Main Line’s ‘Hat Lady’ proves to be award-winning in actual property, eating and networking occasions – Delco Times

HAVERFORD– She’s identified round city as “The Hat Lady,” a moniker that she wears as proudly because the distinctive and fancy hats on her head. Real Estate agent Michelle Leonard says her signature hats are a part of her fashion and one of many many ways in which she is differentiated from different brokers within the aggressive actual property enterprise.

Anyone who is aware of the pleasant Bryn Mawr resident additionally is aware of that it’s not merely the colourful hats, the distinctive clothes or the signature giant pearl necklace, that make Leonard memorable. The girl, a strolling, speaking definition of the catchphrase “social butterfly,” promotes small companies and native charities, introduces and connects folks everywhere in the area, and appears to have a contact checklist that stretches to each nook of the tri-state space. Her checklist of associates runs the gamut from Main Line socialites, group leaders, and enterprise house owners to professional sports activities figures, cooks and TV newscasters.

As an actual property agent with Keller Williams, Leonard not too long ago turned a part of the unique Keller Williams Sports and Entertainment (KWSE) division, a community devoted to offering skilled athletes, musicians, and artists together with her actual property experience. Less than 1% of over 160,000 Keller Williams Realty brokers within the United States, have been invited to be part of this elite group of Realtors. She now can characterize skilled athletes, celebrities and others within the subject with their luxurious house gross sales, relocations, purchases and investments.

“This is a huge and humbling opportunity for me as it means that I have been recognized for my ability to serve such clientele with discretion, at the highest level of service and attention,” Leonard mentioned in a current interview.

Leonard says that she works with purchasers shopping for and promoting houses as modest as $150,000 all the best way as much as the hundreds of thousands.
“Most of my business is in repeat clients and referrals, but even in this current crazy housing market, I continue to attract new clients, too,” she said proudly.

She will proceed to serve purchasers of all backgrounds and earnings ranges within the Main Line and the Greater Philadelphia space of Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County and Philadelphia. However, it’s the Main Line space the place Leonard constructed her excellent profession and private popularity.

Few perceive the Main Line as Leonard does. Her background is as “Main Line-ish” because it will get.

Although she was born in Augusta, Georgia, Leonard lived in Baltimore till she was in third grade, attending a college satirically named “Bryn Mawr School,” a foreshadowing of her future. Her mom, who held a masters diploma in arithmetic, taught at Johns Hopkins University. Leonard’s mom Sandra left Michelle’s organic father when she was solely one-year-old, later marrying Eugene Leonard who adopted younger Michelle. The Leonards moved to Wynnewood in 1969.

Michelle attended Friends Select School for 2 years, after which Agnes Irwin, from grades 5-12, from the place she graduated. In 1978, after graduating from Agnes Irwin, Leonard was launched as a debutante at a Debutante Ball on the former Sheraton Philadelphia- Society Hill.
“I remember we came down the big staircase in pairs and it was a big party,” Leonard shared. “This formally introduced me to the Philadelphia-Main Line social scene.”

She attended Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, following in her mom’s footsteps by incomes a level in Mathematics.
“My mother and I were so much alike,” Leonard relates. “If people think I’m social, they should have met my mother—she was way more social than I am. My mother was like the belle of the ball!”

Michelle was all the time a people-person. She was president of the Math Club in faculty.

After faculty, Leonard moved again house. Although she had labored at her father’s enterprise, the Leonard Corporation in Philadelphia, throughout her summers whereas in class, she mentioned that she was desperate to attempt her personal wings.

She started her profession working for State Rep. Richard McClatchy and First Pennsylvania Bank, and in 1987, she started her actual property profession. As a realtor, Leonard gained award after award by the years, together with Top Agent in her workplace. Her profession path took her to Coldwell Banker in Haverford, Fox and Lazo in Haverford, Long and Foster in Devon, Keller Williams in Devon and Wayne, Century 21 in Newtown Square, and others. In 2019, Leonard returned to Keller Williams Realty, Inc., the place she is rated to be quantity ten in gross sales out of 180 space brokers.
“I think that my success in real estate profession is that I’ve always made my clients my number one priority and build a relationship with them,” Leonard displays. “I don’t have a big team so if you want to work with me, you will work with me, not someone else on a team.”
Her awards have additionally included Philadelphia Magazine’s Top Realtor Five Star Professional” award. However, Leonard says that receiving the “Readers Choice, Best Realtor” Award in 2021 by Main Line Today Magazine, was one in all her most treasured awards.
“This award was one of my favorites because it had nothing to do with the volume of sales, but had to do with the quality of my service,” Leonard remarked. “My goal is to make my clients outrageously happy so that they’ll recommend me.”

She credit her mom for instructing her to assist others and provides of herself.

“My Mom was always volunteering and helping others. She took dinner to her friend Ruth, three times a week. She would ask people, ‘What can I do to help you?”

Leonard says she follows the recommendation of a Penn professor who says to do 5 minute favors every day to make the world a greater place.
Before Michelle’s father handed away in 2010, he was critically sick and her mom Sandra took care of him at house. Unable to exit a lot, she introduced her social life to her house. She and Michelle would ship out written invites and host elegant dinner events with ten fascinating friends at a time. Mother and daughter structured their dinners just like the Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, the oldest and largest meals and wine society on the planet.

“My mom was my best friend,” Leonard shared. “I learned so much from her.”
After Sandra handed away in 2012, Leonard continued her mom’s custom to this present day. Her dinner events are themed to match no matter event is going on. She owns dozens of dinnerware units, with tableware to match, to rejoice all the pieces from Mardi Gras, Cinco de Mayo, and Galentine’s Day to Halloween, Bastille Day, Election Day, March Madness, President’s Day and extra.

