Career Growth Is In Your Hands at SVN

We all have moments in our lives that can be considered “defining moments” — times when a certain thing happens that changes our life trajectory completely. The funny thing about these life-altering moments?

We rarely see them coming.

The Origin

For me, it was October 2017 in Chicago, and I was being interviewed by a person who would not only later become my boss, but also my mentor, role model, and most importantly, my friend. That person was SVN Chief Growth Officer, Solomon Poretsky. This specific situation was not brand new to me — I’d had my fair share of job interviews — but as Solomon sat there across from me and spoke about SVN and about the role I was pursuing, I couldn’t help but think, “this feels… different.”

As if cued by my thought, Solomon said something that will stay with me forever:

“Whoever steps into this role will be responsible for the livelihood of the clients they oversee… and these clients are more than just clients. They’re people who have dedicated their lives to this business.”

As a 25-year old just a few years out of college, this level of responsibility both shocked and thrilled me. I’d never come across someone with as much sincere devotion for the people they worked with as Solomon had. Solomon’s enthusiasm for his work and for his clients matched a certain “fire” I had for years recognized in myself but had yet to harness in my professional life. I soon realized my spirited ambition, zealousness, and passion for serving others made me the perfect candidate for the job.

A Culture of Accelerated Development

As the Business Development Manager for SVN, I was the single point of contact between SVN Corporate and our Franchisees. This was both a support role and a development role, as it was critical that I helped accelerate growth and expansion for our franchise offices.

As I grew in my role, I began to realize that my job was fulfilling in a way I never thought possible. I was having meaningful face-to-face interactions and building relationships with people who, as Solomon had revealed, truly dedicated their lives to their businesses. I quickly realized that these people – our clients – were so much more than that. I started to see in each and every person values that continue to drive the SVN brand today. In my travels I collected invaluable wisdom, insight, and stories from all different corners of the country. Like a puzzle, I began piecing together the shared values and beliefs that make up the SVN Core Covenants.

It was immensely rewarding to see new places, hear new perspectives, and understand firsthand why SVN is so special. Getting personal time with our clients brought the SVN Difference to life for me.

Being out in the field was intensely educational. I learned something new every day, and I appreciated being encouraged to apply my new knowledge to not only increase my personal impact but also to help other departments across the organization.

Something worth emphasizing at this point in my story: in my entire SVN career, no two days have been the same. For someone who thrives in a dynamic and engaging environment, this is why I am truly excited to come to work every day. My enthusiasm today is just as genuine as it was on my first day with SVN.

In my three years as Business Development Manager, I personally helped support our 200+ global offices. I ran hundreds of demonstrations and trainings on our platform, educated our Advisors on the advanced tools and resources available to them, and supported our franchisee offices daily. I helped offices build their websites, assisted in structuring an internal SVN onboarding program, and worked directly with our Franchisees and the SVN Corporate Development team to build comprehensive business plans to help offices grow.

Opportunities for Growth

Deeply rooted in the SVN culture is an emphasis on professional growth and development. Unlike other brands in the commercial real estate industry, SVN takes a modern approach to talent acquisition, retention, and development, and it didn’t take me long to understand that SVN truly “walks the walk” in this area.

SVN does this in a number of ways. Here are a few:

  • Role autonomy and flexibility, allowing you the freedom to use your unique strengths to deliver your best work
  • Ownership and opportunities to grow within & outside of your role, giving you control over your professional future 
  • Exposure to new challenges and an environment of continued learning & stepping outside of your comfort zone

SVN encourages you to be the architect of your own career. Because of this, I felt (and still feel) empowered to bring my best self to work each day.

Now, in my fourth year with SVN, I am eager, honored, and proud to transition into my new role as Sales Director. This promotion is a significant development opportunity for my career growth and something that was both encouraged and enabled by leadership at SVN.

It’s amazing that the very people who hired me have had a hand in every aspect of helping me grow personally and professionally. And Solomon was absolutely right during that interview in 2017 — our clients are so much more than clients; they’ve dedicated their lives to this business. And through the years of witnessing that firsthand, I realize that I’ve done the same.

After years of direct client support (often in-office), it is thrilling to jump to the other side of the organization and apply this knowledge to my work with prospective offices and partners. Anyone that knows me understands that I love the SVN brand and, more than anything, our clients.

We talk a lot about the SVN Difference at SVN. What the SVN Difference exemplifies to me, personally, is the audience reading this post today. The SVN Community, both the corporate team and our large ecosystem of offices, is truly a special group of professionals that care about the work they do and the people whom they work with.

I am thrilled for this next step in my career and grateful that SVN has opened so many doors for me, both personally and professionally. It’s an environment that fosters learning and growth and with this, I am both hopeful and confident that I can move swiftly from supporting our offices to expanding our footprint with more exceptional partners. This is what gets me so excited about the future of SVN, and our journey to building a billion-dollar brand together.

Something tells me this will be my next defining moment.

Dean Saunders Named Highest-Producing Land Broker in the Nation for 2020 Performance

APEX Top National Producer Awarded by NAR’s Realtors Land Institute (RLI) for Saunders’ Transactions Totaling More Than $126 Million Last Year

LAKELAND, FL, March 29, 2021 – Dean Saunders, ALC, CCIM, founder, managing director & senior advisor of SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler in Lakeland, FL, received the REALTORS Land Institute (RLI) APEX Awards program’s most coveted and prestigious award, the APEX 2020 Top National Producer.

The award recognizes the applicant with the highest overall qualifying transaction volume across the nation. This is the second time Saunders earned the top honor among national land brokers, winning the award in 2018. The awards program is four years old.

The APEX Awards Program administrators reviewed 2020 sales by RLI-affiliated land agents totaling a combined $3.5 billion in qualifying transaction volume from 140 applicants. Saunders earned the honors based on transactions totaling more than $126 million in 2020.

Saunders was also recognized as an APEX 2020 Top 20 Producer. He received awards from RLI CEO Aubrie Kobernus, MBA, RCE, as well as The Land Report’s Co-founder Eric O’Keefe on Wednesday, March 17, during RLI’s 2021 Virtual National Land Conference.

“We are proud of Dean and all of our members that were recognized for their accomplishments in 2020,” Kobernus said. “They truly are the crème of the crop when it comes to land real estate professionals.”

