide for other staff and clients. As EXIT Agents we provided assistance to clients, family members and friends in need of Real Estate services supported by a family friendly franchise to customers moving to the next stages of their lives to make buying and selling as easy as possible.

2) What made you interested in the Education/Real Estate Industry and what drives you in your current profession?

My interest in Education began in Kindergarten in Rockville Centre’s the Woodfield Road Elementary School when I was 5. On the first day of school my teacher Miss Sheldon and I wore the same dress and since she allowed me to distribute the cookies, I had brought for snack that day I identified with the teaching and learning process that supported students needs and provided the structure and education so needed for youth and adult education. My home was chaotic, my parents were divorcing, and I had a younger sister who always seemed to cry. My interracial parents were not favored by their parents and they soon divorced, and we moved to Brooklyn. I again found solace in the structure of school and church which supported me through my teen years as things got worse at home. One of my first jobs at 16 years of age was as teaching

assistant to a Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Magdol in P.S. 188 in Bushwick Brooklyn. I found that teaching, educating, and managing children was a gift I could give myself, which I continued in various titles for 32 years they were: Family Paraprofessional (Boys and Girls HS), Special Education Teacher (P.S. 33M), Early Childhood Director (District 2) and Regional Director of Early Childhood Region NINE Districts: 1, 2, 4, and 7 NYC and The Bronx.

In 1977 Michael and I bought our first home after renting for 5 years. We had a young son, full time careers, and daily commutes from LI to NYC. We felt we needed more time to spend learning the ins and outs of real estate such as: The Construction of a Home, The Systems and Utilities within it, The Laws around Home ownership and Property Management, Home Mortgaging and Financing, The Politics around Real Estate, and Municipal and County Taxation. By 2007 we owned 6 homes 2 in Queens, 1 in Pennsylvania, 1 in Georgia and 2 on Long Island. We did this without any coursework in Real Estate so when I retired in September 2007, I committed to taking courses in October 2007 to begin my journey into learning all the information about Real Estate I could learn. Unlike licensure in education, you can get licensure in Real Estate in at that time 45 hours, so I had my license by February 2008. I convinced my husband to retire from Morgan Stanley where we both took agent and broker courses at the same time. We joined EXIT Realty in Merrick during the same month. I am driven to help clients who like myself wanted to own property but do not know how. I am delighted to be able to share insights with the client and to provide information and agency in the buying selling process.

3) What were some unique challenges you faced in your professional career and how did you solve them?

In 1981, after finishing my BA at The College of New Rochelle I was invited to take a Special Education Teaching position at George Washington H.S. I was 30 years old at the time. My Home room class was a large room called The Tower isolated from other classes at GW and accessed by 3 flights of stairs. My students were 10th to 12th grade students all boys who were larger and taller than I and academically and socially challenged by school and society at large. I was shorter smaller and appeared much younger than any of them. This was my first teaching assignment, and I could not let it become my last. I solved this problem by establishing rules and boundaries for my students, modeling appropriate language, posting classroom expectations, and developing and atmosphere of professionalism. In a few weeks’ time and with loads of empathy, their language, demeanor and respect for me and the school experience changed. I used some measure of a behavioral management plan throughout my teaching career, and my life.

Similarly, during my tenure as Regional Director of Early Childhood Region Nine, The Director of Early Childhood NYC was trying to establish “Socially and Emotionally Responsive Practices in Prekindergarten Programs” In the UPK classes in each district of the regions because this was new to most teachers. I formed a group from each of my 4 districts and we wrote a curriculum for Emotionally Responsive Practice, with just that title for use within all my 60 NYC classrooms and 40 Community based agencies.

One of the biggest challenges in NY Real Estate is advocating for buyers and sellers in a New York market. On Long Island specifically, the exorbitant rents, home prices, and astronomical taxes remain deterrents for clients with alternative incomes like Section 8 vouchers, or Military Service Mortgages that require no down payment and are often refused by home sellers. These concerns are particularly onerous to minorities, single parents, large families, and anyone without large incomes. While I cannot solve this nationally known and Long Island problem as described in a 3- year study by Newsday, I try to provide every service to support a client’s needs within the rental or homebuying process, which has included Loan modification support and tax reduction information. Together with my husband we remain committed to provide every assistance possible to help our clients succeed.

4) How was your experience at Baruch like? How did Baruch impact your life and career?

I credit a lot of my success as a woman and businessperson with the degree I received from Baruch. Under the supervision of Doctors Debra Block and Don Watkins I received my Masters in Supervision and Administration, Master of Science in Education. Their support and my individual and group experiences in classrooms and practicum in fieldwork were convenient invaluable and immeasurable. I accomplished this while working in the school system at that time as a Title 1 Reading Coordinator in an elementary school. This degree made me eligible to apply for a Regional Position as Senior Education Administrator, and I went on to supervise Region Nine schools in NYC and The Bronx about 100 programs. I retired after 32 years with The Board. Of Education City of NY.

5) What is one of your favorite memories you have from your time at Baruch?

Baruch required a Field Practicum for my degree, which was to be supervised by my school Principal and my Practicum Supervisor. At the date that Dr. Watkins was to visit I had to prepare the contract categories, schedule proportional time, and have the contract approved by my supervisor. At that time, I was The Early Childhood Coordinator at P.S. 33M., responsible for monitoring some 10 classes, teachers, paraprofessionals, The PTA, and the implementation of The Follow Through Early Childhood Grant Program in addition to teaching several classes per week. The Principal John Natoli signed off on my Field Contract, but I was terrified that Dr. Watkins would not approve it. When he reviewed my plan, I asked if he thought I could accomplish it and would he agree. He said it was fine and that I was “already providing supervisory service” and that he would approve the contract. My terror was lessened, and I was greatly relieved in fact I was delighted.

6) What is some advice can you give to current Baruch students and alumni about working in the beauty industry/entrepreneur field of your profession?

After 32 years in education, I realize that what sustained me was that I really liked school. I appreciate the structure and process of an academic learning experience. Through Elementary, High school College and Grad school its’ ability to transform and inform all the areas of my life almost made me regret having to stop. If you believe that education can broaden, improve, and strengthen almost anybody to a better and richer life then teaching and Baruch are for you. If you refuse to let politics, poverty and bureaucracy stop you from teaching and learning you will grow just like the students you serve. Thirteen years ago, at age 57 I was afraid that I would have to develop and entirely different set of skills for Real Estate than those I had developed in Education. I had relied on communication skills, Content area expertise, time management, cultural awareness, psychology, experiences at Baruch, personality, and empathy to move students in the right direction. I was pleasantly surprised to find that those were the same skills I needed in Real Estate to support individuals and families in their need to improve their lives using a piece of property as the catalyst.

In Real Estate as in Education your personality is your instrument and your ability to communicate is your biggest asset. I am not suggesting that Real estate is easy and unlike education you generally need six months of saved capital to even consider trying. However, if it is a second career or you have savings it is worth it to be able to guide others through The Home Selling, Purchasing and generally life improving process. It has not hurt that through the last 49 years of my life I have had an inspiring husband and partner who shares my values, ethics and supports me in my lifes’ work. If I or we can be of help to you please Email, text or call:

7) How can people contact you? (Social Media, LinkedIn, Email)

Website: EXIT Realty Premier

Email: [email protected] or [email protected]


Facebook: Grannum Realty Team

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