SPOTLIGHT ON: Donna Riniti
Mary Prenon | April 2017
Daily Puzzle Solver
Donna Riniti, senior managing director of Coldwell Banker’s 63-person Yorktown Heights office, credits a bad experience years ago with a Texas real estate agent for prompting her to get into the real estate business.
Originally from Texas, Riniti decided to sell her home on her own prior to moving to the Northeast. She dealt with a local agent who was representing the buyer, but it took 13 months to close the deal. “Everything she told me was incorrect, and there were problems after problems,” Riniti recalled. “It was really a terrible experience but it made me think that if I were in real estate, I’d want to make sure that everyone is so educated that no other buyer or seller would have to go through what I did.”
Riniti did eventually make the switch to real estate, but not before enjoying a successful career in the retail industry. For almost seven years, she worked with Armani Exchange as a regional manager and later, vice president of stores. At the time, she oversaw 10 stores in the Houston metro area.
Her next stop was with the Gap, where she spent almost 15 years. She eventually became vice president of store operations, where she was responsible for overseeing 43 stores in 17 states. During this time, Riniti also mentored and coached a team of 1,000 sales associates.
“I think working in retail really helped me in my real estate career,” she said. “I dabbled in commercial real estate by handling leases for new store locations, and I also gained a lot of people skills from recruiting.”
It was in 2004 when Riniti earned her real estate license, honing her new skills in her hometown of Westport, CT. She began working with Weichert Realtors, then Prudential and eventually, Coldwell Banker in 2007.
While a real estate rookie, Riniti was often approached about management opportunities. “While my forte has always been motivating people to build their businesses, I knew I still had a lot more to learn about real estate,” she added. “I would always say, ‘OK, someday I will do that.’”
Four years later, she became the manager of Coldwell Banker’s Bedford office and later, its Yorktown Heights office. Under her leadership, the Yorktown Heights office consistently ranked as the number one office in Yorktown, Cortlandt and Peekskill for closed transactions…
Riniti was also recognized with the prestigious President’s Council award, an award presented by Coldwell Banker’s parent company to sales office managers throughout the country who demonstrate exemplary leadership and management skills.
Riniti eventually rose to the ranks of regional vice president for Coldwell Banker’s Westchester County region. She spent 18 months in that capacity, and then returned to head up the Yorktown Heights office in January 2017. “I just missed being with the agents,” she said. “The corporate position had me all over the place and I wasn’t able to spend a lot of one-on-one time with the agents—something that I find very rewarding. I just love being back.”
With more than 30 years of management experience, Riniti still finds every day to be different. “What I like best is that each day is like a puzzle and I like to solve puzzles,” she said.
Riniti is also serving her second year as a member of the HGMLS Board of Directors. “It’s been such a wonderful experience,” she said. “I like to always know the latest things going on so that I can share that with our agents.”
When she’s not managing her office or attending HGMLS board meetings, Riniti likes to read, cook and spend time with her three grown children and two granddaughters, aged two and one.
For someone considering a career in real estate, Riniti offers some simple advice—have great self-confidence, enjoy working with people, and don’t let any rejections stop you.
Perhaps what’s most surprising about this girl from Texas is that Riniti retains no southern accent. “But every once in a while I will let an occasional ‘y’’all’ slip through or tell people I’m ‘fixing to do’ something!”