Guest blogger: Brooke Balco, PR Communications Specialist
Most people can only dream of turning their lifelong passion in to a career. Catherine Leonard is one of the lucky ones, drawing a connection from her years of community service dedicated to helping the homeless to finding her clients the perfect home as a Realtor. One thing has always remained the same- the importance of “home’.
Catherine began her crusade to help the homeless in 1984 while living abroad in Paris and London and later running the soup kitchen for the Grand Central Station parish of Saint Agnes in New York City. She relocated to Evanston in 2000 with her husband and kids where she first learned about Connections for the Homeless, a local North Shore organization committed to preventing homelessness and preserving community. Catherine currently serves as President on the Board of Directors for Connections, a one year term that began in October of 2012.
When Catherine made the move to the Midwest, she also made a major career move. “In my years living in New York I had a successful career in advertising working for one of the world’s largest agencies. My experience in the corporate environment was invaluable and continues to shape the way I manage my business today, and I knew that the skills I gained in advertising would transfer perfectly to real estate,” explains Catherine. “I decided to become a real estate agent because I knew that helping people find their dream homes could give me the sense of satisfaction I was looking for. It has been such a rewarding experience.”
As a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage since 2005, and joining the Claire Sucsy Group in 2011, Catherine found a way to leverage her affiliation with the company to raise awareness for her cause. She introduced Connections for the Homeless to the Coldwell Banker Foundation in 2011 and the two organizations quickly became partners. The Coldwell Banker Foundation has since granted the charity with a total of $13,000.
The Claire Sucsy Group has become large proponents for the cause, encouraging others to get involved as much as possible. For the past two years the group has purchased a table at the annual Connections gala, and they have successfully rallied the management of Coldwell Banker to do the same. In addition, Catherine’s involvement with Connections led the Coldwell Banker Foundation to underwrite an ad campaign for Connections raising awareness for homelessness.
Catherine believes that everyone deserves a home, and they proudly continue to serve the community and their clients to help them achieve their dreams. Catherine’s experiences and lifelong values have come full circle in connecting her passion and career.