While growing up in New Suffolk as a teenager, Deirdre O’Connell worked her first job at Nolan’s Village Market on Main Road in Cutchogue.
Now, after establishing a real estate business that bore her name, Ms. O’Connell has found herself back in the building where it all began. The old village market, operated by her parents, had already closed when she opened a branch of Deirdre O’Connell Realty Inc. there in 2005. She would laugh sometimes while sitting in the conference room, thinking back to how it had once been a meat cooler.
Ms. O’Connell’s company was acquired in 2007 by Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty, where her real estate career continued to flourish. Last month, she was named chief executive officer of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s, where she now oversees an organization of 900 licensed real estate salespeople and 100 administrative and management staff members. She had previously served as the company’s general sales manager.
“It’s actually kind of humbling,” she said. “You work really hard and you want to achieve your goals; everyone feels that way. The moment this happened I felt a little overwhelmed, but with excitement and honor and joy.”
Ms. O’Connell, 54, started in real estate in 1991 after working in public and employee communications for an insurance company. She founded her eponymous company in Manhasset, where she currently resides, in 2003. The Cutchogue location followed two years later.
“I was trying to also sell on the North Fork because I grew up there and knew the North Fork,” she said. “And at that time most of the North Fork was not on MLS.”
Ms. O’Connell played a key role in Daniel Gale Sotheby’s expansion onto the North Fork, where it now has offices in Mattituck, Greenport and Shelter Island as well as in the old Cutchogue market, and in Westhampton Beach on the South Fork.
A graduate of Bishop McGann-Mercy High School in Riverhead, Ms. O’Connell also helped Daniel Gale Sotheby’s expand in Nassau County and Queens. As CEO, she hopes to continue to grow the company, which was founded in Huntington in 1922.
“What I have given the company has helped them in their expansion and growth in a very strategic manner and I would like to continue that,” she said. “I don’t think we need to be biggest. I just want to be in the right places and I want to do it always in alignment with our culture, which I think is always extremely professional and known for doing the right thing and having the best-trained professionals in the business.”
Daniel Gale Sotheby’s hopes to open in Smithtown in April and recently signed a lease for an office in Great Neck.
In her new role, Ms. O’Connell said she wants to keep the focus of the company on its agents and to continue to support them, as well as the buyers and sellers of listed homes.
She credits her East End upbringing with helping her achieve the promotion.
“I think I am especially honored to have accomplished this,” Ms. O’Connell said. “Having grown up on the North Fork I feel really proud to say I am a North Forker. To me that’s great; we all have to remember where we come from.”
Photo caption: Deirdre O’Connell, the new CEO of Daniel Gale. (Courtesy photo)