By Carol Tannenhauser
They call themselves “Collaborative THKS.” They have lived on the Upper West Side for a combined 199 years. They are real estate brokers, small businesses unto themselves, independent contractors who share office space at the Upper West Side branch of Compass, a real estate company with an interesting model. Along with seven other principles, it includes the instruction to “Collaborate without ego.”
“Our name, Collaborative THKS, is both our intention and an acronym of our last names: Jennifer Taylor, Nina Hennessey, Kathleen Klech, and Ellen Saland,” explained Kathleen Klech, acting as spokesperson. She set forth the mission statement of the group. It reminds me, in a good way, of my old Girl Scout pledge.
“As real estate agents we specialize in the selling and purchasing of UWS homes. We are like-minded women of generous spirit, who collaborate without ego, supporting each other and our clients with caring and integrity. Our clients become our neighbors. With this in our hearts, we have had many conversations commiserating about the COVID-19 sadness and the need to help in our small town called the Upper West Side.”
To that end, they have organized an Upper West Side Blood Drive, to be held on October 31, 2021, between 10 am and 4 pm, at the Compass office, 2150 Broadway and 76th Street.
Among our many other challenges, NYC is in the midst of a severe blood shortage. In August, the New York Blood Center (NYBC) announced a “blood emergency,” saying fears of the COVID-19 Delta Variant were “leading to canceled blood drives and a drop in donations. In recent weeks, the blood supply has dropped from 5 days to a 2-3 day supply and 1-2 day supply of type O….this could signal more severe shortages in the weeks ahead.”
“The blood emergency was declared while I was away on vacation so I couldn’t donate,” said Susan Catry, a newer member of the group. “When I came back, it occurred to me we could do more good by holding a blood drive. Once I was cleared by management to hold it in the office, I contacted the New York Blood Center and we started to put it all together. Kathleen immediately jumped on board and has been instrumental in getting it out to the public.”
All of the women, who Klech describes as “of a certain age,” came to real estate as a second career, after an impressive first one. Ellen Saland was a Stage Fight director (just what it sounds like) and an actor. Nina Hennessey was a Broadway singer-dancer-actor who still performs. Lisa Garey (also a newer member) was a magazine editor at Vanity Fair. Jennifer Taylor was an environmental consultant and program coordinator for environmental, heath, and safety training at ConEd. Susan Catry worked in marketing and as a Fortune 500 lender. Kathleen Klech led Conde Nast Traveler magazine for 28 years.
“We all saw each other in the office and overheard each other talking,” Klech said. “We noticed each other’s way of being in the real estate world, and had a few discussions about teaming up. We all value our integrity and want to feel good about what we do every day, take joy in our jobs, although we are not curing COVID!
“Susan was the inspiration for the Blood Drive. She came up with the idea and we all said, yes, perfect. This is our first really big initiative. Compass kindly gave us the office for the day. With that in place, we knew we could offer the UWS their own blood drive right on 76th Street. Not that we would turn away a donor from any other neighborhood,” she concluded. “But most folks want to stay local, make it easy. As we say in real estate, location location location!”
Again, the Blood Drive will take place on Halloween — what better day? It will be supported by the New York Blood Center, which will send medical staff with everything they need to get blood donations, to the Compass office on West 76th Street and Broadway, 2nd floor, on Sunday, October 31st, between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm.
To schedule an appointment, click on donate.nybc.org, and enter sponsor code 71327.