RISMedia's Real Estate Magazine

MAR 2019

Real Estate magazine is the industry's leading source for real estate news and information since 1980. Published monthly by RISMedia, Real Estate magazine offers timely and relevant real estate news to the industry's top brokers and agents.

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by Keith Loria {Power Broker Perspectives} 56 March 2019 RISMedia's REAL ESTATE Laura Ellis: Empowering People at Every Level Laura Ellis became in- volved in real estate straight out of graduat- ing from Illinois State University, drawn by an entrepreneurial spirit and an interest in be- ing in business for her- self. After eight years, she transitioned into management roles and started doing group training with a CENTURY 21 franchise. Baird & Warner pur- chased that business in 1998, and Ellis con- tinued in a manage- ment capacity, regularly helping the office break records in production, recruiting, mortgage and title. Her experience and work ethic helped her rise to her current posi- tion as president of Resi- dential Sales and execu- tive vice president of the firm, responsible for the day-to-day operations of residential sales. She also serves on the ex- ecutive committee. Looking back on 2018, how did the Chicago mar- ket fare? Laura Ellis: The general Chicago market is probably a little bit behind 2017, though it's still a terrific market. Baird & Warner is significantly outpacing the market, so we'll post our fourth consecutive record year in both units and sales volume. We're very proud of that gaining marketshare. Has there been any recent growth, or planned growth initiatives for 2019? LE: In the last 12 months or so, we did a couple of acquisitions that helped us grow. We did a sig- nificant acquisition in our Libertyville marketplaceā€” a CENTURY 21 franchise agreement, which was one of the top competitors in that market. We acquired them last fall and they've become a powerhouse office for us. We also did several walkovers, as well. In fact, we had a small Weichert location in our Evanston market where the franchise agreement was up, and the owner re- ally just wanted to sell. While we love big acquisi- tions, a lot of our growth in the last couple of years has actually come from smaller groups of agents coming over to work under our structure. For next year, we're aggressively looking for acquisition opportuni- ties, as well as those walk- over opportunities. What do you offer agents as far as training? LE: We've intentionally set up a model here that's very cost-effective to the agents. We've segment- ed our training programs because we have 2,500 agents in our company, and there's no way we can do one training curriculum that's going to meet the needs of each and ev- ery agent. We have some agents doing $30 million a year and some that have been in the business for just a little while. We call our training Achieve, Ac- celerate and Ascend. The Ascend group is our top 20 percent of agents. They get invitation-only training op- portunities at least twice a year. Then we have Achieve, a two-week new agent pro- gram that then continues in the branch offices for a year so that they can work with their managers. Ac- celerate encompasses ev- erything in the middle. We don't charge our agents because we want to make sure there are no barriers. What do you feel makes the firm unique? LE: We're all about empow- ering our people at every level, whether it be our bro- ker associates, our staff, our mid-and senior manag- ers. Everybody wants to be part of a winning team, and that embodies our culture. Deirdre O'Connell: Driving Business in a Dynamic Market Deirdre O'Connell's first exposure to real estate was doing public relations for the real estate department of MetLife Insurance. But when she and her husband started a fam- ily, she wanted more control over her career and home life, so she went for her real VITALS: Baird & Warner Years in business: 164 Size: 24 offices, 2,400 agents 2018 sales volume: $5.9 billion 2018 transactions: 21,885 www.bairdwarner.com

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