Saunders was also recently received other professional recognitions, including:

  • For performance in 2020, he was the #2 advisor in SVN® among 1,620 advisors and #1 advisor in Florida among 198 advisors, earning the SVN® Partners Circle award.
  • Dean received the 2020 National Association of Realtors (NAR) National Commercial Award for exceptional service and contributions to the industry.
  • In 2020, Dean was named to the Florida Trend Florida 500 list for the second year in a row.


About SVN International Corp.

The SVN organization is a globally recognized commercial real estate entity united by a shared vision of creating value with clients, colleagues, and our communities. The SVN brand is comprised of over 1,600 advisors and staff in more than 200 offices across the globe in six countries. Our brand pillars represent the transparency, innovation, and inclusivity that enables all our advisors to collaborate with the entire real estate industry on behalf of our clients. SVN’s unique Shared Value Network® is just one of the many ways that SVN advisors create amazing value with our clients, colleagues, and communities. For more information, visit www.svn.com.

All SVN offices are independently owned and operated. To learn more about becoming an SVN commercial real estate business owner, visit svn.com/franchising-opportunities/.

Looking to the Future: The Disruption of COVID-19 and the Transition into the Next-Normal

Exactly one year ago, eight governors across the US took the initial move to close bars and restaurants, and the Dow Jones posted its largest one-day drop ever, finishing down a record 2,997 points. The world as we knew it was hitting the proverbial fan. New incoming information —none of which was encouraging — came across our screens at a frantic pace, causing our stomachs and portfolios to drop in tandem. 

With a full year now passed by in the COVID economy, the universe of uncertainty has thankfully compressed. While it was not an advanced degree that any of us had applied for, the pandemic has imparted a lifetime of lessons, offering clear clues about the future of commercial space demand and the ways we as humans interact with the built environment.   


Starting first with the economy as a whole, I know we have all become a bit numb to sideways numbers during the past year, but to dig ourselves out of this hole, it is important to understand just how deep we are. Early last year, while we were all still finishing our champagne and settling in after the holiday season, the Congressional Budget Office released its estimates of 2020 economic growth, serving as a reliable benchmark of where the economy would have stood without the pandemic. Actual output last year fell short of the CBO’s early 2020 forecast by $1.2 Trillion Dollars, good for an average loss of $3,560.06 for every American.

More workers filed for initial unemployment claims in the first nine weeks of this crisis than during the entirety of the 2007-2009 recession, and the unemployment rate hit a stratospheric high of 14.8% last April. Through the most recent Jobs report, it looks like we are once again starting to see some positive momentum toward an eventual recovery. The civilian unemployment rate ticked down 6.2% through February as the economy added back 379,000 jobs. We remain a long way to go, but between vaccination rollout and the onset of warmer weather, the W-shaped recession we have seen so far should have enough fuel in the tank to prevent another near-term downturn.   


An often-peddled refrain during the early days of the pandemic was that the multifamily, and apartment sector as a whole, would maintain its stability by the simple fact that people will always need somewhere to live. If anything, the same optimists argued that the resiliency of cashflows could actually improve as renters were spending more time in their homes due to involuntary quarantines. With a year of data available now supplanting conjecture, we find that residential rentals have indeed performed up to expectations. No, conditions have not been ideal, and distress is not too hard to find, especially in gateway markets. However, compared to worst-case scenarios, the apartment sector has lived up to its reliable bedrock status. According to the National Multifamily Housing Council’s rent tracker, which follows the performance of more than 11 million professionally managed apartments, 93.5% of renter households paid rent in February— only a 1.6% drop off from the same month last year. These data may, however, likely understate some sector-level underperformance, as they do not include vacant units or self-managed “mom-and-pop” properties. According to Freddie Mac’s latest forbearance report, we know that small balance originations, which tend to cater to the “mom-and-pop” investor class, make up 75% of loans in forbearance.1 

The CDC’s eviction moratorium remains a pressing challenge for the industry and an impediment to its return to pre-pandemic health. The market for rental housing is a circular flowing ecosystem between lenders, investors, and renters. There is no net-positive corrective policy that achieves more benefit than harm by breaking the symbiotic process, much as the moratoriums have.  The NMHC offers that moratoriums “fail in their purpose of addressing renters’ underlying financial distress” and “jeopardize the stability of housing providers and the broader housing market.” Despite two different federal judges ruling against the CDC policy in the past month, the ban remains in place. There are, however, green shoots forming, which could signal a return to more normal conditions in the near future. At the end of this month, the moratorium is scheduled to expire— a deadline that we should accept with a coarse-grained piece of salt. Nevertheless, the appropriations bill passed at the end of the year, and the American Rescue Plan of 2021 passed last week collectively set aside $46.6B for rental assistance programs. A CPPB analysis of Census Bureau survey data finds that roughly one-in-five renter households are behind on rent— a crisis that should see meaningful relief as funds are released.2

The permanence of COVID-induced migration will be a hot-button topic as more jabs land in arms. Taken together, the trifecta of New York, California, and Illinois, the states that are home to the three largest US cities, collectively lost more than 275,000 residents in 2020. The human density that has historically attracted demand toward superstar cities has had the complete opposite effect in the past year. Without accessible cultural amenities or the need to be in an office Monday through Friday, a significant share of the workforce became untethered to their home cities and have made their way toward the exit. According to CoStar, New York, LA, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Boston, and Washington DC are all among the list of cities to post year-over-year declines in asking rents through Q4 2020. 

While the outgoing flow of residents has been lumped together as one homogenous cohort, there appear to be at least two major groups leaving. The first group of COVID-nomads is defined by those that already had eyes towards more affordable and spacious housing options over the next couple of years. Given the urban context in 2020 and the attractively low borrowing costs, many of these renters simply said, “Hey, why not now?” and moved up their progression timeline. These are the types of households that are more likely to be buying baby carriages before the next time they step on a subway, and their transition out of major metros is probabilistically permanent. The second group contains those who are transient, often early into their careers, working remotely, and still seeking the lifestyle amenities they had enjoyed pre-covid. Watching how this group behaves as large companies start calling workers back into the Office and cities look more like their pre-pandemic selves will be telling.   


Today, there is no property type subject to more speculation than the Office.

