Chasing Tracy Campion

I’d never met Tracy Campion before I wrote my profile of her for this issue’s The Closer, but I’d seen her elegant real estate ads around town and on the web. And I always wondered: Who is this mysterious woman who seems to score every top-end residential listing? How does she do it? How does she convince Boston’s elite to entrust their biggest deals to her? I mean, real estate is a tough gig, and thousands have tried and failed. I know plenty of sharpies who couldn’t hack its 24-hour, seven-days-a-week demands. So what does it take to succeed, and land at the top of the heap?

My efforts to find out were almost thwarted. Turns out, the one thing Campion didn’t want was press. She called to cancel our first meeting the afternoon before, and tried desperately to redirect the story toward the humanitarian efforts of a South Boston nun. I couldn’t blame her; she made a strong case that any press, good or bad, could somehow hurt the empire she’d so carefully crafted. It’s true that she operates under the radar — just try finding a picture of her on the web.

I’m not sure how I brought her around, but I think she finally resigned herself to the fact that the story would happen with or without her — and that it might as well be with her. She’s a practical businesswoman, after all, so after much gentle coaxing, she agreed to give me a peek into the Campion operation. I spent a few hours sprinting around Back Bay with her, which was enough to convince me to keep my day job. But I admired her. She was honest and forthright, not at all what I’d expected from No. 1.

Then the phone calls started. Throughout October, Campion called me almost every morning to tell me (in the politest of ways) that I’d ruined her life and she wished she’d never met me. She was friendly enough about it, but I’m as susceptible to guilt trips as the next girl. And the thing was that I really liked her. I tried to talk her down, convince her to get some sleep. I sweated out of the month and waited for the story to come out.

Then, yesterday morning, I got the voicemail from Campion that I’d been dreading. It was short and to the point. “Okay, uh, Rachel? I didn’t deserve that nice article. I apologize for putting you through hell.”

No problem, Tracy.