Corcoran CEO Pamela Liebman

Pamela Liebman

May 02, 2007 11:06AM

President and chief executive officer, the Corcoran Group, one of Manhattan’s biggest brokerages.

What is your full name?
Pamela Beth Liebman.

When is your birthday?
July 4, 1962.

Where did you grow up?
Staten Island.

Were you a good student?
Yes. Still, I was one of those students that they said, “Imagine if she applied herself, she’d be a great student.”

Where do you live?
I live in New Jersey, and I have a second home. I’m waiting for it to be done. It’s at Canyon Ranch in Miami, and I plan to spend a lot of time there. I bought in the Element [Condominiums at 555 West 59th Street, due to open this year]. Right now I’m thinking about keeping it as a pied-à-terre.

What was the first job you ever had?
Babysitter, when I was 13. Then I was a lifeguard, and that was pretty much my job through high school. Then in college one summer I was a camp counselor, which I hated. That was the only job I really hated.

Why did you hate it?
The kids [laughs]. The kids didn’t listen as well as I would have expected, and they tried my patience, which back then was very little to begin with.

Do your kids try your patience?
No. Sometimes [laughs]. No, it’s different with my own kids. They’re much cuter.

When did you join Corcoran?
In 1984, pretty much right after I graduated from college [at the University of Massachusetts Amherst].

Why did you decide to go into real estate?
I just always had a thing for real estate. When I was a little kid my aunt lived in California, and she was a real estate broker. I wanted to go to work with her, so she took me to see some houses, and I thought it was fun. I liked the idea that you could create your own destiny in real estate.

Do you earn as much money as you’d like?
Does anybody? [laughs] I do OK.

What is the biggest professional gaffe you ever made?
One time early on when I was still doing deals, I had this client I really didn’t like, and I had to send him a fax. I wrote a really not
nice, but sort of funny, fax and accidentally sent it. And then I had my assistant call and beg his secretary to rip it up and throw it away, which she did. It said how much I couldn’t stand dealing with him and what I thought of him as a client — everything I really would like to say, but would never say.

What is an example of a big personal gaffe you made?
One time I was with a bunch of my girlfriends, and I went on a diatribe about how much I hate tattoos on women, and after shooting my mouth off for five minutes, my very good friend turned to me and said, “You do know I have two, right?”

What was the biggest obstacle on your path to success?
If I had any one personal obstacle, it’s probably my impatience and my desire to get something done right away. And as time has gone on, I’ve tempered that.

Barbara Corcoran, the founder of Corcoran and your predecessor as CEO, was referred to as the Queen of New York City Real Estate. Are you a queen, too?
My friends and kids will sometimes refer to me as, “Oh, the queen wants her — whatever.” I like to be catered to in a queen-like way.

If someone wrote a book about you, what would the title be?
“The Pocket Rocket.” Twice when I played golf, people called me that because I’m like 5’1″. So, the pocket rocket, you know — small but
with a lot of power.

How much money do you have in your wallet right now?
Very little. I am all about the credit cards.

What’s something people don’t know about you?
I like rap music. My iPod is full of rap music with everyone from Ludacris to Jay-Z to the Game. When people borrow my iPod, they’re
like, “What is this?”

What do you read every day?
I read the New York Post with my coffee and the Wall Street Journal in the car.

Cover to cover or headlines only?
In the Post I read everything through Page Six, and then the business section. In the Journal, I read whatever stories interest me. And I know I probably should say I read the New York Times, but I do only on Sunday.

What’s the last book you read?
I just finished one on vacation by Michael Palmer called “The Fifth Vial” [St. Martin’s Press, 2007].

Where did you go on vacation?
I was at Casa de Campo [resort in the Dominican Republic].

What did you eat for dinner last night?
A bowl of cereal. I had just come back from vacation and ate probably more than I wanted to for the week. I’m not a big dinner person anyway. I eat a big breakfast, and I’ll have lunch, but dinner is very light unless I am out.

Who cooks at home?
My housekeeper.

What do you eat for a snack?
I’m a rice cake kind of person.

Who is the boss at home, you or your husband?
As my husband says, “You’re the boss until I want to be the boss” [laughs]. Although, sometimes I think my eight-year-old is the boss. She’s got a lot to say.

Interview by Lauren Elkies


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