Discover Lafayette: Trailblazers Nancy Van Eaton Prince and Gail Romero – Powerful Leaders in Real Estate and Women of Achievement
Sep 26, 2018 10:44AM
Nancy Van Eaton Prince began her real estate career in the 1960’s as she looked for the best way to make money to take care of her young family. A chance request to help the Junior League raise funds from local realtor agencies led Nancy to embark on a lifetime career as a realtor as it became apparent that she had a knack for “closing the deal.” With Nancy’s encouragement, Gail Romero became a licensed realtor in 1966 and joined forces with Nancy as a sales agent. In 1977, the two founded Van Eaton & Romero and have never looked back.
In the ensuing years, Van Eaton & Romero has been Lafayette’s real estate leader and consistently recognized as one of the top real estate firms in the country. Their firm joined forces with Latter & Blum in late 2012.
Nationally recognized as two of the most powerful women in real estate by Real Estate Marketing and Relocation Magazine, both are deeply respected throughout Acadiana for their philanthropic endeavors. Recently honored as Women of Achievement by Zonta International of Lafayette, Gail and Nancy were also honored by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Alumni Association in 2016. In 2015 Community Foundation selected Van Eaton & Romero to receive the Leaders in Philanthropy Corporate Award in recognition of its outstanding generosity to Acadiana.
This Discover Lafayette podcast interview with Nancy and Gail affords the opportunity to listen as they share their love of business, community, and their undying support of the arts and education. As longtime partners who survived the tumultuous economic times of the 1980’s oil bust and ensuing up and down times in the real estate market, the two speak candidly about how they held on and climbed out of the downturn by seeking work in the foreclosure market.
Of particular interest to young women in today’s business climate, Gail and Nancy discussed how they navigated through their early days in business when it was still definitely a man’s world. Rather than folding up her tent when treated like “the little lady who doesn’t understand business,” Nancy recounted a time when she respectfully befriended a fellow who didn’t think she would last in the world of predominantly male realtors. At the same time, the two gratefully acknowledge how their male managers have been an indispensable element of their management team. In particular, recently retired Van Eaton & Romero President Bill Bacque’s incredible acumen for numbers and business trends was cited by both as a critical component of their success.
Always wanting to be first in technology and trends in the real estate industry, Van Eaton & Romero was the first real estate firm in Louisiana to invest in computers in the early 1980’s. Utilizing DOS (disk operating system) software, Van Eaton & Romero were far ahead of their competitors in their willingness to jump in and embrace technology. UL – Lafayette played an important role in this early project, with the late Dr. James Oliver, and later Anne Pyle of ADP Solutions, noted as key visionaries in the successful computerization of Van Eaton’s listings and records. Anne Pyle confirmed that Gail and Nancy understood how to drive potential clients to Van Eaton & Romero’s phone banks by having the latest MLS data downloaded daily to the firm’s computer. As a result, buyers could always receive up to the minute data thanks to their investment in the computer system. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The most delightful part of the interview is getting to know Nancy Van Eaton Prince and Gail Romero better and appreciate their lifelong friendship which has a bond like no other. This interview is inspirational. You may listen to Nancy and Gail’s podcast at www.discoverlafayette.net.
Jan Swift is host of Discover Lafayette, an audio podcast focused on the people and rich culture of Lafayette, the Gateway to South Louisiana. www.discoverlafayette.net.
An attorney experienced in government and commercial law, she is affiliated with Swift & Rhoades, LLP. Jan most recently served as Executive Director of Upper Lafayette Economic Development Foundation.