Barbara Corcoran Speaks at the NYU Child Study Center
Dyslexia is a learning disorder that can be overcome. That
is the message that Barbara Corcoran, Founder and Chairman
of the Corcoran Group, imparted at the Adam Katz Memorial Lecture
Series held at the New York University Medical Center recently.
The Adam Katz Lecture Series was created in 2003 in memory
of Adam Katz, son of NYU Child Study Center board member Howard
Katz. Adam Katz struggled with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity
Disorder (ADHD) and learning difficulties throughout his life.
Corcoran’s talk “Brokering Success: The Possibilities
Within A Disability” focuses on her struggle to cope
with dyslexia which affected her reading and writing skills
as a child.
that she had difficulty reading while in 3rf grade and did
not perform well in grammar or high school. She became an
outsider and didn’t fit into the social
circles that one finds while in school. But she did not let
this stop her and went on to become, according to CNN, one
of “the most sought after (real estate) brokers in New
York City, and a nationally known real estate executive.” The
Corcoran Group has sales of $5 billion dollars, with 1200 agents
operating in New York City, The Hamptons, and Palm Beach, Fl..
According to NYU’s
Child Study Center, approximately 10 to 30 percent of children
have some form of learning disorder. Dyslexia is a language-based
learning disability and occurs to people of all background
and intellectual levels. There is a genetic predisposition
of acquiring a learning disorder from a parent who has one.
Corcoran spoke about
feeling lonely and an outcast at school because of her learning
disorder, but she compensated by using her mind to imagine
and think of great possibilities. Barbara Corcoran was one
of 10 children. Her mom gave each child a label, describing
a positive trait. Corcoran’s Mom dubbed
her the “Imagination Child” of the family. Feeling
frustrated by her inability to read well, she sat in class
and daydreamed. Daydreaming became a time where Corcoran developed
her sense of visualizing, of creating images and ideas. This
later served her well in business. At a business meeting, she
could see a business plan in all its detail, without having
to read the numbers.
Being an outsider as
a child led to her becoming an “innovator” in
her career. “You can see differently,” said Corcoran.
It became a great advantage for her in building a business
which started out with a $1,000 loan from an ex-boyfriend in
1973 to become a multi-billion company. Corcoran sold the Corcoran
Group in 2001 to NRT, the nation’s premier residential
real estate company but retains the title of Chairman, and
is actively involved in generating publicity with many television
Cocoran remembers the
day her college teacher read aloud her poem on “Raindrops” in her freshman creative writing
class at St. Thomas Aquinas College. “Maybe I’m
not stupid,” Corcoran thought. She had 23 jobs before
she found her niche. She took her thousand dollar loan and
parlayed it into a dream. She stepped out and “talked
triple-time and a half” as she developed Corcoran Group
into a major force in the NYC real estate market.
Corcoran’s 11 year old son is also dyslexic. She was
diagnosed with dyslexia when her son was also tested for learning
disorders when he was in second grade. By then, her company
was firmly established as a leader in the city but now she
knew there was a name to what she experienced. “Oh, that’s
what was wrong,” she said at that time.
As Chief Executive
of her company she gave tasks she hated to employees who
could perform them better. Corcoran cites Esther Kaplan as
being a great administrator who was very good with financial
matters. Delegating tasks helped her focus on creative ideas
for marketing strategies. “I still can’t
read a financial statement,” Corcoran said.
Corcoran has written a best-selling book, Use
Got And Other Lessons I Learned From My Mother. All proceeds
from the hard-cover and paperback versions go to fund the
specialized needs of dyslexic children. #