Think you can make millions from your real estate empire? Take a cue from Forbes‘ 54th richest self-made woman in America, Douglas Elliman CEO Dorothy “Dottie” Herman, whose name is synonymous with major real estate success.
With a personal net worth estimated at $270 million, Herman stands alongside other entrepreneurial and talented newcomers to Forbes’ list, including singer Celine Dion (no. 37), pop star Taylor Swift (no. 60), actress and entrepreneur Jessica Alba (no. 42) and online retailer NastyGal CEO Sophia Amoruso (no. 53).
As CEO and co-owner of Dougas Elliman, Herman runs the fourth largest real estate brokerage in the nation and the largest real estate firm in New York. Douglas Elliman, based in Huntington Station, services Manhattan and the Hamptons, two of the most exclusive and costly markets in the U.S.
In 2015, DE facilitated $22.3 billion in transactions, translating to $600 million in sales.
Herman began her path in real estate success in Long Island as a real estate broker at the former Merrill Lynch site, which was later acquired by Prudential Long Island Realty. In 1989, Herman acquired the brokerage from Prudential and partnered with Howard Lorber to purchase Douglas Elliman for $72 million in 2003.
Although she is now the richest self-made woman in American real estate, Herman’s childhood wasn’t easy. She was in a car crash that killed her mother and left her father disabled when she was just 10, and her injuries led to ongoing seizures.
Herman convinced Prudential to loan her $7 million for the sale to run the company on her own back in the ‘80s, told Forbes her favorite words to live by are, “Never let people tell you that you can’t,” and “If you have a vision, follow it.”
Herman is also a past Inman 101 winner, recognized for her passion and strive in the competitive and complicated world of real estate.
The no. 1 spot on Forbes’ list went to Diane Hendricks, who holds a $4.9 billion dollar net worth — up $1.2 billion from last year, when she held second place. Hendricks started ABC Supply, the largest U.S. wholesale distributor of roofing and siding, in 1982 with her late husband, Ken.