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Enticing challenge for executive

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  • | 11:00 a.m. April 15, 2016
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After nearly 40 years in real estate, including two decades in regional executive roles with Coldwell Banker, Sue Wolverton is finally ready to do something different.

But Wolverton, 67, isn't retiring. At least not yet.

Wolverton, instead, recently took a similar high-ranking executive position with a rival firm, Naples-based Premier Sotheby's International Realty. At Coldwell Banker Wolverton was the senior vice president of the Southwest Florida region, where she oversaw 950 sales associates in nearly 20 offices from Naples and Marco Island north to Bradenton.

At Premier Sotheby's Wolverton is an executive vice president, with a focus on the Sarasota, Tampa and Orlando markets. Premier Sotheby's posted sales volume of $4.1 billion in 2015, up 19% over 2014, and has 35 offices throughout Florida and North Carolina.

It's a significant career change at an age when most people are planning retirement, not new challenges. “I felt this was exciting and enticing,” Wolverton tells Coffee Talk. She adds, half-jokingly, that retirement wasn't an option because she and her husband, area financial planner Woody Wolverton, have a plane they love to fly — and need to pay for. “We like to play hard and work hard,” she says.

On a more serious note, Wolverton says a big reason she jumped to a competing company was a chance to work again with Judy Green, the president and CEO of Premier Sotheby's. Green approached Wolverton a few months ago with an offer. “I have a high respect and high regard for her,” says Wolverton.

The feelings were mutual. “I personally worked with Sue for many years and consider it our great fortune to have her on our team,” Green says. “I know that her passion, her warmth and her leadership will make those who meet and work with Sue feel the same.”

The biggest challenge Wolverton faced in the transition was the actual leaving. There was no goodbye tour or party. Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate President Clark Toole told employees and managers about her departure on a Friday afternoon in late March, after Wolverton had officially left. “It was a difficult decision,” she says. “I'm extremely close with the management team and employees.”


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