It’s all in the family at Houlihan-Parnes

By Jovana Rizzo | October 09, 2008 02:22PM

The fifth generation of Houlihans just joined the ranks at Houlihan-Parnes/iCap Realty Advisors. Managing Partner James Houlihan’s daughters Christie and Kelly joined the family business, which was started by their great-great-grandfather, this year.

Before coming on board, Christie, 25, spent three years working in Washington, D.C. as a policy researcher for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and was involved in the re-authorization of the Children’s Health Insurance program.

“[Working at Houlihan] is different from any other job because you have more of a connection to the success of the business,” Christie said. “The story of how our company has grown is remarkable. It started with or great- great- grandfather coming over from Ireland and working as a carpenter.” Houlihan, based in White Plains, is a real estate services firm with
departments in commercial leasing and management, residential
management and mortgage servicing.

Christie started working in January, and her younger sister Kelly joined her at the company in August.

Kelly, 23, graduated from New York University in May with a degree in early childhood education and psychology, but said she knew early into her senior year that she wanted to join the family business after interning at Houlihan-Parnes throughout college.

Both Kelly and Christie said their father never pushed them to work for the company, but the real estate seed was planted in their minds at an early age.

“When we were little, we would play games writing up deeds,” Christie said. “We heard all these terms and didn’t entirely know what they meant. One time we wrote up a deed to our little brother.”

The sisters don’t have a permanent home at Houlihan yet, and are testing out all of the departments before settling on one. Christie said she is leaning towards commercial financing, and Kelly is interested in the marketing side. Christie is also currently attending law school at Fordham University.

“Just growing up, watching my dad and interning here, I knew how much of a role law plays in every single conversation,” Christie said, adding that she doesn’t intend to leave Houlihan to join a law firm after graduation.

“Kelly and I both intend to be here forever and one day to be the next generation that runs the company,” she said.

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