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story.lead_photo.caption Nancy Gratz poses in her office at Gratz Realty and Auctioneering in Wardsville. Photo by Julie Smith / News Tribune.

Two-time cancer survivor, business owner and philanthropist Nancy Gratz loves working with people to enhance their quality of life by making them smile.

The Jefferson City native retired from 43 years in banking and has since transitioned to real estate, working as an associate broker under Gratz Real Estate and Auctioneering. She is currently licensed to sell residential and commercial property.

"The thing I love most is being able to help people," Gratz said. "So whether it's banking, real estate or community involvement, helping people is what I enjoy because I love to give back."

Over the years, Gratz said, helping people find the home of their dreams has been most rewarding. Because Gratz Real Estate is a family business, everyone including she and her husband works together as a team to offer high-quality service, she added.

Gratz holds licenses to sell real estate and insurance. She also has received awards from prominent organizations such as the Missouri Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Zonta and the Missouri Jaycees.

In addition to the real estate business, the Gratz family also owns a farm in Wardsville.

With three children, seven grandchildren and a close-knit family, Gratz has a lot of support and enjoys having them all live in the area, with the exception of one grandchild.

"I devote everything to faith, family and friends," Gratz said. "As a two-time cancer survivor, you have be strong. As a woman, we work very hard to be strong for everybody else."

In 2001 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After treatment and a double mastectomy, she beat it. Then in 2011, she was diagnosed with Paget's disease, a form of cancer that can target the breast or various bones. Gratz is cancer-free today.

"I'm honored to be one of the 17 women in business with so many others that have been successful," she said.

Q. Who has invested in you and your career?

A. "The best mentor I've had is my husband of 47 years. Whether it was the business or raising our family, we were there for each other. For example, when my husband was elected to state representative in 1993, we did that together; and when I had to be at out-of-town banking conferences, he was at home with the kids."

Q. What choices have you made to invest in yourself and your own success?

A. "Years ago, through online classes, I was able to attain a graduate diploma for the School of Savings and Loans, get my real estate broker's license, and also worked to become a licensed insurance agent in all fields. To me, education is the most important. Whether it be 12 hours of continuing education or attending the National Association of Realtors conference, I want to always want to be known as a trusted and experience professional. Since this is a family business, it's important for us to feel like we are serving our community as leaders in this industry."

Q. Of what professional achievement are you most proud?

A. "I am very proud of my experience in banking. In 2002, I was the second woman to serve as the chair of the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce. That same year, I was honored to be the recipient of the Zonta Woman of Achievement. And more recently, in 2016, I earned the Community Achievement Award from the Jefferson City Board of Realtors among my peers."

Q. What do you see as the biggest issues facing women in the workplace?

A. "Sometimes women don't have the level of self-confidence they need to be able to grow. You have to believe in yourself before you can get someone else to believe in your."

Q. What drives you most in life and in your career?

A. "It drives me to just be able set goals and achieve them knowing that it's worthwhile to our clients. For example, when I get calls for clients who are selling their homes, I may set a goal to retrieve the comparative market analysis to help them assess how much their home is worth in the market, or for potential buyers, I may work to get a listing. It's all worth it to be able to make our clients smile."

Q. What advice would you give to a woman entering the workforce?

A. "Work hard, be trustworthy, and try to make a difference in the community and your life."

More 17 in '17 from #jcmo Inside Business :

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Diane Gillespie: Basking in eclipse glow, CVB director strives to promote community

Emily Mantle: Building connections in health care through programs

Heather McCreery: Driven by family, lawyer now a proud business owner

Holly Stitt: Avenue HQ owner wears many hats in business community

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Jill Snodgrass: Event planner promotes organizations she supports

Kara Miller: Sticking with artistic passions in changing times

Linda Patton: Vet goes from summers at a farm to 26 years at clinic

Marylyn DeFeo: 30-year volunteer exudes generosity

Missy Bonnot: Chamber exec grows business community, economy

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