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Episode 164: May 30, 2023

Joseph Bednar Interviews Erica Swallow, Top-selling Realtor for Coldwell Banker

She’s led social-media efforts at the New York Times, won awards for her journalism, served as marketing lead for numerous high-growth startups, wrote a series of children’s books about entrepreneurship, and is now one of the top-selling Realtors in the world for Coldwell Banker. And that’s not all. Erica Swallow is the highest-scoring honoree in BusinessWest’s 40 Under Forty class of 2023, and on this installment of BusinessTalk, BusinessWest Editor Joe Bednar sets out to learn why. In an engaging, wide-ranging interview, this Arkansas native talks about her intriguing career journey, her passion for entrepreneurship and this region, and much more. It’s must listening, so tune in to BusinessTalk, a podcast presented by BusinessWest and sponsored by PeoplesBank.

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40 Under 40 Class of 2023

Realtor, Turnberg & Swallow Team, Coldwell Banker Realty: Age 36

Erica SwallowErica Swallow’s résumé confuses people because she has worked in journalism, high-tech, and, currently, real estate.

“I have a broad range of interests, but the string that connects them all is feeling rooted to what I’m working on,” she said.

In 2019, she decided to put down roots in Western Mass. because of the high cost of housing in the Boston area. As a remote worker for a Boston-area tech company, Swallow researched houses within a 90-minute driving distance from work and fell in love with Springfield’s Forest Park district.

“I was blown away by the historic homes and having the 735-acre Forest Park next door,” she said.

When her company pulled all its remote workers back to headquarters, Swallow chose to stay in Springfield. After helping her mom sell the family home in Arkansas, then buy one for her in West Virginia, Swallow knew she had her next career.

“I’ve always known real estate was a powerful way for families to build equity and generational wealth,” she said. “I thought if I could help other families, this is where I want to be.”

Though she launched her real-estate career in 2020, her sales production last year led to inclusion in the Coldwell Banker International Diamond Society, placing her among the top 10% of Coldwell Banker agents worldwide.

As president of the Springfield Preservation Trust, Swallow is excited about taking part in her first large-scale building-rehab project at 7-9 Stockbridge St., the third-oldest building in the city’s downtown.

“When I came here, I wanted to build off the history that Springfield has, and this is exactly the kind of project I was hoping for,” she said. Once complete, the trust office will occupy the ground floor and lease the upper floors.

Swallow appreciates how much her life has changed from the days of growing up in poverty, and shared that her personal mantra is a quote by 13th-century poet Rumi, who encouraged people to “live life as if everything is rigged in your favor.”

“When you live from a place of empowerment, anything is possible,” she said.

Swallow used to think that making meaningful change in the world could only happen at the national level, but has since had a change of heart.

“I’ve learned that change gets made when you get involved locally,” she said. “I’ve made more change in my life in Western Mass. than I feel I’ve made in my whole career, and I’m still writing this part.”


—Mark Morris