In many years as a city hall and business reporter, I dealt with a lot of real estate professionals. The successful ones always presented an unwaveringly optimistic facade, no matter the reality or their actual opinions. So when I went to the offices of Coldwell Banker the Real Estate Group Inc. to interview company Chair Joyce Bytof about her charitable legacy, I expected to get the happy Realtor face.
What I experienced instead was a real and touching conversation with a woman who knows that she has more she wants to do than time to do it.
Joyce (in the Fox Valley, her first name is all you need) suffers from a rare form of cancer that affects multiple organs. She has the resources to have tried various experimental treatments and has long outlived her earlier prognosis. She attributes that to good doctors and faith that God has more for her to do.
What she has done already is remarkable. She started at Bytof Realty as a clerical worker. She explained how she wanted to be a real estate agent, but husband Otto said it would be unfair to the other agents and she should stay in the office. There was a detectable twinkle in her eye when she said, “And so I did.”
She assumed leadership in 1988 and took the business from three offices and about 80 real estate agents to 17 offices and 450-500 agents. I encourage you to read about our visit and watch the video highlights.
She talked about her business legacy being a company that cares, and her family legacy being finding suitable homes for all of the generations. She and Otto have included future generations of the Fox Valley community in their legacy by joining our Legacy Circle and planning a gift to the Community Foundation to support favorite causes.
Joyce knows now is the time to consider her legacy. Most of us won’t be given that notice. Whenever you decide to plan the legacy to be left to your community by your company or your family, contact the Community Foundation. We can help.
David Horst is the communications specialist at the Community Foundation. Email him at [email protected].
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