Meet Nancy Ryan: Swim mom, football fan, gardener



Family: "My husband, Kevin, and I have three children: a son Jack, who’s a freshman at Williams College, and two daughters, Haley and Libby, who go to Barrington High School."

Before real estate: "I graduated from Barrington High and Fordham University. Kevin and I went to Philadelphia, where I got a master's in education, then moved to Chicago. We lived in Lincoln Park, and Kevin worked as a trader. He was primarily working with foreign currency, meaning his hours were crazy — he was often on London or Tokyo time. With young children, and no family in the area, working outside the home wasn’t a good option for me at the time."

Why real estate: "When we moved back to Barrington after having lived elsewhere for 20 years, I could really appreciate what it must be like to relocate to Rhode Island — particularly coming from the Midwest to the Eastern seaboard, which has a very different feel. I knew I could help clients with that transition."

Family travels: "We’ve gone to London, Mexico, Maine, most recently to the Grand Canyon ... We try to do different things, expose the children to a variety of experiences. They laugh at us because we like to be really active and get out and do things on vacation. If they had their way we’d be hanging around a resort doing nothing. But traveling as a party of five is not just a financial effort, it’s a mental one. When your flight gets cancelled, it’s not easy to land five stand-by seats on the same flight. So I think the most important thing is to find the time to spend time together, have dinner together as often as possible. We play a lot of poker as a family. The time we spend together now is the glue that will hold us together after they’re grown."

Time management: "Real estate takes time, but to some extent you can structure that time. When one of my children has an important meet or game, I can be there on the sidelines. But when I am working, or with my clients, they have 100 percent of my attention and energy. Technology means I can always be found. I can work from home but prefer the office. There are fewer interruptions, and I have the opportunity to collaborate with great people. At Residential Properties, I work in a cutting edge, professional environment, and it never gets stale."

Community service: "I’m very involved with the local garden club. It’s not all about that image of white-gloved luncheons and sandwiches with the crusts cut off — we work hard. We maintain town gardens, and engage in public outreach. We have a garden therapy program where we arrange flowers with elderly assisted-living residents, and we’ve recently launched an initiative to engage our junior garden club in this program in an effort to bridge generations. Lately there has been a real focus on renewable, organic and vegetable gardening. And the best thing is that I have met so many interesting people."

Sports: "Our daughters are avid swimmers — for Kendbrin, Barrington, and until their recent disbandment, Little Rhody. I really like the competitive swimming community. The meets are long, all-day events, but we are competing with a great group of families. Out of the water, it’s all about football. My husband is one of those lucky men who can watch hours and hours of football on a Sunday afternoon, and I don’t mind because I am right there with him. It started when I was growing up — Dad was a big football fan, and he let me pick his bets in the office pool. We did well. I made my picks based on the team names — I didn’t like Cowboys but I liked Colts … I suspect Dad had one form he gave to me and another he used to place his bets. I have been a fan ever since. I loved watching Jack play football on the same field that Kevin played on when I met him, and I am looking forward to watching Jack play for Williams this fall. And yes, we follow the Patriots, usually with family, friends, and lots of chili."

Advice: There are so many moving parts to a real estate sale or purchase, and when you are trying to execute one or the other while simultaneously dealing with whatever life is throwing at you, it’s overwhelming. It’s emotional, and it’s business at the same time. A good Realtor is one that will grab the reins and surround you with a good team of people who will control all the variables of the transaction. That is what I do, and it allows my clients to exhale, and know that they can delegate this transaction with confidence."

Contact: cell 401-699-6638, email,


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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.