Unlike multifamily, Retail, and industrial, where COVID has mostly magnified pre-existing trends, the pandemic has led to rampant reimagination in the office sector. Our understanding of how both firms and workers interact with physical office space to optimize productivity is permanently changed. According to the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, an estimated 38% of working American adults have transitioned to remote work in some capacity due to COVID. The share is even higher in large office markets like New York and Los Angeles, rising to 47% and 45%, respectively. En Masse, The American Workforce traded morning commutes for Zoom links, an illuminating natural experiment that has challenged the Office sector’s core-assumptions. When PwC launched its remote work survey in June, 44% of employers thought that the transition to remote work has allowed their teams to be more productive than before the pandemic.3 When the same employers were polled again in December, the share climbed to 52%, indicating that not only has a consensus emerged, but that efficiency has improved following the initial learning curve. The realization that companies can not only maintain but actually improve performance through a remote infrastructure is a ‘no turning back,’ Pandora’s box type of moment. It should therefore come as no surprise that, according to the same survey, only 21% Of US executives think that a full five days in the office every single week is the best setup to maintain a strong corporate culture. 

The likelihood that total office space demand will have a smaller footprint in the post-pandemic world is a consideration that we cannot afford to take lightly. A Fitch research report released just last week estimates that an additional 1.5 work-from-home days per worker would lead to a 15% reduction in property-level net cash flow— a development that would meaningfully recalibrate our understanding of risk and value. Given the long-dated lease structure common throughout the sector, it will take a few years for emerging preferences to filter through fully. Moody’s Analytics REIS forecasts that vacancy rates are likely to rise to near-record levels through 2023 before beginning a gradual recovery in 2024. 

Of course, not all metro-level office markets will move as one. Some of the migratory demand that is leaving large cities and contributing to localized weakness ahead will also lead to strength in other markets, particularly in major Metro adjacent suburbs. According to Real Capital Analytics, Central Business District-located Office properties posted a 0.2% decline in value for the year. On the other hand, suburban located office assets saw valuations continuing to grow at a healthy 6.6%.


The industrial sector remained the undisputed top performer of commercial real estate through an otherwise challenging 2020. Secular tailwinds, such as e-commerce adoption, grew from a healthy gust to a sustained hurricane force. Over the past decade, online retail sales have increased by an average of 15.2% annually. Brick and mortar retail sales over the same period have only grown by an average of 3.4% per year. The share of total Retail sales satisfied by online orders has steadily risen, entering 2020 At 11.3%. In the second quarter, as nonessential retailers across the country closed their doors, this share skyrocketed above 16%. While the share has reverted down to 14%, the pandemic has permanently transitioned some in-person retailing onto online platforms. Online grocery delivery services, a concept that had faced greater consumer resistance than other E-platforms before 2020, stood uniquely positioned to benefit from the demands of a lockdown economy. According to grocery e-commerce specialist Mercatus and research firm Incisiv Projects, online grocers accounted for 3.4% of all US grocer sales in 2019, before swelling to 10.2% in 2020.4 Further, the same study estimates that online groceries will satisfy 21.5% of domestic demand by 2025. Surging demand for E-grocers also means an increased demand for distribution and fulfillment facilities in close proximity to consumers. In the most recent Emerging Trends in Real Estate report, fulfillment facilities ranked as the subsector with the best prospects for future investment and development opportunities. 

Another source of new industrial demand can be traced to the supply chain disruptions experienced this last year. The pandemic exposed critical sensitivities, and e-commerce retailers are looking to better safeguard their ability to match inventory supply with order demand. Doing so has meant a transition away from “just in time” distribution models in favor of “just in case” models instead. The latter requires excess warehousing space to stock contingent inventory. 


There was no shortage of pessimism surrounding the retail sector heading into 2020, even before there was a pandemic to contend with. Pre-pandemic, Retail was in the midst of what was widely expected to be a 10-year shakeout and a painful rightsizing process. As noted in the 2021 ULI / PwC Emerging Trends Report, the US retail sector had three major headwinds going into last year: the US has more retail square footage per capita than any other country in the world, an increasing share of core-retail activity has transitioned online, and domestic consumers have experienced a long-term stagnation of wages. Concepts that were on the path towards obsolescence, with hopes of maybe squeezing out a few more years of economic solvency, are those that have struggled the most during COVID— none more so than department store retailers.

While the outgoing companies will argue otherwise, a case can be made that 2020’s pain will help the retail sector pave a quicker path back to recovery. The sector has gone from Darwinism to ‘Darwinism on steroids.’ Though, before we can imagine a radical future where physical retail demand sits just a bit higher than supply, the existing glut of obsolescent space needs to find adaptive reuse. After all, not every struggling mall will be turned into an Amazon distribution center. Lifestyle centers, where fitness centers, housing units, and mixed Retail are blended together, are one of the leading concepts to aid in re-positioning and re-absorption. According to Real Capital Analytics, Lifestyle Centers have an average price per square foot that is almost three times higher than average assessed for Mall assets, reflecting some of the value that can be recaptured through re-positioning.  

As Retail continues to match physical footprints with the forward-looking consumer behavior, the short-term reversion back to normalcy will at least provide some much-needed relief. Cabin-fever-consumers armed with unspent stimulus checks should give Retailers a potent shot in the arm, even if the upside effects are only temporary.


Whether it be the public health front, the economy, commercial real estate, our lives in general, or how all the above are inexorably linked, 2021 has all the makings of a year defined by recovery. The Federal government’s push to have vaccine availability for every US adult by May 1st means that herd immunity is not too far behind. 

Between the safe resumption of our pre-pandemic lives, the commitment by the Federal Reserve to maintain low interest rates even as inflation pressures rise, and the unprecedented level of stimulus in the hands of consumers, a perfect storm of economic momentum is brewing just offshore. If anything, there is increasing concern that the economy has the potential to overheat in the year ahead as too much fuel enters the fire all at once. According to the February and March iterations of the Wall Street Journal’s Economic Forecasting Survey, a majority of leading economists believe that this year will have more upside risk than downside risk, and more than 80% think that the newly passed stimulus will generate inflation higher than the Fed’s 2% target.

In many ways, we as an industry remain in wait-and-see mode, with questions over a return to the office timing and rightsizing are still swirling overhead. Although, overly conservative and reactive strategies rarely make winning formulas in Real Estate. Now is the time for landlords to engage tenants and companies to engage employees about emerging preferences, then execute on a strategy. If 2020 has taught us nothing else, it’s that the pace of change can accelerate quickly, and falling behind the curve of innovation is a costly and often un-correctable mistake.


