Still a First Class Girl Scout

Barbara Barlage

She is petite and attractive with an effervescence that lets you know she is enjoying life.

Barbara Barlage will be 62 years old in April but feels like she is 18, “I am healthy and still excited to get out into the world.”

A successful businesswoman and former realtor, Barbara has lived in Boynton Beach for more than 30 years and embraces her community well beyond its borders. “Everything is in my backyard. I’m close to Palm Beach, West Palm Beach and Boca Raton. I love Boynton’s central location in Palm Beach County.”

Location has always been top of mind for Barbara and her husband, Phillip of 36 years. He’s a realtor and appraiser and they ran a residential real estate appraisal firm for 20 years. “We started as a mom and pop firm that grew to four offices and 28 appraisers in South Florida.” Barbara also sold properties and attributes her success to paying attention to clients. “I’d listen to people, what’s important is being realistic with people.”

When the real estate bubble burst in 2005, Barbara decided to stop selling.

Now a Branch Quality Manager at Bank United’s heavily trafficked Boynton Beach location, Barbara says she’s using skills first learned as a head bank teller in the early 1980s.

Barbara Barlage Branch Quality Manager

Describing business and working as her thing, Barbara says it has to do with her upbringing. “My grandmother lived with us in Baltimore and she was a cosmopolitan woman.” Florence Eckstein worked the night shift at Calvert Distillery and on weekends she would venture downtown for shopping and lunch with friends. “She worked hard and played hard and that’s what I do too.”

Barbara also has worked hard within her community, serving on the board of directors for the Schoolhouse Children’s Museum and leading the Boynton Beach Chamber of Commerce for seven years. During her time with the Chamber, she was responsible for propelling the Chamber’s annual event, the “Taste of Boynton” to the next level through publicity and encouraging more restaurants and distributors to participate in the event which is now known as the Boynton Beach Food, Wine and Beer Festival. She sums up her contributions this way, “To me, community is when everybody knows your name.”

She has one grown son, Michael and also embraces a large extended family that she equates with loyalty. “We’re all different but no matter what we stick together, we’re all there for each other.”

Her daily goal is to be the best she can be, at whatever she is doing. Something she learned in part from her late father, John Eckstein who she calls her best teacher. “He helped me get ready to apply for jobs, taught me how to ask for a raise or promotion, advised me on when it was time to move on but to never quit a job until you have another one lined up.”

To recharge, Barbara gets a good night’s sleep and turns to baking and cooking to eliminate stress. “I’m happy as can be when I can bake all day.”

Hard work, loyalty, community spirit and lots of cookies may sound like the life of a First Class girl scout, and it is. As a young girl, Barbara started in Brownies and received the Girl Scout’s First Class status in 1974, the organization’s top award at the time.

No doubt the Girl Scouts of America would be proud.

F – French fries or tater tots?  Tater tots

R – Right brained or left brained?  Both

E – Email or carrier pigeon? Email

S – Sunshine or moonlight? Moonlight

H – Homebody or party animal? Party Animal