Editor’s note: As part of our online special Real Estate Quarterly this month, we asked several longtime employees of Ebby Halliday Companies about the late founder of the real estate firm, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.
Mary Poss works at Ebby Halliday Companies Preston Center office, and was recruited by Halliday to make a career change. This is her Q&A.
PN: How long have you been working for Ebby?
Mary Poss: “Ebby called me when I was leaving City Hall and said it was time for me to join her company, and I immediately said, “I can do that,” and I have been in Real Estate for 15 years. (Ebby had asked me to join her company in the late 80’s and I told her I couldn’t because I was a banker.)”
PN: What are a couple of your favorite memories of Ebby Halliday?
MP: “The memories of Ebby are all wonderful. We met in Galveston at a Keep Texas Beautiful Meeting in the late ’80s. We worked on numerous charitable events together from that day forward. Her late husband, Maurice, recruited me to run the Greater Dallas Crime Commission. There are endless great memories. One was Ebby’s 100th birthday party at the Meyerson with hundreds of her friends. The festivities continued well after midnight, and Ebby was there for every minute of it. Another was a dinner to honor former President George and Laura Bush at the Bush Library. Ebby was invited and could bring one guest. I was shocked when she invited me for what was an exceptional evening.”
PN: How has the business changed since you started working for Ebby?
MP: “The advancements in technology provide agents and their buyers and sellers much more information with which to make decisions. Transactions move faster. You can get more done with fewer people than has ever been possible. Today, the market continues to be relatively strong using virtual tours during this COVID pandemic.”
PN: What do you think Ebby would make of what is going on nowadays – first with the increased use of technology in the real estate world, but also selling homes during a major pandemic?
MP: “Ebby always embraced new technology. It seemed to me that she listened to the ideas of those around her, and was not afraid to take a chance with something new and unproven. I found this to be very remarkable for someone of her age.
During this pandemic, Ebby would have been constantly searching for ways to help those in need. She would have written large checks to charities and non-profits even though the luncheons and galas had been cancelled. She would really miss seeing all of her friends and would have probably been on the phone 16 hours every day. And she would certainly be missing her favorite pastime—watching sports.
Ebby would offer agents the following advice: In the down times, you have to work twice a hard. She’d tell them that her best years were the down years because she doubled her efforts and worked harder. She would tell them to stay safe and follow the guidelines.”