“You can imagine, that I also have lots of silverware,” Leonard added, with a smile. “With all those dinner courses, I need them.”
Her tablescapes are so spectacular that she has an Instagram website (@michelleleonardisentertaining) simply to show them.

Like her dish and tableware, Leonard additionally boasts a tremendous themed array of hats and clothes to match. Few, aside from Leonard, have a “Gritty” costume to help the Flyers, a “crab” costume to don on the shore, a baseball costume to cheer on the Phillies, a horse costume for the Kentucky Derby, or a Flag costume for Flag Day—all with coordinating hats, in fact! In all, Leonard says she owns upwards of 150 hats. She has all the time been, proper in her factor, on the Devon Horse Show, the place hats are the norm. She has been a ten-day field holder for 45 years, and says that she enjoys seeing the array of hats on the women there, and on the Radnor Hunt every spring.

“I do give some of my hats away to make room for new ones,” she chuckles. “I have a lot of red in my wardrobe. Red is a very popular color in my world.”

In addition to actual property agent and social connector, Leonard can also be an writer. In 2000, she wrote and revealed the kids’s e book, “The Tusk Family Visits Philadelphia” and offered 5,000 copies that month when the Republican National Convention was in Philadelphia. She says that she at the moment is engaged on a “Selling Secrets You Can’t Afford To Miss,” e book that may assist readers promote their houses. On social media, she writes two or three in depth restaurant evaluations every week about her eating out experiences and does informational movies of individuals and companies “if she believes in them.” Although she has the “Main Line flair,” Leonard additionally possesses a down-to-earth, charming approach of creating all folks really feel comfy in her firm.

Not many know that Leonard is a two-time most cancers survivor, having been handled for each uterine and pores and skin cancers. She additionally was identified with Diabetes in 2015. However, few setbacks can hold Leonard faraway from the social scene for very lengthy.

Leonard has develop into a social director, of types, within the Main Line and surrounding areas. She started in 2017, by internet hosting “Tasty Talks,” a creation of her personal, as soon as a month on the former Yang Ming Restaurant in Radnor Township. People would flock there to be part of her distinctive networking lunch and be taught occasions, which might characteristic a widely known native superstar who would communicate throughout a five-course connoisseur lunch. The visitor speaker would select a charity of their selection and proceeds from the luncheon would go to their designated charity. Past audio system on the lunches embody Ed Rendell, Tracy Davidson, Steve Morrison, Sue Serio, Pat Ciarrocchi, Jenna Meissner, Jim Donovan, Stephanie Stahl, Nicole Michalik, Nick Foley, Marilyn Russell, Karen Hepp, Lisa Thomas-Laury and others.

When Yang Ming closed in 2020, Leonard held a number of extra of the lunches at Iron Hill in Ardmore, however determined to show all of her consideration to the Dine and Dish dinners, which she had began in January 2019 to enhance the success of her luncheons after folks saved asking her for dinner applications. Like the luncheons, the Dine and Dish occasions even have an all-star lineup of audio system which have included enterprise girl Mary Dougherty, restauranteur/ recording artist Tony Luke, Philadelphia Flyers alum Chris Therien, former NFL participant Paul Palmer and others. In June, the Dine and Dish occasion featured 97.5 The Fanatic’s John Kincade.

The Dine and Dish dinners are offered equally to the luncheons with a widely known speaker who selects a charity benefactor of their selection.
“I never made a penny on the lunches or the dinners,” Leonard said. “I do it because I enjoy learning and meeting new people, and I can see my guests do too.”

Like the lunches, Leonard additionally invitations choose friends to take a seat at a VIP desk and introduces every one in all them, so attendees get to fulfill and mingle with group leaders and different excessive profile friends. The seating is curated, offering an additional alternative for attendees to fulfill and get to know others in attendance on the final networking occasions. Additionally, she permits the chef and restaurant proprietor to come back out and say a number of phrases to the viewers so friends can be taught concerning the restaurant.

Leonard hires knowledgeable photographer and calls friends onto the crimson carpet so “the paparazzi” can take images of all of the friends. She then posts them, afterwards, like a Main Line society web page on social media.

Instead of holding the Dine and Dish occasions at a set venue, like she did for the luncheons, Leonard switches the dinners to a wide range of Main Line eating places so attendees will get to expertise new locations that maybe they’ve been desirous to attempt. Dine and Dish has been held on the The Refectory at Villanova, 30 Main , Margaret Kuo’s Wayne, Nectar, The Bercy, Main & Vine, and different eating places.

“My mom Sandra and my grandmother, Thelma, who lived with us until she passed away in 2007, both loved fine dining, good cooking, and volunteering. My mother always had a fondness for meeting new people and being a part of the local social scene,” Leonard shared. “I guess that all kind of rolled into me.”

To discover out about upcoming Dine and Dish occasions, name Michelle Leonard at 610- 331-5913 or go to or

During a current interview, Michelle Leonard, AKA “The Hat Lady,” talks about how she has realized to convey folks collectively and assist them community and be taught from one another. (PEG DEGRASSA/ MediaNews Group)
Real Estate Agent, Michelle Leonard is named “The Hat Lady.” She has made a profession in actual property, and as a social connector together with her Tasty Talks and Dine and Dish occasions. (PEG DEGRASSA/ MediaNews Group)
Michelle Leonard, of Bryn Mawr, stands with Devon Horse Show's chairman, Wayne Grafton, at this year's show. Leonard has had a box at the show for over 45 years. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Michelle Leonard, of Bryn Mawr, stands with Devon Horse Show’s chairman, Wayne Grafton, at this 12 months’s present. Leonard has had a field on the present for over 45 years. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

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