Nevada Women’s Fund honors Dickson Realty president

Nancy Fennell comes from a long line of strong southern women, and it has shown in her leadership of her company, locally based Dickson Realty.

The Nevada Women’s Fund has chosen Fennell, 63, as their 2016 Hall of Fame inductee. Fennell, originally from North Carolina, co-owns the business with several partners, including husband Harvey Fennell and son Tom Fennell.

Fennell, who bought part of Dickson Realty with her husband in the late 1980s and bought the majority of it in the 1990s, will receive the honor at the fund’s 25th Annual Salute to Women of Achievement luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, May 26 in the Grand Ballroom of the Grand Sierra Resort.

“A member of the event committee for our very first event, Nancy has dedicated herself to making Northern Nevada a better place to live for all of us. We congratulate her on this award,” event chair Karen Purcell said.

Fennell has been a part of the success of many non-profit organizations in the area, particularly The Nevada Museum of Art, the Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, the University of Nevada, the Community Foundation of Western Nevada, Thunderbird Lodge and many more.

“The Nevada Women’s Fund is thrilled and honored to acknowledge Nancy’s contributions to our community,” said Nevada Women’s Fund president, Isabelle Rodriguez Wilson.  “A former Woman of Achievement honoree herself, Nancy has freely given of her time and talents to help improve the quality of life for hundreds of women in Northern Nevada. She is a community leader and a wonderful addition to our Hall of Fame.”

In 2000, Fennell was honored with the Matt Gibbons Memorial Award from the Reno Sparks Association of Realtors. In 2004, Fennell received the Hannah Humanitarian Award from the Committee to Aid Abused Women.

Fennell spoke with the Reno Gazette-Journal about her success in her career:

Who are some of the women that you looked up to, growing up and along your career path?

There have been many but certainly my mother and her many sisters — all strong, capable southern women.  Today I am visiting with my 99-year-old Aunt Mildred, who still lives on her own on Topsail Island, N.C., still sharp as a tack.  I am blessed to work with many women in Dickson Realty who inspire me daily.

Your business has survived good times and bad in the housing market; what has been your key to success? 

Many of our employees and our agents have been with us for many years. We did what we had to do in the downturn but we made sure we could keep everyone employed and we used whatever resources we had to learn new skills, such as short sales and dealing with the banks as sellers during the foreclosure days.

Where do you see the housing market going in the next few years? 

In our market, we will have challenges in building and creating enough affordable housing for the new people moving into our area. Homebuyers will still compete with investors in purchasing affordable homes. Eventually, we will enter a balanced market, but it will take several more years.

What do you most enjoy about working in real estate?

Owning a home is such an important part of our lives in the U.S. Homes are a visible sign of our individuality. They create our neighborhoods and communities. I love working with REALTORS as they that are experts in the marketplace, and help people reach their real estate goals.

As the president of a company, what advice would you give to young professionals who want to lead their own company some day?

Prepare to work hard, hire people who are smarter than you are — or at least have different skill sets — listen to them and allow them to be as successful as you are.

Do you ever receive pushback in business dealings because you’re a woman? If so, how do you deal with that, and how would you recommend other women deal with that?

Over the years, I certainly have had pushback, but I have found that competency eventually overcomes all prejudices. At a certain point, with experience and hard work, women embrace their confidence, and it levels the playing field.

What are some of your goals — both for your business and your self — in the coming years? 

To grow our sales volume and profitability; to attract younger people into our industry and teach them how to be masters in real estate; and to attract leadership and management talent that enhances everyone’s success, and gives us the ability to participate in making our community the best it can be!


What: Nevada Women’s Fund Hall of Fame luncheon

When: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Thursday, May 26

Where: Grand Sierra Resort in the Grand Ballroom

Cost: $125 per ticket

The annual luncheon serves as a recognition event for women in the region for their professional, personal and community achievements. Honorees of the Women of Achievement Luncheon will participate in a morning of professional development followed by the recognition luncheon. If you are interested in sponsoring a table please contact the office at 775-786-2335

This article, authored by Jenny Kane, originally appeared in the RGJ on 5-19-2016