1. https://mf.freddiemac.com/docs/January_forbearance_report.pdf
2. https://www.cbpp.org/research/housing/housing-assistance-in-american-rescue-plan-act-will-prevent-millions-of-evictions
3. https://www.pwc.com/us/en/library/covid-19/us-remote-work-survey.html
4. https://www.supermarketnews.com/online-retail/online-grocery-more-double-market-share-2025

Re-thinking Talent & Recruiting In Commercial Real Estate — And How To Do More Than Just Talk About It

SVN’s Leslie Bateman discusses how the talent and recruiting landscape in commercial real estate is changing, and how we can seize the opportunity it presents.

Rapid and continual advances in technology have been disrupting many of the sectors that anchor the U.S. economy, including the commercial real estate industry. However, the commercial real estate (CRE) industry has long been known to be slow to adapt, often “lagging behind” others when it comes to large-scale industry transformations. While other industries blaze forward to embrace technology and digital disruption, for the most part, CRE has only budged.

Experts suggest that this industry-wide delay in advancement is due in part to the age imbalance of the industry. This isn’t new information, as aging of the CRE industry is known and well documented: According to CIRE Reader Surveys and NAR Commercial Member Profiles, the average age of a CCIM member is 54 and the median age of a commercial Realtor is 60.1

In addition to age diversity, another area ripe for improvement lies in the adoption of new technologies. Much of the commercial real estate industry still relies on traditional methods of doing business, preferring the experienced and familiar over the new and risky. As a cyclical result, the industry has become less attractive to younger people, who often prefer organizations and job roles with a high degree of technology integration and support.2

What the CRE industry has now is an incredible opportunity — to harness new technologies, redefine its talent processes, and alter the trajectory for future success.

Digital Disruption, COVID-19, and CRE
Today, digital disruption is all-pervasive, leaving no industry untouched. Digital innovation has the power to change markets and economies, accelerate business operating models, and wholly reinvent the way business is done across the globe. While certain industries feel the profound influence of this digital transformation immediately, others – such as commercial real estate – are a little late to the game. With the surge of CREtech over the past two decades, CRE companies have begun building momentum by integrating technology with the built world and associated systems. However, at its slower pace and with nothing forcing it to move any faster, commercial real estate still largely remains behind.

Until the COVID-19 pandemic.

The global pandemic has changed the nature of office and work culture considerably, forcing all industries to adapt to remote work and rely on new methods and tools for virtual engagement and operations. Some companies (such as Spotify and Facebook) experienced cost-cutting epiphanies early in the pandemic, taking action after recognizing that the in-office concept simply won’t be necessary into the future.

While the pandemic has forced some CREtech innovations to flourish, it has also placed a magnifying glass on industry problems and shortcomings. For CRE, an industry still reliant on handshakes, years of experience and Rolodexes, the immediate shift to virtual work hasn’t been easy. The industry-wide disillusionment has accelerated the need for CRE companies to acknowledge, accept, and lean into major change. It’s not the catalyst we expected, but the pandemic has opened a large window of opportunity for the industry to make big strides toward a more prosperous future.


The Pre-Pandemic Talent Landscape
It’s becoming increasingly evident that, as CRE companies figure out the technologies required to support digitization shifts, they need to secure the right “talent” in order to accelerate the pace of adoption and implementation.

Prior to the pandemic, the talent landscape in CRE skewed heavily toward the Baby Boomer generation. There was little to no focus on recruiting Millennial and Gen-Z talent. In 2019, 45% of CRE employees were 55 or older compared to 4% in the 19–24 age range. In comparison, 24% of the workforce across all industries and 22% of the banking and insurance workforce were 55 years old or older.”2

This imbalance is both emphasized and continued as the industry prefers experienced hires, over-indexing on industry experience and comfort with traditional job roles. The outcome here is compounding: firms continue to contribute to the rift by favoring experienced hires and maintaining conventional practices; meanwhile, the industry becomes less attractive and less accessible to younger generations.

Preparing for the Workforce of the Future
To help companies attract and retain up-and-coming talent, reduce the demographic gap, and create a more fulfilling work environment, leaders will likely need to reexamine the talent function and its processes.2

As Deloitte Insights states: “The pandemic is expected to force a paradigm shift in the way the industry operates and how work is done. Digital transformation could play an important role as companies wrestle with liquidity and profitability in the near term and prepare for the post-crisis world. And so CRE companies should look at digital and talent transformation in tandem.”

While change is not easy and certainly not always comfortable, the sooner CRE companies understand and embrace the shifts they need to make, the better off they will be. Clearly, digital advancement is critical for CRE organizations’ success and relevance. The talent implications are vast.

CRE leaders must work to balance the talent landscape by rethinking and adapting to the way their employees work, embedding technology into their decision-making, and redefining skills, talent processes, and practices to meet new demands. The bottom line: Hiring younger talent is no longer optional, it’s essential.

At SVN, we often talk about “pulling the future forward.” This concept is so much more than a tagline. We live, breathe and practice this mentality daily through promoting a culture of learning, embracing remote work flexibility, hiring for location-agnostic roles, providing remote/online systematic training for new hires, and by believing in the powerful data on workplace diversity.

Diversity has long been a hallmark of the SVN brand and business model, and we strongly believe in the research proving that workplace diversity (e.g., gender, age, ethnic, cultural) leads to smarter teams and greater company success.3

Studies show that the most diverse companies are now more likely than ever to outperform less diverse peers on profitability4, and we’ve seen this firsthand at SVN.

To further underscore our company-wide belief in the power of diversity, here’s an inside look at SVN’s employee base:
· 73% women
· 40% minorities
· 53% under the age of 45


The Opportunity of a Lifetime
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed unsustainable truths about the CRE industry’s approach to recruiting and retaining talent.

So now what?

If CRE firms want to find success in the future, many will need to step back to analyze and upgrade their current talent processes. Digitization, remote flexibility, and diversity should hold more weight in the talent landscape, and it’s time for us to do more than just acknowledge the known lags, more than just talk about where we can improve. It’s time for us to take action… to really make change.

