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First Lady Of Real Estate Embraces Education As Core Value

Dallas Independent School District celebrates dedication of Ebby Halliday Elementary School

DALLAS–Entrepreneur, American success story, pioneer for women in business, philanthropist, distinguished award winner, community leader, and celebrated Dallas icon–all of these accolades aptly describe a woman who has lived an extraordinary life.

Ebby Halliday says she is humbled by all the recognition. Asked to explain the reason for her success, honors and acclaim, she says it is teaching, learning and helping others. Halliday speaks eagerly about how much she has learned from others and her personal philosophy to “do something good for someone every day.” To Halliday, education is the key to success, which explains why she is elated about the new Dallas ISD elementary school named in her honor and scheduled to be dedicated on March 9, 2012, a most important day in her life.

             “My hope for the students of Ebby Halliday Elementary School is that they get the most education possible,” said Halliday. “Education is the most important thing a young person can acquire in their lifetime.” And what a lifetime Ebby Halliday is living.

            Soon to celebrate her 101st birthday, she has achieved and experienced enough to fill many lifetimes. Born March 9, 1911, she comes from humble beginnings in Abilene, Kansas. Living on a farm, she and her family went through difficult times during the Great Depression. Yet it was those challenges that ignited her fighting spirit and prepared her for what she was to achieve later in life.

During that era, women were not expected to achieve very much in the world of business–one factor that makes Ebby Halliday a true pioneer.  She shattered the glass ceiling for women in business when the glass ceiling had yet to be clearly defined.  And it all started with the sale of a hat. Impressed with her sales skills moving hats, a housing developer challenged her to find buyers for a small housing development.

            The sale of her first house was not easy. She was entering a man’s world, yet she remembered the lessons her parents imparted to her, “to always have faith in God, faith in myself and faith to persevere.” Her early experiences in business led to the creation of one of her sayings, “look like a woman, but work like a man.” Following her own advice, she went on to build a real estate empire known as Ebby Halliday Realtors, the largest independently owned real estate company in Texas and the 11th largest in the U.S.

Along this journey toward success, she deliberately made it her cause to share her love of business, her vision of the future and love of community with anyone who would listen–especially women, no matter what their background or education. 

            She shares these same values with political dignitaries, world leaders, and the rich and famous who call her friend. From the corporate board room or at her kitchen table, she loves to teach about her experiences in business, life and relationships.

Those who know her attest that Halliday has a very personal way of touching people’s lives in the most unexpected way. “One day I looked over the garden wall and I can tell you I was never the same again,” says Mary Frances Burleson, president of Ebby Halliday Realtors. “That’s what I tell people about one of my first experiences with Ebby. I started out as a secretary and Ebby showed me how I could be so much more and achieve so much more. She helped me find talents and the drive to succeed I didn’t even know were there. That is the genius of Ebby Halliday.”

            The Dallas Independent School District will celebrate this unique Dallas treasure with the dedication of the new Ebby Halliday Elementary School in southeast Dallas at 10210 Teagarden Rd. on March 9, 2012–Ebby’s 101st birthday.

“Ebby is truly humbled by this incredible honor,” says Joan Patmore, Halliday’s niece. “I can tell you, on behalf of our family, this is a wonderful tribute to an incredible woman who means so much to us and has given so much of herself to others. She is the heart of our family. Many things have been written about Ebby, but most people do not know about her love for education and teachers, so it is very appropriate that Ebby Halliday Elementary School will be a part of her legacy.”

            With a workforce of thousands, Halliday has indeed been a teacher. She stresses the importance of integrity, values, success, optimism and most importantly helping others. Halliday has made it her mission to teach her employees her unique brand of entrepreneurial principles and the importance of relationships.

            “Ebby believes we must work together as a cohesive team,” says Randall Graham, Vice President, Director of Marketing. “She has a special ability to make every employee feel very special. Ebby also has one-of-a-kind business practices that set her apart. For example, she encourages husband and wife teams and places a high priority on our employees getting involved in civic, charitable and community activities. Whatever the cause, she says get involved. We call these simple principles Ebby’s Pearls of Wisdom.”

            Create a daily relationship with God; keep learning; build your self-confidence; embrace change; and value advisors, are but a sample of Ebby’s Pearls. Halliday recently shared these words of wisdom with the administrators, teachers and students at Ebby Halliday Elementary School.         

            “My hope is that my Pearls of Wisdom are an inspiration they can apply in their lives, just as much as I do. My wish for everyone connected with Ebby Halliday Elementary is that they never stop learning. In my life, I have never stopped learning new things. Do the right thing in every situation and always give back, no matter how successful you may become. Do something good for someone, everyday.”

As she says these words there is a twinkle in her eye and a broad smile. You almost get the sense that at 101, she’s just getting started.