Changing Careers: From Hospitality to Real Estate

A Series from local REALTOR®, Steve Foley, on his unexpected career change and the benefits of owning his own business

It was September 2020 – several months into the global pandemic – and I saw the writing on the wall. The hospitality industry in Las Vegas had been severely impacted and my job that I proudly held for 21 years as a territory manager for Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits was being eliminated. Now what? Not having a back up plan, I had to reassess what was most important to me and identify my next steps. Being a UNLV graduate with decades of sales experience, I was certainly qualified for a great many positions. But this was my opportunity to break the mold and create something that was entirely my own.

A New Career Path

I had always been interested in a real estate career; having many friends in the business, there was a certain idealism in being an independent contractor and having unlimited income potential. However, there was never a good time for me to make such a fundamental change in my life until I was forced to do so. Given the opportunity to switch careers, what would you do?

I enrolled at Key Realty School and earned my real estate license in four weeks. Next, I needed to decide where I would hang my license and began interviewing brokerages. Having learned at Southern Glazers the importance of having a nationally-recognized brand behind you, I chose Coldwell Banker Premier Realty. This full-service brokerage is at the top of its game in training, coaching, technology, and marketing and it is backed by an iconic international brand. More than that, it has an incredible culture of innovation and collaboration that I didn’t find anywhere else. This is due to the spirited philosophy of its owners, Bob & Molly Hamrick, and a dedicated leadership team who are supportive and helpful.

Starting My Own Business

I also had to consider my skill set and determine if there were any parallels between my former role in wholesale/distribution and real estate. Luckily, there were quite a few such as providing excellent service, building and nurturing relationships, and being a trusted advisor to my clients. The only problem was that I didn’t have any clients yet.

To establish my new business, I began reaching out to all my contacts, personal and professional, to tell them about my new venture. I started making phone calls, sending text messages, and sending emails to everyone I knew – my former colleagues at Southern Glazer’s, my neighbors, my friends and family, my old acquaintances and former clients. The opportunity to reconnect with so many friends and colleagues while building my new business has been a cathartic and fulfilling experience especially after such a challenging year for so many in the hospitality industry.

I’m just getting started in this new career and in a short series of articles I will share my experiences of changing careers, starting over, and embracing my role as an entrepreneur and business owner.

If you want more information on a career in real estate, or if you have questions about buying or selling in today’s market, contact me at 702.210.2083 or visit my website at

This article was contributed by Steve Foley of Coldwell Banker Premier Realty Lic. S.0192048 as part of a series of articles on changing careers. Equal Housing Opportunity.

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