Paying homage to late property legend and iconic businesswoman, Pam Golding
South Africa 1976, a time when the country’s sociopolitical landscape was rocky and the real estate sector was male-dominated, hard to crack, and somewhat of a “home industry”. Enter Pam Golding, a woman who broke new ground in the industry and changed the property game indefinitely when this dynamic self-made entrepreneur established the illustrious Pam Golding Property Group (PGP).
With her glittering career and magical legacy a shining beacon for all, it was with great sadness to learn of the passing of one of the property industry’s most hardworking and steadfast players. The South African property icon, businesswoman, founder and Life President of PGP, passed away peacefully on 3 April 2018 at her Constantia home in the Cape.
“It’s certainly no easy feat bottling the unique warmth, captivating personality and wit of one remarkable woman, whose vast array of social connections was only matched by her unusual determination. But this almost mythical essence – this Pam magic – is our legacy. It has and always will be our heart,” said the Group in a statement.
Highly revered by her peers, the property industry and the business sector at large, Golding was and still remains a true inspiration to women across generations and the globe.
“I think that women today have endless opportunities to take up the careers of their choice, and advance themselves too. More and more women capably manage to juggle the demands and needs of business and family; it is part and parcel of being able multi-taskers!” she believed.
The industry veteran set the highly competitive property industry on a new course which continues to this day. Having received numerous accolades and awards throughout her illustrious career, Golding set the bar high thanks to her fearless entrepreneurial flair for people, property and business.
The early years
Having recognised the need for a discreet and professional property agency within the South African real estate market, Golding turned her hobby into a lifelong passion at the age of 47 when she saw a gap in the market and launched a business with no capital which ultimately became a thriving, global property company.
“At that time it was more as a hobby, but I soon realised that I had a talent for matching buyers and sellers. My interest in houses became a passion to the extent that it became a springboard to a serious career in the property industry,” Golding said.
The first sale she concluded was that of Laundry Cottage in Kenilworth. In 1979, PGP moved into its first office in Kenilworth – with a staff of five agents and an accountant, and then in 1981 the company opened two more branches in Fish Hoek and Sea Point. In 1986, she took a courageous leap of faith by opening an office in London – at a time when the country’s international image was at its worst.
Together with her son and PGP chief executive Andrew, the business soon expanded further abroad over the following years, to more than 300 offices across Southern Africa and in various countries on the African continent, Europe and the Indian Ocean Islands.
Since its inception, PGP has remained a steadfast business built on family values and an empathic ethos which stems from Pam herself. More than 40 years later, PGP has grown into a locally and internationally recognised real estate agency as well as one of Southern Africa’s leading independent real estate groups and the country’s most awarded real estate company.
A legacy remains
Moulded on integrity, trust and respect, PGP’s principles are based on the promise of a “sense of comfort”, underpinned by the company’s philosophy and cornerstones of empathy, knowledge, experience and integrity. With courage, determination and a unique charm and tenacity to overcome any challenge, Golding made sure that the essence of the PGP brand never faulted over the years.
Her love for property goes back to the early 1960s when she initially worked from home. When her children were young, she became involved in marketing real estate. Her entrepreneurial and networking spirit is still very much alive in the business. Her key principles were integrity, honesty, loyalty, professionalism and ethics, which remain at the heart of PGP to this very day.
“I believe of key importance is to be a good listener. I have always believed that if you are determined, have integrity and passion, show that you care, remain honest and true to yourself, and surround yourself with people that you nurture, it will lead to success,” said Golding. “Trust your instincts, employ the right people and be courageous. Furthermore, one cannot underestimate the importance of business networking, whether on a local, national or international scale.”
On her passing, PGP released a statement noting that she was admired and respected by clients and dearly loved by colleagues, agents and staff alike. “…her natural warmth and sincere interest in everyone she encountered were trademark characteristics which endeared her to all. She will be deeply missed by her family including sons Peter and Andrew, daughter Jilly, their spouses and 10 grandchildren.”
Words: Candace Sofianos King