In this challenge lies immense opportunity. For those in leadership positions, I challenge you to think about your own recruiting strategies, open roles, and growth goals. What adjustments can you make? Are some required skills now irrelevant with technology, and years of experience an arbitrary line in the sand? Are you willing to place your trust in the positive research on workplace diversity and prioritize it in your next hires? If these initiatives seem daunting, scary, overwhelming… you’re not alone. But just as we must trust in the data on diversity, we must also trust that great things rarely come from comfort zones.

As Virginia Rometty so eloquently states: “Growth and comfort do not coexist.”


1. CCIM Institute, “The Millennial Way,” accessed March 4, 2021
2. Deloitte Insights, “Preparing for the future of commercial real estate,” accessed March 4, 2021
3. Harvard Business Review, “Why Diverse Teams Are Smarter,” accessed March 4, 2021
4. McKinsey & Company, “Diversity wins: How inclusion matters,” accessed March 4, 2021

Saunders brokers $43 million Bluffs land deal

SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler Real Estate founder negotiated Florida’s largest conservation property purchase in more than a decade.

Dean Saunders, the managing director and founder of Lakeland-based SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler Real Estate, last month negotiated the state’s largest purchase of conservation land in more than a decade.

Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection acquired the Bluffs of St. Teresa property for $43 million. The 17,080-acre tract on the Gulf of Mexico, in the state’s Panhandle, features 17 miles of waterfront land and borders the state-owned Bald Point State Park and Tate’s Hell State Forest.

The property also represents one of the largest tracts of undeveloped land in Florida on the Gulf Coast.

As part of the purchase, The Nature Conservancy chipped in $2.25 million and the U.S. Department of Defense, which operates several Air Force bases in the region, contributed $2.19 million.

For the state, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Gov. Ron DeSantis’ former deputy chief of staff played key roles, Saunders notes.

“This was a rare opportunity to preserve an absolute gem of a property for posterity for the citizens of Florida,” says Saunders, who was a top aide to former Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles and also served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1992 until 1996.

“The state owns the land on either side of this tract, which is also known as St. James Island, so it just made sense for them to buy this piece, as well.”

Saunders represented Ochlockonee Timberlands LLC, an affiliate of Salt Lake City-based AgReserves, in the transaction. AgReserves is a for-profit arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is more commonly known as the Mormon Church.

AgReserves affiliates acquired a total of 382,000 acres in the panhandle — including the Bluffs of St. Teresa —in early 2014 from The St. Joe Co. for $565 million, according to reports at the time. The land is spread across eight Florida counties.

Florida’s DEP notes in a statement that the “milestone” purchase provides “benefits to climate resilience,” preserves rivers and lakes that are “critical to water quality, quantity and the health of the region’s aquaculture” and safeguards animals’ habitat.

The Bluffs’ deal isn’t the only conservation-rated deal that Saunders, who has been recognized as one of the top land brokers nationwide by the Realtors Land Institute, has done of late. In Polk County, in the 560,000-acre Green Swamp area, he negotiated a conservation easement for 713 acres known as AVT Ranch for $1.1 million.

Since its formation in 1996, Saunders Ralston Dantzler has completed transactions valued in excess of $3 billion.

Click here to read the original Business Observer article.


About SVN International Corp.

The SVN organization is a globally recognized commercial real estate entity united by a shared vision of creating value with clients, colleagues, and our communities. The SVN brand is comprised of over 1,600 advisors and staff in more than 200 offices across the globe in six countries. Our brand pillars represent the transparency, innovation, and inclusivity that enables all our advisors to collaborate with the entire real estate industry on behalf of our clients. SVN’s unique Shared Value Network® is just one of the many ways that SVN advisors create amazing value with our clients, colleagues, and communities. For more information, visit www.svn.com.

All SVN offices are independently owned and operated. To learn more about becoming an SVN commercial real estate business owner, visit svn.com/franchising-opportunities/.

Finding Success In Commercial Real Estate: The SVN Difference

Transparency and openness have long been hallmarks of the SVN culture and business model. Embracing and fostering inclusivity drives our approach to practicing commercial real estate, which is rooted in proactively cooperating and collaborating with our colleagues, communities, and even our competitors. It is this shared vision that enables SVN to create more value for our clients — 9.6% more value, to be exact.

We recently held our quarterly “JumpIN” event, which is designed to acclimate and welcome new-to-SVN advisors to the systems, tools, resources and culture inherent in the organization. Today, we’re pulling back the curtain and inviting you in to one of our internal JumpIN training sessions. And in the open and transparent manner in which SVN operates on all fronts,  we’re giving you a closer look at how we train and develop our SVN advisors and staff.

The commercial real estate industry is rapidly growing and constantly evolving, driven by powerful, transformative trends in technology, consumer behavior, culture and more. In such a dynamic, mercurial and competitive industry, it’s critical now more than ever to build a strong point of differentiation that helps an SVN advisor stand out as the advisor of choice.

So, what makes one commercial real estate advisor stand out from another? As a CRE broker, what can you offer that your competition can’t (or won’t)? How do you become truly different? And, ultimately, how do you leverage your point of differentiation to create more value for your clients, colleagues, and communities?

These were some of the questions that led to the creation of what we call The SVN Difference.  

  One of the most profitable commitments SVN advisors can make is to become a champion of understanding and articulating all components of the SVN Difference. Just as its name implies, The SVN Difference is the strongest differentiating value proposition that SVN advisors have — it’s the sharpest tool in the toolkit.

Democratizing commercial real estate information to bring greater transparency to the marketplace is receiving an abundance of attention today – our company and the SVN Difference were built on this idea in 1987.

Our forward-thinking, innovative approach early on positioned SVN to be on the bleeding edge of technology in CRE. For 30 years we have pioneered the development of online collaboration platforms, allowing us to deliver better results for our clients. In fact, SVN was the first firm in the industry to connect our offices in the southwest via a local area network. Later, SVN developed the industry’s first online publishing platform, known today as Buildout. Today, we’ve opened up our weekly in-house sales meeting, SVN Live, to anyone who wishes to participate.

So, what does all of this mean?  

  It means that SVN was built to be future-proofed.

It means that SVN was built to deliver better results.

It means that SVN was built to last.

The commercial real estate brands with whom SVN competes are all themselves competing on size and breadth. Whether it’s the highest number of brokers, greatest number of markets served, or the most access to data — they are all issuing the same narratives. It is therefore our job as SVN advisors to effectively articulate our compelling point of difference and demonstrate what we can do that the competition cannot.

