SPOTLIGHT ON: Pat Palumbo - A Starring Role in Real Estate
Mary Prenon | July 7, 2016
Pat Palumbo may have the most memorable voice message in the entire real estate community. In fact, it will definitely catch you off guard. What you’ll hear is a personal message from international stage and screen actor Hugh Jackman, posing as her “assistant.”
“It really is him,” explained Palumbo, a sales agent with Houlihan Lawrence’s Somers office. The two met back in 2003 when Jackman was doing “The Boy from Oz” on Broadway, and was not nearly as famous as he is today. Palumbo has been involved with Broadway Cares, Equity Fights Aids and Gods Love We Deliver since 1995, and Jackman also jumped on the fundraising bandwagon while working on Broadway.
“He’s a genuinely warm, friendly person and wanted to support us in any way possible,” said Palumbo. “As a result, we developed a great friendship. It was his first time on Broadway and I even helped him with his lines!”
A Realtor since 2008, Palumbo previously worked with Century 21 Marciano in New Rochelle and Judy Johnson Real Estate Inc. in Somers. “I’ve always been interested in real estate and architecture,” she said. Her friendship with Anthony Marciano eventually coaxed her into a real estate career.
Prior to discovering her love for listing and selling homes, Palumbo enjoyed a successful career in marketing and public relations. Armed with a Communications degree from Iona College, she headed to Manhattan to work in advertising and media planning. “It was creative and challenging to determine the best ways to reach an audience. It was like putting puzzle pieces together,” she said. Some of her accounts included the U.S. Army, AT& T, BMW, and other consumer products.
Later, she got involved with development for Preston High School in the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx. “Jennifer Lopez actually graduated from that school,” she added. Palumbo started the alumni newsletter and annual fundraising events. “It was a really wonderful experience!”
After marrying in 1983 and starting a family shortly afterward, Palumbo took on marketing and public relations consulting jobs from her home office. She worked with local businesses, community organizations and also the Special Olympics. When her children were small, she also did substitute teaching.
She considered returning to school for a Master’s Degree in Education, but instead switched to Marriage and Family Therapy, with Pastoral Counseling. “The thing is, I got along so well with those kids who were considered ‘troublemakers,’ that it gave me the idea to get into counseling,” said Palumbo.
In 2001, she set up a private practice, specializing in coaching and helping parents and their children to get structure in their lives. “It was very rewarding,” she noted. Later, she started a family program at St. Joseph’s Church in Croton Falls, encouraging many of the local children to get involved in volunteering and community service.
When Palumbo eventually gave some thought to working in real estate, she assumed it would be much easier than it actually was. “In 2005, if you were breathing, you were selling,” she quipped. “I thought ‘how hard can it be?’” However, by 2008—when she finally got her license—the market had changed drastically. “I actually thought I broke the market!” she added.
She soon found comfort and comradery in the Women’s Council of Realtors (WCR), Empire Chapter. “I remember meeting Carol Christiansen at a lunch and she just never allowed me to leave without joining,” said Palumbo, who serves as its president this year. “It continues to be a wonderful experience because real estate is based on relationships.”
One of her biggest achievements as a member of the Women’s Council of Realtors was presenting “The Midtown Men in Concert” at the Tarrytown Music Hall. The concert featured the four stars from the original cast of “The Jersey Boys” and benefited the Wounded Warrior Project.
Palumbo met Tony Award-winner Christian Hoff on Broadway during “The Jersey Boys” run. They are now business partners in support of the V Foundation for Cancer Research, founded by Jim Valvano, former basketball coach at Iona College and North Carolina State University, as well as a sports commentator for ABC and ESPN. Valvano died of cancer in 1993. Palumbo and Hoff recently held a “Tony Night” event at Palm West in Manhattan, raising $10,000 for cancer research.
To date, she is still actively involved with Broadway Cares and is also a member of the Drama League, which encourages and supports young directors and actors. While she loves to be busy, Palumbo does value her free time and spends it reading, writing, cooking and traveling with her husband of 33 years, Anthony. The couple has three grown children: Jackie, 26; Katie, 23 and Thomas, 20.
Of her many careers, Palumbo rates real estate the best. “The biggest satisfaction is being part of one of the most important decisions people will make in their lives—buying a home,” she said. “I’m there to make it easier, less stressful, and provide guidance.”
As for her Hugh Jackman voicemail, Palumbo admits that many people think it’s an impersonator and not the real thing. “I even had one client from South America who had no idea who he was,” she laughed. “He told me I should probably get a new assistant because the one on the voicemail didn’t seem to be that good!”