Douglas Elliman broker Aimee Fink was recently named NY1’s New Yorker of the Week for her outstanding devotion to community and volunteer work. Not only is Fink an enthusiastic licensed real estate professional, she integrates her occupation with her passion — giving back to those in need in New York City.
Prior to starting at Douglas Elliman, Fink spent 30 years in the luxury fashion industry as a leading salesperson for high-end labels. Her attention to detail and keen eye for well-appointed goods helps her assist clients with high-end property deals. Aimee has also earned a Certified Buyer Representative (CBR) and Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE) designation.
But her committed and specialized conduct isn’t her sole defining grace: Aimee opened three companies before joining Douglas Elliman, two of which were related to the healthcare industry. The first was a homecare business she bought, grew and sold, and the second was a not-for-profit called Medical Angels that benefited seniors.
The non-profit took donations like wheelchairs, crutches, hospital beds and walkers and redistributed them to individuals without medical coverage or those lacking government assistance to provide them with such necessities. Not only does Medical Angels help local seniors obtain medical equipment to achieve a higher quality of life, it kept such equipment from being unnecessarily thrown away. Just four months after it was founded, the company had already kept 14 tons of equipment from entering local landfills.
Now, Aimee devotes her free time to giving back to NYU Hospital, benefiting Project Playhouse– a nationwide program that assembles children’s playhouses for live auction– each week. She gives thanks to Douglas Elliman for encouraging her and other brokers to get involved with charities in the NYC area and donates a portion of each closed transaction to charity, allowing clients to choose where their sale or purchase benefits.
Inman had a chance to chat with Aimee on her professional life and personal intentions after her recent NY1 accolade.
Some of Aimee’s comments may be edited for clarity.
You’ve clearly devoted a lot of your personal time to charitable contributions, but what inspired you to integrate your professional real estate career and volunteering?
Prior to entering the real estate business, I owned and operated a home health care business in New Jersey. I (then) opened a non-profit business called Medical Angels. We accepted donations of used medical equipment and gave them to those in need. After the earthquake in Haiti we took (literally) tons of medical equipment to the areas most devastated. I found that I was deriving more gratification from Medical Angels than my health care business.
Does allowing your clients to choose a charity create positive rapport? Does this help build a level of trust between you and your clients?
Some people are involved in specific charities and they are happy to learn about my policy to donate in their name. Other people would like to give to charity but don’t really know how to get started. For these clients, I normally suggest charities that focus on children or pets. Everyone can relate to that.
How has Douglas Elliman specifically supported you with your Portable Playhouse initiatives? Does Dougles Elliman offer brokers opportunities to give back via company events, donation matches, etc.?
Douglas Elliman promotes charity, both in terms of financial donations as well as sweat equity. I never made a big deal about my work with Portable Playhouse, so DE knew nothing about it. However, once I was selected as New Yorker of the Week, the entire DE marketing team began promoting my work with PP. Even Dottie Herman posted the link to the television interview on her Facebook page. Not because it made the firm look good, but because of a genuine feeling of compassion for the kids at NYU Hospital.
What drew you to Portable Playhouse and NYU Hospital over other charities?
I love making jewelry and am an active member of The Bead Society (yes, there really is such a thing). The head of the society got word that Hackensack Hospital in New Jersey was looking for a volunteer to join Portable Playhouse and make jewelry with the kids in the hospital. My health care business was close by in Fort Lee, so I volunteered. When I left New Jersey after selling my business, I reached out to Portable Playhouse and asked about opportunities to volunteer in NYC. Fortunately for me, NYU was looking for someone, and as it was close to my apartment, it worked out perfectly. I am so happy being a part of Portable Playhouse and helping countless children at NYU.
Do you have any goals or plans for the future with real estate and volunteer work on a broader level?
Being an active sales agent at Douglas Elliman, the city’s largest and most prestigious real estate brokerage, in conjunction with my work at the hospital and trying to balance time with my husband and family is all the challenge I need right now.