It’s important to keep in mind that the SVN business model is  rooted in openness and transparency in conjunction with a fee sharing model, which ensures that we’re putting our money where our mouths are.

Unfortunately, SVN is the exception — not the rule. But it’s our mission to change that.

It’s rare for the industry to step back and question the soundness and integrity of industry business models of which they are a part and ask, Why do things work this way?, Why do other industry brokerage models fly in the face of fundamental economics? For instance, today, more than 80% of investment sales transactions are double ended (e.g., the same broker who lists the property also finds the buyer). This happens in an environment where more than 65% of all buyers come from out of state, and more than half the buyers can be categorized as new or unlikely buyers. These buyers are not in any one broker or brokerage firm’s database.

This begs the question: Are the seller’s interests placed first, or are the broker’s (and his/her quest to earn twice the fee)?  

  Upon close inspection of the commercial real estate industry, you’ll see clear points of differentiation between SVN and its global competitors. Exemplary SVN advisors understand that the key to success is mastering these differences and leveraging them to offer clients something the competition is unwilling or unable to offer.

Models like SVN, which embrace automation, collaboration and cooperation, are uniquely positioned to take market share in this era of change, as client behaviors and expectations evolve. SVN advisors have a tremendously powerful competitive differentiating value proposition to bring to the table.

SVN advisors are part of a brand that offers something completely different from what any local, regional, or national firm is offering. This is the SVN Difference. And this difference is what ultimately creates 9.6% more value for our clients.

Now that’s a tremendously powerful competitive advantage.


About SVN:

The SVN organization is a globally recognized commercial real estate entity united by a shared vision of creating value with clients, colleagues, and our communities. The SVN brand is comprised of over 1,600 advisors and staff in more than 200 offices across the globe in six countries. Our brand pillars represent the transparency, innovation, and inclusivity that enables all our advisors to collaborate with the entire real estate industry on behalf of our clients.  SVN’s unique Shared Value Network® is just one of the many ways that SVN advisors create amazing value with our clients, colleagues, and communities. For more information, visit www.svn.com. All SVN offices are independently owned and operated. To learn more about becoming an SVN commercial real estate business owner, visit http://www.svn.com/franchising-opportunities/

Founding Member Of Uber For Business Joins SVN International Corp.

SVN International Corporation (SVNIC), a full-service commercial real estate franchisor of the SVN® brand, is pleased to announce and welcome a new Executive Vice President of Growth, Leslie Bateman.

SVN’s current Chief Growth Officer, George Slusser, plans to retire by the end of 2020; Slusser will pass the baton to Bateman, who will oversee SVN’s growth and expansion plans.

Bateman will be responsible for the execution of all external growth strategies at SVN and will be responsible for designing and driving the company’s second wave growth initiative.

“We are thrilled to have Leslie on board,” said SVNIC President and CEO, Kevin Maggiacomo. “Her background in tech platforms and services as product businesses lends exceptionally well to SVN’s mission to disrupt and optimize the CRE brokerage industry.”

“I am incredibly excited to join the team at SVNIC, especially at such a pivotal time for the industry. The potential to amplify growth is extraordinary,” said Bateman.

Bateman joins SVN from Uber, where she was a founding member of the Uber for Business team, Uber’s first global B2B Sales team and Enterprise offering, as well as the pioneer behind the Uber for Business Real Estate offering, which focused on the application of Uber technology with the real estate industry to enable property owners and managers to attract and retain tenants through transportation innovations. Prior to her time at Uber, Bateman spent 12 years in New York in strategy and sales across Technology, Pharma, and Financial Services industries.

A proponent of advancement through disruption, Bateman is particularly passionate about bringing forward progression to the rapidly evolving commercial real estate industry through technology and innovation. She is a strong supporter of fostering women’s involvement in leadership and within the real estate industry. Bateman lives outside of Boston, MA with her husband and two daughters.

About SVN International Corp.

The SVN organization is a globally recognized commercial real estate entity united by a shared vision of creating value with clients, colleagues, and our communities. The SVN brand is comprised of over 1,600 advisors and staff in more than 200 offices across the globe in six countries. Our brand pillars represent the transparency, innovation, and inclusivity that enables all our advisors to collaborate with the entire real estate industry on behalf of our clients. SVN’s unique Shared Value Network® is just one of the many ways that SVN advisors create amazing value with our clients, colleagues, and communities. For more information, visit www.svn.com.

All SVN offices are independently owned and operated. To learn more about becoming an SVN commercial real estate business owner, visit svn.com/franchising-opportunities/.

5 for Friday with Louis D’Lando, CCIM from SVN | Angelic

Louis D’Lando, SVN | Angelic

This month’s Five for Friday features Louis D’Lando, CCIM, who serves as a senior advisor and business development manager with SVN | Angelic based in Austin, TX.


What advice would you provide to an aspiring advisor who is new to the industry?

I think the most important advice I could provide is know that you’re going to make mistakes. You need to learn and grow from your mistakes. Dissect where you came up short and think through how you could improve in the same or similar situation going forward.


What does the SVN Difference mean to you?

The SVN Difference is an important symbol of community. This kind of community enables and fosters growth, support, and business productivity. I’m thankful to be a part of it.


What learning tools (book, blog, website, etc.) would you recommend to your colleagues to further their knowledge and enhance their careers?

I am a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) and highly recommend utilizing and leveraging the educational tools provided as a result of being part of this organization. They offer courses ranging from mathematical expertise to psychological and behavioral techniques as negotiating tactics. I have found these to be extremely helpful.


What was your most memorable deal and why?

One of my most memorable deals was actually one of my first deals just starting out in the business. It was a small leasehold interest deal for an off-market single-tenant Kohl’s location in Tallahassee, Florida. I called on a public REIT that would consider accepting unsolicited offers on some non-core properties they owned. I approached another public REIT that specialized in acquiring single-tenant real estate, they liked it and decided to move quickly. Soon thereafter, they closed on the property. It was memorable because it showed me I knew the right contacts to complete transactions in this business and gave me the confidence I would need to move forward.


List a fun fact to share about yourself – something that people may not know and that they may be surprised to find out.

My wife and I are expecting our second daughter this coming Spring, so I’m working feverishly on putting together as many deals as I can! If you have daughters you’ll know what I mean!

