Real estate broker Monica Diane Cost was born on January 18, 1971 in Atmore, Alabama to Veronica Mason Hairston and Chalmers Hairston, III. Growing up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Cost attended Samson Freedman Pre-School, Anna Blankston (A.B.) Day School, Abington Friends School and Baldie Middle School. Studying and working at Seafood America, Cost graduated fifth in her class from Lankenau College Preparatory School in 1988. At Hampton University, where she attended college for three years, Cost studied accounting and held internships at Mellon Bank and Prudential Insurance. Cost graduated in 1994, from Temple University with her B.S. degree in accounting and finance.
Hired by Prudential Insurance first as a healthcare benefits analyst then as an auditor, Cost traveled the country studying and correcting Prudential’s systems and controls. In 1996, Cost moved to Boston, Massachusetts, and joined TJX Companies as an auditor. Cost, while serving as TJX’s associate human relations officer, started diversity groups for women and people of color in 1998. In 1999, Cost was appointed finance analyst and in 2000, accounting supervisor. Accepting a job with Reebok in 2000, Cost was mentored by Jimmy Jones in human relations, and served as financial analyst, senior financial analyst and compensation analyst; she also participated in The Partnership, a leadership program to support aspiring people of color in the corporate world. In 2004, Cost joined Cushman and Wakefield and became the first African American and one of the youngest individuals to hold the operations manager position within that organization. Cost also became the first African American broker in the New England area for Cushman & Wakefield and the first African American female broker in a major real estate firm in Massachusetts.
Cost served on the boards of The Partnership and the Crittendon Women’s Union; she also was a participant on the advisory board of the Epiphany School and the planning committee for the Paul and Phyllis Fireman One Family Campaign, mentoring one of their scholars. Cost served as president of The Partnership Alumni organization and chaired the Girl Scouts’ Leading Women Awards. In 2006, Cost was a Leading Woman herself; in 2000 she was a YMCA Black Achiever; and in 2004 the Chamber of Commerce Future Leader. "The Boston Herald" named Cost one of The Hub’s Future Leaders. Cost counsels young professionals on how to succeed in business through her consulting firm, Evidently Assured (www.evidentlyassured.com). She has also been featured as a motivational speaker at Northeastern University, Boston University and the University of Suffolk.
Cost is the author of the blog "Out of Living in the Land of Make Believe."
A longtime resident of the Boston area, Cost is married to Donald M. Cost with two sons, Christopher and Cameron.
Monica Diane Cost was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 10, 2007.