Gail Kiely graduated from Southern Methodist University with a bachelor’s degree in business and started her career in advertising and brand management. Simultaneously she was studying Pilates and earned her full certification in 2003. Gail’s love for Pilates and urge to start a family lured her away from the corporate world, and she quickly began teaching and started her own Pilates business. Today she is a real estate agent with Vista Sotheby’s International Realty.
What inspired you to pursue a career in real estate?
My husband and father-in-law are in the real estate development business, so I am privy to their daily activities and projects. I was surprised and delighted when my father-in-law suggested I join their team as a real estate agent. I had worked with him in the past, and he was an amazing mentor to me. I trusted his vision and dove right in.
Where are you from, and how did you end up in the South Bay?
I was born in Mountain View, California, but we moved around quite a bit during my childhood. Shortly after my husband and I married, we moved from Austin, Texas, to Los Angeles in 1998. We were smitten with the South Bay from the get-go and purchased our first home in Manhattan Beach in 2003. After we began raising our family of two little ones, we traded our view of the ocean for a house with a big yard and a cul-de-sac street in Hermosa Beach.
What advice would you give your younger self just starting out in business?
Know that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be on this journey. You can’t rush success, and you can’t learn everything overnight. A wise female colleague told me to enjoy the journey of real estate. She said, “One day you’ll look back and relish the early years.” I feel this happens so much in life. We’re always in a hurry to get to the next phase. Stop hurrying and enjoy the now.
What does success mean to you?
On this journey of life, there’s only one way out, and you can’t take anything with you. For me, success is about giving life everything you’ve got. Working hard but also playing hard—not necessarily to have more things but to have more experiences with the ones you love.
Tell us about a project you’re currently working on.
This fall I’m bringing a new build to market in the Hermosa Valley. It’s a Jon Starr Design home built by Chris Lombardi. With 5000 square feet of modern living, the house is the perfect balance of function and fun.
How do you take care of yourself?
My health is a priority for me. I feel my best, both mentally and physically, when I allocate time for working out regularly and eating healthy meals. I like to go to an early-morning yoga or Pilates class a few days a week. I also really enjoy going for walks on The Strand with our dog, Ferris. He’s a super silly, 3-year-old Airedale terrier, and he makes sure we get our steps in!
I absolutely love to cook too. Cooking is therapy for me. Being in the kitchen preparing something for family and friends is my happy place. We have an outdoor woodburning pizza oven, and that’s the perfect spot to hang with friends and family over a delicious pie straight from the oven.
Tell us about the book or podcast you’re loving right now.
I recently finished the book Atomic Habits and thought it was insightful. One of my favorite podcasts is Mel Robbins. She is so uniquely humble and motivating. The guests she has on her show run the gamut from brain specialists to top hostage negotiators.
Where can we find you when you’re not working?
I love to travel. Mammoth and Los Olivos are two of my favorite getaway locations. We just got back from a family trip to Italy. It was amazing to see the country through the eyes of our teenagers. The culture and the people inspire me. I’m already starting to think about our next big family trip—either Spain or Greece!
How do you give back to our community?
My daughter and I are members of the National Charity League Manhattan-Hermosa Chapter, which I love because we’re helping others while spending quality time together. I’m also our neighborhood block captain and enjoy organizing super fun block parties regularly to keep the neighbors connected. As our kids grew up, I cherished all the volunteer hours working in the classroom and being a part of the school PTO board. I’ve made some amazing memories and friendships!
Photographed by Lauren Taylor