Develop your career in commercial real estate with SVN. Check out our career opportunities.

SVN Annual Conference: Technology trends disrupting the CRE industry

The second day of the 2019 SVN Annual Conference started with an in-depth panel discussion about industry disruption trends. The panel, moderated by SVN COO Diane Danielson, featured Clara Brenner, Managing Partner, Urban Innovation Fund, Michael DeGiorgio, CEO Founder, CREXi, and Vishu Ramanthan, CEO, Buildout. Trends that were discussed included the prevalence of big data, urban technology, virtual reality, crowdfunding, and artificial intelligence


Technology as a disrupter

On the topic of how technology in general is affecting the industry, Michael DeGiorgio said technology is going to bring higher efficiency to the industry but will not replace brokers. Clara Brenner sees that technology is changing expectations from consumers about service, and now they want to have 24/7 access to everything. And for Vishu Ramathan, the biggest impact from tech on CRE is the use of virtual reality.

Don’t hang on to your big data

On the subject of big data, Vishu Ramathan said that more data is being shared, and being used for more interesting insights. He underlined the idea that having data is not the same as understanding of the industry. He said brokers have to stop holding on to their data and start collaborating.

AI instead of brokers?

Regarding the fear that artificial intelligence will replace brokers, the panelists all agreed that AI will only help not harm brokers. With the use of algorithms and predictive analytics, brokers will be able to find the right buyers and make the right hires, making those brokers better at their jobs.

Diversity and inclusion

To close the session, Vishu  Ramathan spoke about the importance of culture, and specifically of increasing inclusion and diversity. He defined inclusion and diversity like this:

 Diversity is asking people to the party and inclusion is asking them to dance.

SVN Advisor Spotlight: Golf and Resorts

The next video in our SVN Advisor Spotlight series features Kevin Maggiacomo, President and CEO of SVN International Corp. who recently sat down with Mike Fusek, CCIM, Senior Advisor at SVN | Rankin Company, LLC, Deena Zimmerman, Vice President at SVN | Chicago Commercial and Frank Jermusek, JD, President and Managing Director at SVN | Northco Real Estate Services to get their thoughts on different aspects of the SVN Difference.

Properties within the golf course and resorts sector of the commercial real estate industry tend to be more complex to purchase and/or sell. Often times when working with these types of deals, these properties can include numerous restaurants, bars, spas, and timeshares which in turn can cause some major confusion for both the buyer and seller when it comes to trying to calculate their bottom line.

Kevin Maggiacomo, President and CEO of SVN International Corp. discussed with Frank Jermusek the hurdles advisors can face when selling these properties as well as the importance and necessity of using a golf course and resorts specialists when working these types of deals.

The following is an excerpt from a recent SVN Advisor Spotlight Panel. The full video will be released to our Advisor base on The SVN Dashboard shortly.


“A full-service resort is so different than a hotel. A hotel and lodging are part of a resort deal. We have attorneys, accountants, finance and hospitality people that have worked these industries so our approach is really more like a mergers and acquisitions approach.”

-Frank Jermusek, JD, President and Managing Director SVN | Northco Real Estate Services

To find out more about what SVN has to offer you or your clients, please download our SVN Difference book, and visit our culture and career website pages.

If you are interested in franchise opportunities with SVN please visit our franchising page.

SVN Advisor Spotlight: The SVN Difference

SVN® Advisor Spotlight: The SVN Difference

SVN’s collaborative approach, transparency and dedication to maximizing value for our clients is what we refer to as The SVN Difference. The SVN Difference is about putting clients first. It’s about building trust with our clients and lasting mutual relationships with the entire brokerage community.  Most commercial real estate brokers still do not proactively market their listings throughout the brokerage community; instead, they choose to find buyers for their listings in their own local databases. This discourages competition, reduces eyeballs, creates fewer offers, and often causes a property to sell for less than their full market value but with a higher fee for the broker.

At SVN, we proactively market listings through our platform and to the entire commercial real estate ecosystem resulting in increased deal flow, shorter transaction times, and repeat business by satisfied clients.

But, don’t take our word for it, here’s what one of our top advisors says about the SVN Difference.

Kevin Maggiacomo, President and CEO of SVN International Corp. recently sat down with Mike Fusek, CCIM, Senior Advisor at SVN | Rankin Company, LLC, Deena Zimmerman, Vice President at SVN | Chicago Commercial and Frank Jermusek, JD, President and Managing Director at SVN | Northco Real Estate Services for our latest video in our SVN Advisor Spotlight series.

In this video we hear from Mike Fusek who gives his perspective on The SVN Difference and how the collaborative and efficient approach has created more value for his clients.

The following is an excerpt from a recent SVN Advisor Spotlight Panel. The full video will be released to our Advisor base shortly.

 “It’s about speed and exposure. Is it going to take 3 weeks to get your property to market or is it going to go through the SVN website and be done in 24 hours? Is it going to take 12 months to get in front of 100,000 brokers and buyers, or is it going to take 48 hours?”

Mike Fusek, CCIM, Senior Advisor at SVN | Rankin Company, LLC

To find out more about what SVN can offer you or your clients, please download our SVN Difference book, and visit our culture and career website pages.

If you are interested in franchise opportunities with SVN please visit our franchising page.

SVN Coffee and Culture Chat with Kevin Maggiacomo

Collaboration is a Key Contributor to SVN’s Culture

When SVN was first established in 1987 it was launched with the recognition of the tremendous inefficiencies, conflicts of interests and dysfunctional state of the commercial real estate industry. SVN’s goal at the time was to make changes to the broker-first mentality the industry was currently operating within and to develop a method that would always put the client’s best interest first. In doing so, SVN was able to build a culture of unparalleled transparency and trust among our colleagues, that gave us the ability to create the most value for the most amount of people within the CRE industry through a collaborative effort.

Kevin Maggiacomo , President and CEO of SVN recently sat down with SVN’s Chief Operating Officer Diane Danielson and John McDermott, Executive Director of SVN | Chicago Commercial to get their point of view on SVN’s unique collaborative business model.

“SVN strived to create a company built around a culture of cooperation and fee sharing. A culture centered around embracing and working with our competitors to market our listings to achieve higher prices for our clients”

-Kevin Maggiacomo, Presidente and CEO of SVN International Corp.

