October 30, 2017
Outstanding Women in Business

Eidinger-Taylor unexpectedly became a real estate titan

Edd Cote
Cheryl A. W. Eidinger-Taylor, president and chief operating officer, ERA Key Realty Service.

Cheryl Eidinger-Taylor's long career in real estate started with an innocent question. She was looking for a home, and asked her agent what she thought of her job.

Taylor was invited back to the agent's office and – Realtors being independent contractors – offered a spot.

Taylor was working for a design firm in a few positions, including marketing and quality control. Without real estate experience, business didn't exactly boom from the start, but she quickly became one of the office's higher sales producers.

Taylor, 53, certainly found her way. More than two decades later, after selling more than 500 homes, she's now the president and COO of Whitinsville-based ERA Key Realty Services, which has 15 offices, 350 staff and agents, and nearly half a billion dollars in annual sales.

She's also found a way to make a difference off the job.

The Uxbridge resident is a longtime volunteer treasurer at Trinity Episcopal Church, and she has been involved with the Uxbridge Parents Advisory Council, Habitat for Humanity and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

Taylor has been a mentor at Key Realty Services, including meeting weekly to coach the agency's most promising agents. She is a member of the Boston chapter of the Women's Council of Realtors, where she is a former president.

"Giving back is really important to us in our community," said Eidinger-Taylor, a mother of two and grandmother of five who grew up in Millbury.

A Northborough marketing and communication specialist, David Kowal, counts Key Realty Services as a client and Eidinger-Taylor as a friend. He said he got to know Eidinger-Taylor more than 20 years ago when the founder and owner of Key, Bruce Taylor – now Cheryl's husband – began using Kowal's company, Kowal Communications.

"I've seen her grow, and she's always been a high-energy person who's helped steer the agency," Kowal said. "As a female business owner, I can't think of many people who are on the same level as her in terms of her accomplishment and her skills."

Key Realty Services has expanded to 15 offices, from Chelmsford to Franklin to Worcester and in between. It is now one of the top agencies in the state and the top 10 ERA agencies in the country, based on sales and total volume.

"Some of it is serendipity," Eidinger-Taylor said. "We're fortunate in many cases to have partnered with companies that were a good cultural fit."

Taylor has reached a high point in her profession – she's been president and COO for 12 years – despite never planning for a career in real estate. Growing up, she said, she wanted to go into psychology. But once in real estate, she's committed to continuing-education courses and has notched top-sales awards from ERA.

She still gets to use psychology a bit, too, finding out what is most important to people or what can help them the most.

"It's fun," Eidinger-Taylor said. "It puts it to use."

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