Deborah W. Heslop
Deborah W. Heslop Commercial Real Estate Broker Volk Company, Tucson, AZ

A long-time member of the Club, Debbie now lives in Tucson, where she continues her career in commercial real estate and her passion for gardening, which now often involves rattlesnakes!

Grew up:
I was an Army brat; born in DC and my spent my early childhood growing up in Carlinville, IL; Virginia; Stuttgart, Germany; El Paso, TX; and California. One day, after my father’s most recent tour of duty to Vietnam, we had a family conference and told him “no more Vietnam.” That’s when he resigned his officer’s commission and we moved to San Bernardino, CA to live with my grandparents.  During all these family moves, I attended sixth grade in three different schools in one year!

Now live in:
After 23 years in Boston, my husband and I moved to Tucson, AZ in 2000 “for a life adventure”. I still wake up missing Boston every day, but, for right now, we’re closer to both our families and it’s been great.

Current profession/title/company:
Commercial Real Estate Broker for Volk Company, Tucson.  I specialize in retail shopping centers.  My involvement spans selling land to the developer, working with the developer to lay out the shopping center, leasing space to anchor tenants and shop retailers, and then eventually selling the shopping center if that is the developer’s exit strategy.

When I was 21, I thought my profession/job would be:
A veterinarian--but I washed out at inorganic chemistry.

My dream job would be:
Doing exactly what I do BUT with shorter contingency periods, shorter escrows, quicker loan approvals with fewer borrower requirements, and NO zoning surprises!

My nightmare job would be:
Doing the same thing over and over, day in and day out, would make me absolutely nuts.

Favorite Sound: 
Dogs barking, kids playing, birds singing, and lawn mowers humming on a Saturday morning.  These neighborhood sounds give me a sense of peace and a sense that all is right in the world

Least favorite sound: 
The dentist’s drill--that’s why I brush my teeth like a maniac, so I won’t have to hear it!

Role models:
I’ve worked in several industries during my career and along the way there have been several senior women who have served as role models for me. In particular, Lois Lindauer from the Club really stands out. She has such a gentle, graceful way of getting things done. I so admire that about her management style. She leads a life of purpose and balance, and is generous and giving of her time, experience, and counsel. Lois is very effective, and incredibly genuine and warm.

Mentors: 
In one of my first jobs, in a university, I was presented with a daunting public speaking opportunity that was clearly outside my scope and ability at the time. I just could not do it. But my mentor took me aside and assured me that someday I would be ready for it, and would be able to comfortably take on this kind of challenge. Rather than dismiss my fears or condescend, she gave me just the conversation I needed to have at that time.  And space to grow.

When I worked at The Boston Company years ago, I had a boss who was always positive.  He came into work every day on an even keel, even if everyone around him was biting, back stabbing, and seemingly impossible to deal with. As a senior executive, he was constantly called upon to lead, manage, and motivate a host of different personality types and work styles.  By example, he taught me valuable lessons in how to navigate uncertain situations, blend talents, and how to get along with all types of people, even the difficult ones!

Best 4 books read in the last year:
1) “Reading Lolita in Tehran”, by Azar Nafisi--a truly remarkable read.
2) “The Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency” by Alexander McCall Smith--a delightful story about a young entrepreneur in Africa.
3) “Perennials for the Southwest: Plants that Flourish in Arid Gardens”, by Mary Irish--dog-eared as it is, a reminder that I haven’t quite managed the challenges of my front and back yards in the desert where we live.
4) “The Optimism Bias”, by Tali Sharot--with my mother diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, this kind of brain science makes for both fascinating and necessary reading.

My Boston Club moment: 
As a long time member, I’ve had a lot of moments. But I think having worked with men for most of my career, I always loved getting involved on Boston Club committees where I’d be exposed to the dynamic, high-powered and diverse working styles of the Club’s women. I always believe you have to “give to get,” and being on committees I always, always received more than I contributed.