Work is a family affair for Nicole "Nikki" Carolan. Both she and her husband, Mike, are shareholders in the real estate department of Winter Park’s Winderweedle, Haines Ward & Woodman, P.A. Her father-in-law has been there for roughly 40 years, as well, and her uncle Peter Latham is a partner at Orlando firm Latham, Shuker, Eden & Beaudine.
They are all, she says, something of a legacy to her late grandfather, David Latham, who had passed away less than a week before she spoke with GrowthSpotter. He, too, was an attorney, and she believes her career choice almost certainly had something to do with him.
“We miss him dearly,” she said. “He was a wonderful man and very accomplished in terms of learning things. He was a lawyer, but he also built and wired his own house, was a sailor and pilot and owned various boats and planes throughout his life. We loved his South African accent … . He was a fascinating person – brilliant – and I just always admired him.”
Her grandfather was a native of Johannesburg, but Nikki is homegrown Orlando all the way, born right here at Florida Hospital.
“I left Orlando for seven years to go to UF for undergrad and law school, but other than that I have lived here all my life.”
And law – inspired by so many legal-minded relatives – has been a part of it since her early years, when she was a part of the very first law magnet class to graduate Boone High School. She was attracted to real estate from the get-go, as well – maybe even since middle school, she surmises, and admits to having an analytical side that helps in her work.
“Litigators – I do more transactional work – are a bit more … litigious, obviously,” she laughs, “and although I’d say my husband and I are more easygoing I think attorneys, in general, often like to analyze both sides of a story by our nature. So there are definitely times he and I get into the pros and cons of things, playing devil’s advocate, arguing and such – and I think it’s all good and fun.”
Fun, in fact – which is nice for a hardworking attorney and mother of two – is what she has when it comes to her duties for the Orlando chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW). As Director – Member Services, planning events is part of the role.
“We have monthly marketplace lunches and quarterly members-only events,” she ticks off. “We did a tour of the Orlando City Soccer stadium in February and recently had a downtown scavenger hunt – our second – it was a big hit! Our next event will probably be a cooking class.”
Member Services also follows up with new members, she notes, making sure they stay connected.
“And that’s a fun task, too,” she adds. “That’s really what CREW does. We lift each other up. When you have an opportunity to refer work to someone, you do. We know that the playing field is still not level, it’s not equal, and we try and give one another a hand to excel in our careers. That’s really what the organization is all about. And the men who join – they are onboard with our mission, as well.”
Carolan says she was a “major tomboy” in her youth, chasing her brother around. She appreciates the male members of CREW who acknowledge the lack of equality for woman and the importance of striving for it. It’s a cause her sons – Penn, 3 and Myles, 10 months – are likely to appreciate as they grow up.
Interestingly, her brother didn’t choose law, but medicine. Carolan’s dad is a physician; following in the footsteps of their elders is something the Lathams seem to have down. Her father didn’t mind Nikki’s pursuit of law, however.
“He very was supportive,” she laughs, “as long as I didn’t go into medical malpractice!”