Profile: Margaret Norvell

September 18, 2015
By Susan Erwin

profile-Margaret Norvell
BY SUSAN ERWIN – Margaret Norvell had been visiting Boca Grande as a frequent visitor for more than 30 years before moving here permanently in 2012.
She is a Realtor by trade and recently joined Michael Saunders & Company Real Estate Gasparilla Island office.
With more than 30 years of real estate experience combined with an extensive background in banking and finance, Margaret offers a wealth of professional business expertise to her clients.
Originally from Nashville, she discovered Boca Grande when she started taking winter trips to the island with her family.
“After vacationing here annually since the late 1970s, eventually, my mother and I would come and spend every winter here,” she said.
Margaret purchased a historic cottage previously owned by Effie Joiner in 1998 and became a permanent island resident in 2012.
Margaret offers a vast amount of knowledge about island history and she shares it with her clients who are inquiring about local properties up for sale or rent.
Margaret attended a private girls high school in Nashville, and then attended and graduated from University of Alabama with a major in history.
After college, she started a career in banking. After much training and proving her skills to her supervisors, she was the first woman in Nashville who earned the title of banking officer.
“I learned so much there about how to run and manage a business,” she said.
Margaret also worked for the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street for a period of time.
“I was in charge of acquisitions and dispositions,” she said.
From there she started a party planning business that did very well, and eventually that led her to pursue a career in commercial real estate.
“I’ve had a lot of interesting jobs and I used the experience from each one to take me to the next level,” she said.
She started a company (with a partner, Shane Murray) called Norvell and Murray properties.
She focused primarily on investing in REITS (Real Estate Investment Trusts) at that time in her career. A REIT is when a company owns, and in most cases, operates income-producing real estate.
“It gives the general public an opportunity to purchase small segments of commercial properties and watch their investments grow,” she said.
Over the years, her company oversaw the building of 17 Walgreen’s stores from inception to completion in Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Previously involved with one of the world’s largest commercial real estate firms, Margaret achieved sales that totaled over a half of a billion dollars in retail, multiuse parcels and investment properties.
Margaret has one son, Will Ward, 45 and one daughter, Maury Woolwine, 43, and she is quite proud of both of them.
Will owns a management and producing company based in Los Angeles.
“He has a terrifically successful career in California and he is married with two children,” she said.
Margaret said her son recently produced a film called “In The Heart Of The Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex,” and the movie was directed by Ron Howard.
“The film is going to premier in December in New York City and I can’t wait to attend it with my son,” she said. “It’s based on the story of Moby Dick.”
Margaret said the movie was primarily shot in London and the Canary Islands and stars Chris Hemsworth. Based on the 1820 event, a whaling ship is preyed upon by a sperm whale, stranding its crew at sea for 90 days, thousands of miles from home.
Maury lives in Nashville with her husband and two children. She is a stay-at-home wife and mom.
Margaret said one of her favorite things to do is spend time with her five grandchildren when they visit Boca Grande. They range in age from 12, 11, 9 and two of them – a boy and a girl – are eight years old (and just three weeks apart).
“They love coming here since it’s so different from life in Los Angeles,” she said. “They can do things here that they can’t there; like riding their bikes on safe streets to get some ice cream or walking down to enjoy the quiet beach. And I think it’s so very important that they are able to see and learn about the different kinds of life on the east and west coast.”
In her spare time, she enjoys walking, biking, swimming, fishing and she has just started to take up kayaking.
“I am in the process of renting several different kinds and trying them out to see which one I like the best,” she said.
She enjoys backwater fishing and has been fishing the local waters for many years. She has spent time with many local popular fishing captains over the past 30 years.
“I like to fish for redfish, snook and trout,” she said.
Margaret said she also enjoys relaxing with a good book.
“I just recently read ‘Catherine the Great’ for the second time and that’s one of my favorites,” she said.
Margaret said the person she admires most is her father.
“He certainly taught me my work ethic and I have tried to pass that onto my kids,” she said.
Margaret said during her travels she loves to tell people about Boca Grande and the pristine beauty and safety the island boasts.
“I try to tell every person I meet who hasn’t visited the area just how quaint and unique the island really is. Often, people from the northern states will confuse it with Boca Raton, and nothing could be farther from the truth. I once sat next to a man from France at a dinner party and when I told him that we do not even have a traffic light in the town – he couldn’t believe it. And I hope we never get one!”
Currently, Margaret belongs to The Woman’s Club of Boca Grande. She has also served on several boards of directors, and as chair for multiple charity galas, events and initiatives.
When she is not working, she can be seen walking, biking and making the most of the island’s active lifestyle.
To speak with Margaret, call 964-2000 or stop by 420 E. Railroad Ave. in Boca Grande.