Seven years ago, Rucker bought her first home after her pastor told her it would be a prudent investment. "Although I was young and felt overwhelmed, I educated myself with the help of a good salesperson," she says. The experience inspired her to get her real estate license. She founded her company three years ago to gain greater work flexibility and provide education to her clients, including single African-American women who sometimes need extra help to improve their credit and plan how to attain homeownership, says Rucker. She closed $16.3 million in sales in 2005. To expand her reach, she's now learning Spanish and sign language.
Family business: Rucker and her husband Alfred, a mortgage broker, also operate mortgage lending and advertising firms, which they promote along with their real estate business on billboards under the Rucker Inc. corporate umbrella.
Balanced approach: With two sons, 9 and 13, Rucker carefully schedules her work week and keeps weekends free for family and herself. But she also sets aside time for her spiritual side. "It may sound like a cliche, but when things get to me, I meditate."