By Romi Carrell Wittman –
2015 Tucson Woman of the Year – Rosey Koberlein
Rosey Koberlein was a bit annoyed at the prospect of having a team photo shoot on a Monday morning, but she didn’t make a fuss about it. When she walked downstairs, however, she sensed this wasn’t an ordinary gathering for a photo.
“There were far too many people in that room,” she said, laughing at the memory. When Suzanne McFarlin, executive director of Greater Tucson Leadership, told her she’d been named the 2015 Woman of the Year, Koberlein was stunned. “I always have something to say, but I was flabbergasted.”
As CEO of Long Companies since 2004, Koberlein has long been a visionary leader in Southern Arizona. It was during her tenure that Long Realty became Long Companies, a title change that reflects the organization’s expanded range of real estate services and products. Under her direction, Long Companies has become one of the largest real estate companies in Arizona and one of the top 50 in the United States.
Koberlein’s dedication to philanthropy and charitable works also has been evident throughout her career. She established Long Realty Cares Foundation in 2002 and since its inception it has awarded $2.5 million to more than 180 nonprofit organizations in Southern Arizona. In addition, the foundation coordinates Long’s employee volunteers who have contributed countless hours in a variety of areas, all with the goal of making the community healthier and more economically viable.
Betsy Bolding, a retired executive from Tucson Electric Power and a longtime community advocate, said of Koberlein: “Her community involvements are many and strategic, and she is recognized both locally and nationally for her expertise and vision.”
Koberlein’s list of community works is long and includes the YWCA Southern Arizona, Tucson Airport Authority, Pima County Real Estate Research Council, Tucson Association of Realtors, National Association of Realtors and Habitat for Humanity.
“Rosey displays an uncanny ability to see opportunity,” said Jodi Horton, a local public relations executive. She points to Koberlein’s involvement with Habitat for Humanity, the nonprofit that builds homes for those in need. “She saw a need to provide for Habitat’s ongoing operational needs and, at the same time, alleviated a shortage of truly affordable building materials and home furnishings, and reduced trips to the landfill.”
Under Koberlein’s leadership, Long Companies provided start-up funding for the HabiStore, a local retail storefront that accepts donations of and sells building materials and furnishings. All proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity.
Michael McDonald, executive director of Habitat at the time the HabiStore was created, worked with Koberlein on the project. “If you want to get something done – and enjoy a process that is highly focused with high energy – get Rosey involved,” he said. “She’s got one of the sharpest minds I know, and one of the biggest hearts.”
Koberlein is also a member of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, an organization that works to improve the region’s economy and the quality of life of its residents. Along with Steve Lynn and Donald Pitt, she co-chairs SALC’s P-20 Education Committee, which focuses on the betterment of the region’s educational system from early childhood education through college.
“Because of her commitment to development of an educated workforce and to creating jobs in our community, Rosey serves as co-chair of SALC’s P-20 Education committee where she helps to set education policy priorities and engages with school district leaders and education advocacy groups,” said Ron Shoopman, president of SALC. “Rosey has a great passion for mentoring and supporting her large team of sales associates and takes great pride in their accomplishments.”
“She’s brought tireless energy and support for Tucson Airport Authority and its mission to promote aviation and foster economic development for Southern Arizona,” said Bonnie A. Allin, TAA president and CEO.
This past year, Koberlein was named one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Arizona by Az Business and AZRE magazines, and was listed in the top 100 executives (and top 10 women) of the Swanepoel Power 200, a national ranking of the top leaders in the real estate industry. She was also recognized for her community contributions when she was named one of Tucson’s Women of Influence by Inside Tucson Business and to the YWCA Women on the Move. But the extent of her community involvement isn’t widely known, Lynn said.
“While she has been recognized by her peers for outstanding work in the real estate field, her community work has been – until recently – under the radar,” he said. “Rosey is always there when asked to take a leadership role in a community project and she is able to balance her substantial work responsibilities with an impressive resume of community service.”
When asked what the award means to her, Koberlein gives credit to the 950 real estate agents and staff that make up Long Companies. “We have a superb staff and that allows me to be involved in the community,” she said. “If the company was struggling, I wouldn’t be able to do this. It’s a great reflection on the company.”
Above all, she said she is honored by the recognition. “I look at the other nominees,” she said, “and I’m like ‘Whoa.’ What a circle to be involved in.”