Linda Harrison: Fulfilling an entrepreneurial dream

When Linda Harrison moved to San Francisco in 1996, after 20 years of involvement in Fortune 500 companies, including the last 10 at Eastman Kodak Co. (EK), she was looking to leave the “corporate world” far behind.

She did, for the most part — opening Anderson-Harrison Books in Hayes Valley, a rare book outlet met with critical praise but relatively little financial windfall that nonetheless proved to be an important stepping-stone in Harrison’s career.

Harrison’s time away from the corporate world was significant — she was able to fulfill her entrepreneurial dream by opening her own business, and she was also able to lend her efforts to the Business for Social Responsibility, a San Francisco think tank that helps big businesses strategize way to contribute to the community.

So when Harrison made her next career move — to real estate company Pacific Union GMAC, a high-end San Francisco agency with offices in the Presidio, she was able to draw upon her experiences both in the financial and the philanthropic world.

“After we were done with the bookstore a friend suggested I look into real estate,” said Harrison, who went to Loyola University in Chicago. “I felt that much of the experience I accumulated in the past was transferable to the position, and I also felt like I could make some valuable inroads in other social arenas.”

Upon arriving at the company in 2000, Harrison employed her experience to her senior management role, helping Pacific Union remain among the most successful real estate companies in the Bay Area, while also lending her time as a member of the board of directors of the California Association of Realtors trade group.

Even with those obligations, Harrison found the energy to guest lecture at the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley (on business model planning) and preside on the board of Frameline, a nonprofit movie distribution company specializing in gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender topics.

With every new endeavor Harrison undertakes, she maintains a balance between her business experiences and the progressive altruism of her social responsibilities.

“I’m a risk taker and I think I’m continually searching for new ideas,” Harrison said. “Through that process, I realize that you can be an advocate for your clients and your community at the same time.”

Linda Harrison

BUSINESS

New project: www.sfearn.org. Earn is the nonprofit that helps people learn to save.

Last project: www.frameline.org,

a 30-year-old arts organization; currently board president.

e-mails per day: 50-75

voice mails per day: 40

Essential Web sites:

www.car.org, www.google.com

Best perk: The dining commons in the Lucas Building at The Presidio.

Gadgets: IPod Nano, Treo, Red Tablet laptop with Sprint Wireless card

Education: Loyola University of Chicago (the Jesuits)

First job: Working for my grandmother in her beauty shop (Chicago). I was the shampoo girl and window-display designer.

Original aspiration: Chicago Sympony Orchestra conductor

Career objective: Successful, socially responsible real estate broker

PERSONAL

Details: 54 years old, 5-foot-10.

Hometown: Grew up in Hyde Park, on the South Side of Chicago.

hobbies: I love films, museums and

old bookstores and collecting old chairs.

Transportation: Chili red Mini Cooper S

Favorite restaurants: The Front Porch, Petite Robert, Dosa, Frascati and Boulevard

Vacation spot: A luxury spa, in a hotel, on a ship, in the mountains

Favorite clothiers: Billy Blue, Wilkes Bashford, the Sari Shop

Role modelS: District Attorney Kamala Harris, Rep. Nancy Pelosi

Reading: “The Perfect Thing,” by, Steven Levy, and “When Red is Black” by Qiu Xiaolon.

Worst fear: Waking up homeless on the street

Motivation: The Old Chinese women exercising in Washington Square Park at 6 a.m.

businessBusiness & Real Estate

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays attends an event to honor the San Francisco Giants' 2014 World Series victory on Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Willie Mays turns 90: San Francisco celebrates the greatest Giant

By Al Saracevic Examiner staff writer I couldn’t believe it. Willie Mays… Continue reading

Ja’Mari Oliver, center, 11, a fifth grader at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, is surrounded by his classmates at a protest outside the Safeway at Church and Market streets on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in support of him following an April 26 incident where he was falsely accused by an employee of stealing. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
School community rallies behind Black classmate stopped at Safeway

‘When you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us’

A warning notice sits under the windshield wiper of a recreational vehicle belonging to a homeless man named David as it sits parked on De Wolf Street near Alemany Boulevard on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. A proposed SF Municipal Transportation Agency law would make it illegal for overnight parking on the side street for vehicles taller than seven feet or longer than 22 feet. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA to resume ‘poverty tows’ amid calls to make temporary ban permanent

Fines and fees hurt low-income, homeless residents, but officials say they are a necessary tool

Income from Shared Spaces will provide financial resources to the San Francisco Municipal Transporation Agency, according to its director, Jeffrey Tumlin. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA director says Shared Spaces serves transit agency’s financial interest

$10.6 million price tag for program raises concerns among transit agency’s board members

A broad coalition of tenants and housing rights organizers rally at Stanley Mosk Courthouse to protest eviction orders issued against renters Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, in Los Angeles, CA. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Federal judge strikes down CDC’s national moratorium on evictions

David Yaffe-Bellany, Noah Buhayar Los Angeles Times A federal judge in Washington… Continue reading

Most Read