The First Ladies of AAR: Celebrating Women’s History Month

The First Ladies of AAR: Celebrating Women’s History Month

As we celebrate Women’s History Month this March, we pay tribute to the profound impact of women on history, culture, and society. Within the Alabama Association of REALTORS®, there’s no better occasion than this to reflect on the pioneering achievements of AAR’s first five female presidents.

Nancy Green-Burg, Harriett Isaacson, Jamie Praytor, Mickey Phillips, and Jimmie Ann Campbell all made significant contributions to Alabama’s real estate industry. Green-Burg blazed trails as the Association’s first female president back in 1984, while Praytor's presidency is remembered as one of the most cherished in AAR’s history. Isaacson and Phillips are honored with state awards bearing their names, and Campbell continues her dedicated service as a commissioner for the Alabama Real Estate Commission.

"We were truly fortunate to have these remarkable women in our profession," remarked Henry Ray, 1991 President of Alabama REALTORS® who served alongside each of the women. "They led with grace and skill, and their profound sense of identity was inspiring."

They earned statewide office at a time when men predominantly held the top positions. Gradually, over time, they changed the face – and the prevailing attitude – of Alabama’s real estate industry. 

Now, in 2024, there are more female REALTORS® than there are men, boasting 61% majority in Alabama and 62% nationwide. 

"Each of these women ran operations impeccably, despite encountering initial resistance due to their gender,” noted Starke Irvine, friend of the “first five” and 1988 President of Alabama REALTORS®. “Having worked closely with many of them, I witnessed firsthand their exceptional talent and capabilities. When it comes to real estate, I'd choose a woman over a man any day. Women have a unique insight and efficiency that men often lack."

Over the course of 20 years, these women made an impact on the real estate industry at every level. 


Nancy Green-Burg, 1984 President of Alabama REALTORS®

Nancy Green-Burg made history in 1984 by becoming the first female president of Alabama REALTORS®. As a broker at Green Real Estate in Huntsville, she was also among the area’s first female contractors.

Reflecting on her journey, Green-Burg shared, "I developed property, and I guess I just got used to working in a man’s world and didn’t think about it. I got involved when somebody walked into my office and said, ‘Would you like to join the Huntsville Board of REALTORS®?’ And I said, ‘Sure.’ I got involved and joined the local political committee because I was always interested in politics, and it grew from that."

Despite often being the only woman in the room, Green-Burg encountered no resistance. "I wasn’t treated any differently," she noted. "All the people on the state board were mostly men, but I didn’t think about being the first female."

Nancy Green Burg

Green-Burg's influence extended beyond Alabama as she became the state’s first regional vice president for the National Association of REALTORS®. "My involvement with NAR meant a lot to me and gave me self-confidence," she shared. "I was able to find out how people from other states were solving problems in their area, which made me a better leader back home in Alabama."

Recognizing the need for continuing education, Green-Burg spearheaded the initiation of CE courses in Alabama. "We didn’t have any CE back then," she recalled. "Through NAR, I learned the importance of staying up to date on rules and regulations within our industry. I wanted to ensure that REALTORS® in Alabama were complying with what needed to be done."

As the first female president of AAR, Green-Burg set the stage for future generations of women in leadership roles. Reflecting on her presidency, she emphasized, "As president, decision-making falls on you. Becoming a leader instills in you the responsibility to make decisions, and sometimes those decisions are not easy. You must do what’s best for the Association, not what’s best for you and your image."

Green-Burg continues to be active in the real estate profession, emphasizing the unique impact of being a REALTOR®. "I always thought it was great to be able to help people," she remarked. “I’ve had clients from years ago come up to me and say, ‘You don’t remember me, but you sold me my first house.’ Hearing that means a lot to me."


Harriett Isaacson, 1989 President of Alabama REALTORS®

Born in Tuscaloosa, Harriett Isaacson was a 1951 graduate of Woodlawn High School and spent all her life in Alabama, working with Baker and Billings and later with RealtySouth before teaching courses for the Alabama Real Estate Commission. 

Isaacson is described as a true professional who devoted herself to service at the local, state, and national levels. Every year, in her honor, Alabama REALTORS® presents the Harriett M. Isaacson Professional Excellence Award to a member who has been an educator for a minimum of 20 years and is respected within the REALTOR® education community.

“Harriett was passionate about teaching and excelled at it,” recalled Ray. “I remember her time at RealtySouth, where she taught some of the required CE courses. She had a gift for helping people learn and grow as REALTORS®.”

Harriett Isaacson

That part of her life, as her son Chris recalled, provided some of the most rewarding moments in Isaacson’s career.

“She also did a lot of teaching for the Real Estate Commission,” Isaacson said. “She loved it. That’s where she spent her later years, transitioning away from active work and dedicating herself to education.”

