Barbara Fairfield – ‘A broader perspective’

Barbara Fairfield is not your everyday educator. She couldn’t be categorized as a run-of-the-mill Realtor or prototypical performer. Nor does she fit the standard fare for seasoned traveler. To most clearly illustrate the life and times of this industry veteran, one would have to choose option “e”: all of the above. A true Renaissance woman, Fairfield has taken her diversified talents and run with them.

In concert with her business partner, Adorna Carroll, Fairfield has employed her wide-ranging attributes to form Dynamic Directions, a successful real estate training company based in Middletown. “Adorna and I were two of the top instructors in Connecticut and [in 2001 the Connecticut Association of Realtors] partnered us to teach a class. We interfaced as though we’d been working together for years,” said Fairfield. “It’s very unusual for two high-powered egos to work together so seamlessly,” she added with a laugh.

Beginning her career working in a Hartford law firm, Fairfield developed a clear understanding of the real estate market through writing the firm’s settlement statements. “Working at an attorney’s office gave me a great background and I decided to take a real estate class. I thought I’d give real estate a try,” she said. “Well, 25 years later I’m still in the occupation.”

But simply working as a Realtor wasn’t enough for Fairfield. “I thought, I have a great deal of background in real estate and I think I have a lot to say, so let me do some training,” she said.

It wasn’t before long that Fairfield was teaching real estate courses by working cooperatively with 127 offices between Connecticut and Rhode Island. “From there, Coldwell Banker began knocking at my door looking for a director of education,” said Fairfield. “I had ambitions to become a national speaker and told them that if they would let me go out and speak on a regular basis I’d transfer to them. It was a lovely partnership that lasted from 1994 until 2001, [the year that] Dynamic Directions was born.”

‘A Perfect Marriage’

In the creation of the company, Fairfield realized a means of intermingling her diverse interests of comedy, public speaking and real estate to satisfy her professional ambition. “[Dynamic Directions] is a wonderful blend between real estate and theater,” said Fairfield. “It’s really a perfect marriage for what I do Â… People have come up to me after a course and say, ‘You should do stand-up.’ And I say, ‘What do you think I’ve been doing for the past three hours?”

Humor is fundamental in the Dynamic Directions teaching philosophy. Self-proclaimed “edutainers,” Fairfield and Carroll have given a one-time small business national recognition, which has been spread primarily by word of mouth from grateful students who have found their education to be an effective yet entertaining experience. “I think [having a good sense of humor] is incredibly important in adult learning. As adults we don’t laugh enough and Â… Realtors are extremely busy people as it is,” said Fairfield. “It’s important to me to do whatever I can to make [the experience] memorable. Our company said we’re never going to deliver a course where someone is trying not to fall asleep. That’s the reputation we have and enjoy.”

Besides the satisfaction of teaching and reaching out to people, the perk of the job that Fairfield most enjoys is her constant opportunity to travel the country and hear others’ experiences. “I’m very fortunate that I get to travel. It creates a whole different dimension from a speaking perspective. I enjoy the experience of meeting people and understanding their outlook on the real estate business and seeing culturally what they have to offer.”

Fairfield doesn’t only feel that travel is a socially enlightening experience; she also professionally profits from her frequent country tours. “My travels around the country give me a broader perspective. I get great ideas from so many people in the business and really get a global perspective on things. I have many experiences when I’m on the road that I can bring back to Connecticut and say, ‘Hey, maybe we can do this,'” she said. “I think it’s important that you’re able to practice what you preach.”

In 2001, Fairfield was honored by CAR with the Educator of the Year award, one of the highest forms of recognition in her field. “It was like getting the Academy Award,” she said. “That award is not just for your platform skills, but also what you have contributed.”

Fairfield has left her fingerprint on the way that real estate courses are taught now and will be constructed in the future. Her real estate curriculum is unique to her teaching style but maintains a universality that can be utilized by instructors throughout the nation. “I’ve written a number of courses,” she said. “I penned a generic course which runs for six days and lays out everything you need to know in the business. We have people who excel in [their fields], teach segments of the courses so that the student can get a diverse opinion and personality.

“But, regardless of who’s teaching the course, we’re all dedicated to being edutainers.”

Fueled by her diverse base of opportunities and contributions to the field of real estate, Fairfield is moving forward, full steam ahead. “My plate is pretty full at the moment,” she said. “My biggest goal at the moment is just to keep getting the message out to people. We’ve got a solid fan base that we are fortunate to have and that’s what we hope to expand on.”