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Cindy and Otis, heading north for more photographs of the vast and beautiful West.

Independence Day Tidings


This is your little firecracker writing to you on Independence Day, July 4, 2021. It was on this day in 1776 that the Congressional Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies were no longer subjects of King George lll, Britain’s monarch. John Adams (1st VP and 2nd POTUS) wrote at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence “…. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.” Well, John, I don’t think we’ve ever disappointed you, except maybe during last year’s pandemic, but I’m quite sure that this year’s celebrations will make up for lost time. I admit, Pumpkins, I’m beginning to miss those quiet days of lockdown. Anybody else?

While I reminisce about the peace and quiet of the pandemic, big changes are occurring at Santa Fe Properties. Liz Cale decided it was time to stop managing 83 associate brokers. Now she wakes up each morning deciding what she wants to do, not what she has to do. Honeybuns, Liz has been in the real estate biz since the 1970s, starting out in the title business at Territorial Title and Abstract (now First American), then real estate and management at French and French, and last stop at Santa Fe Properties as chief operating officer, president and qualifying broker. This last stop comprised sixteen years. A goal-oriented woman, today Liz’s plan is to “be in the moment”. First stop, Las Vegas, to visit in-laws, then Washington, D.C. to spend time with her daughter and family, and more time with her husband, Don, at their vacation home in Cabo. To accomplish all this, she made the decision to step down, transitioning to a consultant and associate broker. I can tell you, Lemon Drops, Don is thrilled at the prospect of having a traveling companion instead of being the affable guy on her arm at all the Realtor functions.

To make this transition a seamless one, Susan Bennett becomes the president of Santa Fe Properties, as well as managing broker. Abby Salinas moves from sales manager to qualifying broker. Abby has been an associate broker for the past six years, and she was the owner of Investors Escrow for 24 years prior to that. Aside from being very astute at running a business, she is part of a well-known title company family. Her father-in-law, Greg Salinas (deceased), had one of the most extensive title plants in Santa Fe, and her husband, John, is famous for being one of the best examiners in the business.

Susan holds the record for being at Santa Fe Properties the longest– 33 years. She was working in the referral department of a real estate brokerage in Reston, VA, so when she and her family moved to Santa Fe, she referred herself to Santa Fe Properties. Santa Fe Properties was in its infancy in 1988, so Susan’s big-city skills were needed in management. Back then, Candy Brenton, Vicki Wafer, and Susan were the female triumvirate. Today, Susan, Abby and Liz are the triumvirate. Chuck McKinley is around Santa Fe Properties on an as-needed basis now.

Many years ago, Laurie Farber-Condon (Santa Fe Properties) had just sold her dance studio, thinking of a new career. Her friend and dance associate, Sally Pepin, suggested Laurie talk with Gary, Sally’s husband and the sales manager at Wood Brothers Homes. Gary interviewed her, and said, “You’re perfect, you know nothing about real estate.” They were a successful pair. Then Gary went on to other projects in California, Arizona, Utah, etc. Today, the prodigal son returns.

Kittens, all these women I mention today are living proof that there is no glass ceiling in the real estate profession.

Last month I got to say hello to Cindy Williams and her husband, Otis Phillips, who temporarily returned to Santa Fe from their photographic journey in Yellowstone. Yesterday I said goodbye to them as they headed north on their RV journey to Roaring Fork Valley where Otis will capture more beauty of the West on film. The SFAR will miss Cindy (former professional services director) like crazy, but the RV life has her now, and that’s that. I get it.

So long, Sweetpeas…. Until next time,

Oakley Talbott

Oakley Talbott can be reached at

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