• Betsy Whitaker

    Betsy Whitaker

    President, Asset Management, Inc. and Founder, Trend Realty of Gainesville, Inc.

    Being a female in business in 1970 presented numerous obstacles for Betsy Whitaker. With ceaseless tenacity, Whitaker has strived to excel in her career. Whitaker was the first female president of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce. Today, Whitaker is the president of Asset Management, Inc. as well as the founder of Trend Realty of Gainesville, Inc. and has been responsible for the resurgence of shopping on northwest 13th street, bringing in the tenants that have revitalized that area.

     

    “Fierce to me means a never-giving up attitude.  Everyone stumbles and falls, but the getting back up is where one digs deep into their soul to emerge stronger and wiser,” Whitaker said. “I wish some hardship and obstacles for everyone. Overcoming them develops character and strength. I wouldn’t want to rob anyone the exuberance of overcoming defeat.”

     

    What does it mean to be Fierce?

    Fierce to me means a never-giving-up attitude. Everyone stumbles and falls, but the getting back up is where one digs deep into their soul to emerge stronger and wiser. I wish some hardship and obstacles for everyone. Overcoming them develops character and strength. I wouldn’t want to rob anyone the exuberance of overcoming defeat.

     

    What does success, achievement and accomplishment mean to you?

    Success is measured in many ways. Success in creating a wonderful marriage and raising responsible children should be among our loftiest goals. Moral, responsible children are needed to continue when we are gone. We owe society this gift. A relationship with God is part of the foundation that helps anchor me and allows me to open my eyes to not only the plight of others, but ways to serve. Giving back is essential to a life well lived as well. My career accomplishments almost overtook my family responsibilities, so balance is critical to staying healthy.

     

    What motivates you in the morning?

    Knowing others are depending on me and accomplishing the goals I have set before me.

    What or who is inspiring you right now? Why?

    God is my constant source of inspiration and gratitude. I love to watch people succeed.

    What was the best decision you’ve made? What’s the worst?

    Marrying my husband of almost 52 years is the best. The worst was allowing my early business career to take over my life.

    What has been your biggest obstacle and how have you overcome it?

    In 1970, being a female in business was full of obstacles. I could not get a bank loan in my name. Being the first female president of the chamber of commerce meant I had to prove myself in every VP position before they would consider me. I had to do things better to be considered an equal. Things have changed!

    How do you address negativity in your life and in business?

    I find a way to move forward. I don’t dwell on things I can’t control, and I change the things I can.

    Is there a particular instance or occurrence that you credit for building your confidence and self-esteem?

    Sports. As a child, I was fortunate to be brought up in a community that had traveling sports teams for girls 7th to 12th grade. I was on varsity teams in three sports all six years. I learned leadership and team effort. The focus was on winning, not being the star, but I found the harder I applied myself, the more I stood out. Having said that, the goal was always to move the team forward.

    How do you empower other women?

    Example and willingness to share experiences.

    What change do you want to see in your industry?

    It has changed a lot already. Doors have been opened.

    Do you have any advice for young women as they try to achieve their goals?

    Be tenacious and appreciate the differences we have as people. Be kind and treat others as you wish to be treated. Be pleasant and gracious to others regardless of their social ranking. Every human being has value.

    What do you want to be remembered for?

    My kindness, loving free spirit, love of life, willingness to be me and the contributions to my community.

    How do you defy the current stereotypes, stigmas and double standards that women have today?

    Prejudice will always be a part of humankind. Let people fall in love with who you are and your accomplishments, and that is all they will see. Be smart, informed and gracious.