Working Mom Wednesday: do what is right for you

  • The Free Mama
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  • February 10, 2016
  • Today is my mom’s birthday, so I could think of no better woman to feature in this week’s interview than Pam Gyllenborg!

    Like many women, my mom’s career path hasn’t always been straight and easy. She’s been a Spanish teacher, a travel agent, a stay at home mom.

    She’s dedicated her life to philanthropy regardless of whether or not she was working outside of the home. From the Kansas City Symphony to the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired and a hundred organizations in between, my mom has always worked hard to improve our local community through service.

    But with her children out of the house {and now married with babies of our own}, my mom dusted off her briefcase and headed back to work as a real estate agent. She’s grown an impressive business through her philanthropic and social networks and her outstanding reputation.

    While building her career, my mom’s also managed to set aside time to care for her grandchildren {my children} one day a week. This has been an incredible blessing in my life to allow me to work while keeping childcare costs in check.

    She is truly an outstanding wife, mother, grandmother, friend and businesswoman!


    TFM: Hi, mom! Happy Birthday! You don’t look a day over 40 😉 Why don’t we start with you telling everyone what you do.

    Mom: I am a Realtor, a Senior Sales Executive for 12 years with Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate.

    TFM: What do you enjoy about working in real estate?

    Mom: The favorite part of my job is the many friendships that I have built with my clients. These relationships are multi generational now. Nothing pleases me more than to have helped a parent and now their children in their real estate needs.

    TFM: You’ve always been a people-person. I don’t think we’ve ever left the house without you bumping into someone you know! But no job is perfect, so what has been the hardest part?

    Mom: Thanks to technology, I can be reached 24/7. I’m constantly at the “beck and call” of my clients no matter what day or time it is, which can make it difficult to make plans.

    TFM: That makes sense and I think a lot of working moms face the same challenge of never being able to turn off work. So give me an example of a Realtor’s work day?

    Mom: Each day is different except for Thursday which is my grandson, Henry’s babysitting day. The entire day is about him!

    TFM: Henry sure does love his Gigi 🙂

    Mom: However, most mornings I start by addressing my emails and texts. It is important to keep on top of the market so I check MLS for new listings, changes in price and status. Then I take time to communicate by updating current clients and touching base with past clients. I do that by phone, email, newsletters, snail mail, and in person lunches and coffee dates. I spend afternoons working on marketing, listing presentations, staging homes for showings, previewing homes or attending price opinions for agents. I end the day by going to an exercise class.

    TFM: Now, you reentered the workforce after two decades of raising children. Why?

    Mom: My nest was empty, and I was tired of being a professional volunteer. I wanted to enter the work force one more time. I wanted a job with time flexibility and not to be chained to a desk all day. Real Estate seemed like a good fit and a way that I could join forces with my husband who has been in the construction business for 30 years {Gyllenborg Construction}.

    TFM: Were there any struggles when you first went back to work?

    Mom: When I first got into real estate, I joined a top KC team in order to learn the business from the best. Technology was and continues to be my biggest challenge. Now my husband and I have partnered together in the business. He builds the homes and I sell them, or I sell the homes and he remodels them. I think that we are the only ones in KC that offer the services of a licensed contractor and Realtor together. And so far, we have not had one fight or disagreement!!

    TFM: High school sweethearts to business partners. You two love birds! If you hadn’t chosen real estate, what do you think you would be?

    Mom: Well, I love clothes and fashion. My closets are stuffed full! I worked in a very trendy clothing store in high school and college selling, modeling and doing window and store displays. I also enjoy interior design which I utilize when staging my clients’ homes. As you know when I babysit, I am always rearranging your furniture. You are never sure what your house is going to look like when you come home!

    TFM: This is a true statement. While we’re usually not pleased when we get home, we also never move it back. You must know a thing or two! You also held a few jobs before staying home with kids…do any of them stand out to you?

    Mom: I was a travel agent and a Spanish teacher at Barstow School. I loved to travel so the travel business caught my interest out of college. I started at a time with no computers. We hand wrote the tickets in first class and coach fares only established by a book that came out once a month. The industry would give us free “Fam” or familiarization trips to fly to and review their resorts. It was a fun career until the airlines became deregulated. Discount fares and computers changed the game.

    TFM: A lot of working moms decide to stay home for the early years. What’s your best piece of advice for those deciding to go back to work?

    Mom: Do what is right for you!

    TFM: That’s right. Parenting {and working} is not one size fits all. One thing we do all have in common? We’re not perfect. Tell me about a time you messed up.

    Mom: I still have nightmares about this one! When I was doing event planning for not-for-profits, I hired a friend to do the catering for a large car show and auction for 300 people. She failed to provide enough food or staff for the evening and half the guests did not get any dinner! Very embarrassing!

    TFM: How did you overcome it?

    Mom: I try to follow the Frozen philosophy of “Let it Go!” I learned here that you must check and double check references and past performances, even if they are your friend.

    TFM: You’ve been watching too many Disney movies, mom. Be honest: parenting vs. grandparenting?

    Mom: Grandparenting is the best…just unconditional love and spoiling! You do not have the worries and the day to day grind of parents.

    TFM: Yeah, yeah. Well, what would you say is the best part of being a mom?

    Mom: Giving life, nurturing that life with your heart and soul, and then watching that life grow and succeed in the world is the most beautiful thing. I could not be prouder of my daughters and the wonderful women and mothers they are today.

    TFM: {Blushing} Thanks, mom! But I’m sure I still drive you a little nuts after all of these years. What keeps you sane? Besides QVC….

    Mom: Of course, my family and friends are my greatest blessing. I also enjoy exercise like Zumba, Tai Chi or Curves. I do think it is important to be good to yourself in this busy, hectic life. I recommend everyone treat themselves to a massage or mani/pedi once a month!

    TFM: You’re buying, right? Just teasing…this month is on me. Happy Birthday, mom!


    If you’re looking to buy, sell, build or remodel a home in Kansas City, I highly suggest you get in touch with my mom {and dad, John}. I may be bias, but they are total real estate rock stars.

    Want to be interviewed for #workingmomwednesday? Contact me to find out how.

    3 thoughts on “Working Mom Wednesday: do what is right for you

    1. Pam is the perfect example of mom/wife/volunteer/professional! And I remember the event of which she speaks ?. She handled it beautifully.

    2. I’ve known your mom since we were on the swim team at KCCC about a million years ago. I moved from KC when we were in our early 20’s and thanks to Facebook Pam and I have found each other again! This article filled in a lot of gaps for me. I met you when you were a baby! I loved reading the article and Pam hasn’t changed a bit. Always full of energy and positive forward movement. If I had stayed in KC we would have been best friends all these years. She is the best and I am glad she was born…Happy Birthday Pam!! And all year long!! You haven’t aged at all…not fair.

    3. This was very fun to read. I love Pam and John as individuals and feel great that our paths crossed again during these years. I know how highly regarded they are in the real estate field and in the construction arena as well. Plus they are fun!
      At times, hearing how they enjoy their daughters and grandchildren – it was a pleasure to read about that too! Well done with the interview and happy birthday Pam!

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