Jane Quill takes chair at NoVA Assoc. of Realtors


When Jane Quill was installed as chairman of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors this December, she asked the military veterans in the audience to stand and be recognized.

As she gazed out over the Hyatt Regency ballroom with her steady, compelling eyes, she concluded her speech by saying, May God continue to bless us all and may God continue to bless our home, the United States of America. 

The same patriotic spirit is apparent at RE/MAX Presidential office in Fairfax, where she is associate broker. Every wall is lined with portraits of chief executives, from George Washington to George Bush. The front office also displays artifacts like a Jackie-Kennedy bridal doll. Topping things off, the manager just happens to be named John Adams.

It seems like just the right setting for Jane Quill.

I grew up in a very patriotic family, she said, sitting in a conference room beneath pictures of Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy. My father John Quill was a sergeant with the New York police. All four of her grandparents came from Ireland and, she recalled, My grandfather Edward Page said he came here to start a new life.

Like many Realtors, she began her career as an educator. Having joined the Religious of the Sacred Heart in 1960, with the name Sister de Sales, she was principal of a Marymount School in Paris. Speaking French and Spanish, she had also taught geometry and math in Colombia and Spain.

In 1979, she returned to American in order to care for her mother, after her fathers death. She now lives in Fairfax with her pet cat, Snowflake.

Following another common career path, she became a Realtor as a way of combining her work with her family obligations. For the same reason, she later changed from residential to commercial sales.

I could not take desk duty, she explained. While it is often required at residential agencies, she could not follow the schedule because she knew she might always be needed at home. Milton Welsh at Town and Country solved her dilemma, when he started a commercial department and invited her to join him there.

Her identical twin sister Joan had been in the same religious order,  from 1959 to 1970, under the name of Mother de Chantal. Joans teaching career included 28 years at Fairfax High School. 

 Jane Quill said she was drawn to both teaching and real estate because both are forms of public service. I always want to be in a job where I can serve others, she said. I try to bring my values to my work.

As a commercial Realtor, she recalls with pride the clients who succeeded partly because she had found them the right location. 

She encourages her colleagues to show the same spirit of public service. In her NVAR inaugural speech, she called on the members to be the Realtor Party, as the voice for real estate and service in our communities.

Her own lobbying efforts have taken her to Richmond, where she met with Gov. Tim Kaine. And, she added, I have often talked with Gerry Connolly, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

In the same activist spirit, she is a delegate to the National and Virginia Associations of Realtors, and she is also on the VAR Commercial Advisory Council. In addition, she chaired the Realtor Commercial Alliance for the NVAR.

Her board of directors seems to share her sense of involvement. They are a marvelous group, she said. When I ask if they want to discuss something, they will all raise their hands.

If Ken Silvester is any example, her RE/MAX Presidential colleagues feel the same way about her.

I think the woman has a passion for her work, for people and for the common good, he said. She is a stand-up woman in a sit-down world. She is a motivating force who takes people to the next level.

To help reach that goal, she plans to focus on the professional education program in the NVAR. She herself has earned the designations of Graduate of the Realtors Institute), CIPS (Certified International Property Specialist) and SRIS (Seniors Real Estate Services). She still gives classes for the NVAR, on topics like the Fundamentals of Commercial Realty.

I am a great believer in lifelong learning, she explained. If taking a course gives me even one or two new ideas, I will gain helpful skills. She seemed especially enthusiastic about the new Eco-Broker certification program, to teach Realtors how to serve their green clients.

In addition, she said, she hopes to focus on the new diversity forums. They started with the Hispanic Forum, launched by her predecessor, Luis Lama of Long & Foster in Falls Church. Korean-Vietnamese and Middle Eastern groups are now included as well.

The need is illustrated by the NAR statistics saying that more than 40 percent of buyers between 31 and 42 are foreign- born.

During her inaugural speech, she said, We will always be a nation of immigrants who are proud to be American.

Her extensive foreign travels have helped to foster her love for her own country, she added.