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Key Idea: Turn Raw Talent Into Leadership

Mary Frances Burleson (pictured at far right), president of Ebby Halliday Real Estate turned raw, talent into leadership with Ebby Halliday as her mentor.

Key Question:


Recognize potential then take time to teach those you hope will take on leadership roles in the future.

Q: Did Mary Frances start out on a management track?

A: No. She started out as an old-fashioned secretary to Ebby. To Ebby's credit, she didn't pigeonhole Mary Frances; she helped her grow into the big job she has today. Mary Frances advises anyone who wants to succeed to get close to the best people in the industry that you want to be involved in and learn everything you can from that person.

As the business owner then, turn Mary Frances' advice toward yourself. By being the best at what you do, you will attract the raw talent you need to grow your business.

Think about it

Do you delegate within your company or do you personally make or approve every decision? Do you delegate and then get out of the way? Who on your team now needs to grow? What can you teach them to do to eventually turn over to them? What needs to move off of your desk and onto the desk of someone else?

Clip from: Ebby Halliday built a business and a legacy.

Dallas: Ebby Halliday is a legend in this city.  She started her business in 1946 with nothing but the love of her family. Classic Americana, this is a rags to riches story. She went from the Great Depression to create a multi-billion dollar business.  She is truly one of today's pioneers and quiet heroes. .Today she has over 1500 independent realtors, hundreds who have become millionaires on her watch.

Ebby  will tell us how she broke through the gender barriers long before there ever was a feminist movement, how she found the person who replaced her at the top and why she gave the company to her employees.

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Ebby Halliday Real Estate

Ebby Halliday, Chairman

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Real Estate

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Turn Raw Talent Into Leadership

EBBY: In those days there was no examination. If you had a warm pulse and $3, you could get a license. In the '50s, Mary Frances Burleson came in. She was a part-time Kelly Girl secretary.

HATTIE: So when you met Ebby, you thought, `This is the opportunity'?

MARY FRANCES BURLESON (President of Halliday Agency): Yes, because when I went in the Preston Center office there didn't seem to be an age barrier. There were ladies in that office of all ages all educational backgrounds. And, all took it as a great opportunity. And, I watched their coming and going. They were not tied to a desk; they were not tied to a routine. They were tied to working with clients in a very productive way, which was very exciting. And Ebby had just finished her year as national president of the Women's Council of Realtors.

MARY: (voiceover) She had traveled, she was doing a lot of speaking, and I thought, `Oh, goodness. So there are no real barriers for her.' So she was accepted as a Realtor, even though she was a woman, and was able to speak and deal with great credibility, which was a great inspiration for me.

EBBY: And she--it didn't take her long to become a real integral part of our [company]--and she is now the president and considered one of the most informed people in the business today.

MARY: At that stage I had been there long enough, and I officed next to her so I could hear her when she negotiated, when she talked on the phone. I was like a sponge. I would encourage anyone if you're going to aspire to do something, go to the best person in that field and be a sponge.

EBBY: (Voiceover) I knew right from the beginning that she had all of the ingredients. We groom everybody who has potential.


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