When asked about his mother’s motivation behind a career in real estate, Isaacson said, “My mother never went to college, and she saw real estate as an opportunity to build a career in a field where formal education was not a requirement. Although she wasn't selling during real estate’s most lucrative years, she cherished the ability to pursue a fulfilling career and earn professional recognition without a college degree."

As one of only two female presidents in AAR’s history at the time, Isaacson played a key role in establishing the framework for female leadership within Alabama’s real estate industry. She was recognized and respected for her work ethic and wanted other women to have the same opportunity. 

“While she was a people-person, she was very organized and motivated. I think that played into her success. Real estate became part of her identity. It wasn’t just a job to her and it was much more than her career. It was a calling. Yes, it was a way for her to earn money, but it was equally a way for her to help people.” 


Jamie Praytor, 1992 President of Alabama REALTORS®

A native and lifelong resident of Mobile, Jamie Praytor was the founder and president of Praytor Realty and served as president of the Mobile Area Association of REALTORS® and the Alabama Association of REALTORS® before passing away in 2008. She was named Alabama REALTOR® of the Year in 1981. 

In 1974, she opened Praytor Realty with an all-female sales staff, which was incredibly unique at the time. Dubbed ‘‘Praytor’s Pretties’’ by The Birmingham News, Praytor and her team quickly built a highly successful and respected company. 

“She was always on top of things, very professional and a master of her craft,” Irvine said. “She ran an excellent company at a time when women were coming into the business. She set a great example for women in our industry.”

Jamie Praytor

Praytor is considered a trailblazer and an inspiration by both men and women who had the privilege of serving along side her. When asked what made her friend so beloved, Nancy Green-Burg said, “Jamie just commanded a presence. She was so sunny, so full of life. She was just an individual that you couldn’t help but like.”

Before her passing, her service to the community was honored by the Mobile Area Association of REALTORS® with the creation of the Jamie C. Praytor Humanitarian Award. Jamie believed in giving back to her community and served on numerous boards, including the Allied Arts Council, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, and the USA Small Business Development Center, among many others.

Upon her passing, U.S. Congressman Jo Bonner praised her life in the U.S. House of Representatives, noting, “Jamie was an institution among Alabama REALTORS®.”


Mickey Phillips, 2000 President of Alabama REALTORS®


Born in Phenix City, Mickey Phillips carved out a life as a top REALTOR® in Alexander City, becoming just as popular as her husband, former Auburn receiver James “Red” Phillips, a member of the 1957 national championship team. An active supporter of the Children’s Harbor Ministry, she served as a charter member of the Alexander City Rotary Club, Children's Trust Fund, Board of Directors for the Corporate Foundation for Children, and Vice-Chairman of the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce.

Phillips was the top salesperson for Russell Lands in 1992-2001 and was awarded the Russell Lands Inspirational Award in 2004. She also served on many state and national committees and received numerous awards for her service. Before her passing in 2010, the Discovery Center at Russell Crossroads was named in her honor. 

Mickey Phillips

Alabama REALTORS® established the Mickey Phillips REALTORS® for Children Award in her honor to recognize members who devote time and resources to unselfishly invest in children through projects and programs that focus on their needs.

“Mickey stands out as one of our most cherished past presidents,” Ray said reminiscing. “Her tenure at Lake Martin was marked by remarkable success. Not only was she exceptionally knowledgeable, but she also exuded warmth, kindness, and genuine concern for others as opposed to herself. She was one of the most selfless individuals I’ve ever known.”


Jimmie Ann Campbell, 2003 President of Alabama REALTORS®

Jimmie Ann Campbell, the fifth female president of AAR, taught high school English before becoming a REALTOR® in 1976. Since beginning her career in real estate, Campbell has achieved nearly everything imaginable. 

She served as the Women’s Council of REALTORS® (WCR) State President in 1994 and WCR Governor for Alabama in 1995. In 1997, she served as president of the Montgomery Area Association of REALTORS®. She has also served as Chairwoman of the Alabama REALTORS® Political Action Committee (ARPAC) and is a member of the ARPAC Hall of Fame. 

In 2021, she was appointed by Governor Ivey to the Alabama Real Estate Commission to serve as a representative of the Second Congressional District. Campbell continues to serve as a commissioner and will until her term limit in 2025.

Jimmie Ann Campbell

Campbell saw the need for female leadership within her industry almost immediately. Reflecting on her career, she said, “When I first became a REALTOR®, the industry was exclusively male dominated, and that’s just the way it was.”

This struck Campbell as an issue, given the key role that women play when family units purchase a home. Campbell elaborated, stating, “I frequently encountered male clients who prioritized their wife’s satisfaction and happiness when choosing a home, highlighting the special connection between female REALTORS® and female buyers.”

Campbell has served on committees for the National Association of REALTORS® and is an NAR Omega Tau Rho and a REALTOR® Emeritus. She is a member of the Greater Montgomery Home Builders Association where she previously served as an instructor for the Graduate Builders Institute certification.