Creating a Culture of Trust in Commercial Real Estate – The SVN Difference

The “SVN Difference” originates in our business model, which is designed to place the client’s interest first – even when we don’t have to – to ensure a better outcome for the client. As a result, SVN is positioned to earn the highest degree of trust – from our clients, from our colleagues, and from everyone who is a member of our SVN Community. This creates an environment that is open and inclusive to everyone and empowering for all our advisors and their clients. Successful company cultures begin with trust, exist on trust and grow with trust. To find out more about what SVN can offer you or your clients, please download our SVN Difference book, and visit our culture and career website pages.

For Franchise opportunities, visit our franchising page.


Why Women Should Consider Commercial Real Estate Brokerage as a Career

Recently, we sat down with the three Managing Directors of SVN | QAV – Deborah Quok, Ann-Margaret Vann and Catherine House, CCIM, FRICS to discuss why more women should consider commercial real estate brokerage as a career.  SVN | QAV is located in San Francisco and is one of several women-owned offices operating under the SVN® brand and benefitting from our platform.

From left to right: Managing Directors of SVN | QAV – Catherine House, CCIM, FRICS; Deborah Quok; Ann-Margaret Vann



One of the biggest deterrent’s women have when entering the commercial real estate world is the time that it takes to establish yourself. Like any new career, it will take time to get up to speed with the industry and to make a name for yourself.  The short-term income may also be a bit lower than you initially anticipated, but with some patience, perseverance and stick-to-itiveness, the long-term upside will be tremendous. Reason being there is no upward limit on earnings. You are not on salary and you get paid based on your performance. In brokerage, you are measured by results which is completely in your control. In other words, the more you put into to the position, the more you will get out of it. Also, you act as your own boss. You determine when and where you work and you can structure your day around your lifestyle.

Another concern women have about working in commercial real estate is that there are so few of them who are currently in the industry. However, you can use this to your advantage by making yourself stand out. The type of women that succeed in this industry are often the ones who stand up when people say they “can’t” do something. If you are the only women pitching the business to a client that has women at the table, do something or say something that others will remember you by. This will help other at the table get a sense of who you are and may make them want to work with you again the future.

The skillset needed to be successful in this industry may be different than you’d anticipate. It’s not just about sales; it’s attention to detail, understanding your market, problem-solving and your power of persuasion. Successful brokers in the past have always been great at talking with new people and would always be striving to become a leader. Other skills that typically make up a successful broker include:

  • Strong personality
  • Confidence
  • Sense of curiosity
  • Willingness to learn

Commercial real estate brokerage is much more dynamic and exciting than a typical 9-5 job. You control your own destiny. If you are interested in working in an innovative and collaborative commercial real estate company where you can manage your own company, be sure to check out the current opening on SVN’s careers page.

About SVN International Corp.
The SVN organization is a globally recognized commercial real estate entity united by a shared vision of creating value for clients, colleagues and communities. Currently, SVN comprises over 1,600 advisors and staff working in more than 200 offices across the globe. SVN’s brand pillars represent the transparency, innovation and inclusivity that enable all our advisors to collaborate effectively with the entire real estate industry on behalf of our clients. SVN’s unique Shared Value Network®is just one of the many ways that SVN advisors create outsize value for all stakeholders. For more information, visit www.svn.com.


SVN International Corp. is pleased to announce that Senior Vice President of National Franchise Sales and Development, Karen Hurd, CCIM, will serve as President of CCIM’s New England Chapter for 2019.

Ms. Hurd has been actively involved with the CCIM Institute on both a national and local level for the past eight years and earned the CCIM designation in March 2018.  With 25 years of industry experience and as a member of SVN’s leadership team, Ms. Hurd plays a vital role in SVN’s strategic growth as they continue to expand in the U.S. and across the globe.



“I am appreciative of the opportunity to lend my talents and skills to help advance the New England CCIM Chapter and its members,” said Hurd. “I hope to expand CCIM’s educational outreach and collaboration to NAR, IREM, SIOR, CREW Network, and other industry organizations including the entire New England commercial real estate community.”


“Karen is a valued and trusted member of SVN International Corp. and we are all proud of her accomplishments. We are certain that the New England Chapter of the CCIM Institute will benefit greatly from Karen’s industry experience and knowledge.” says Kevin Maggiacomo, President and CEO of SVN International Corp.

The Chicago-based CCIM Institute confers the Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation and is considered the industry’s most prestigious certification. The CCIM Institute is one of the largest commercial real estate networks worldwide with more than 50 chapters around the world.


For more information on the CCIM Institute visit www.ccim.com.




[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Boston, MA – SVN International Corp. (SVN), a full-service commercial real estate franchisor of the SVN® brand, and Patronicity, a Michigan-based civic crowdfunding platform, united by a shared vision of creating value with clients, colleagues, and our communities, announced the launch of SVN | Communities, a collaborative effort where qualified SVN offices can use crowdfunding to help develop strategic projects in their local communities. The nationwide program will help fund place-based, community-driven projects – art installations, parks, bike trails, markets, and more – helping to revitalize downtown areas, neighborhoods, and community spaces. The SVN® organization will back successful projects with a matching grant of up to $10,000 per project. Communities, nonprofits, and other approved entities in eligible SVN markets can learn more about the program and apply at www.patronicity.com/SVN.

SVN is launching this program with SVN | Chicago Commercial, one of its top offices with a history of strong community involvement. Other qualifying SVN firms include SVN | Miller Commercial Real Estate in Salisbury, MD and SVN | RICORE Investment Management, Inc. in Cincinnati, OH.

 “SVN is a commercial real estate brand that understands the value of having locally-based leadership invested in the communities where they both live and work,” says Kevin Maggiacomo, CEO & President of SVN International Corp. “This is why the Patronicity program, which invites the local community to participate, really appealed to our core values.”

This exciting and innovative program is geared towards supporting grassroots, community-driven place making projects by providing a matching grant to groups able to meet their crowdfunding goal. Selected projects will run a crowdfunding campaign with Patronicity aiming to hit their crowdfunding goal within 60 days.  Groups should then be ready to finish their project within six months of reaching their target. Successful projects must activate a new or underused public or community space with the program giving preference to permanent physical projects.

“We are thrilled to partner with SVN to bring this impactful brand of community driven crowdfunding to new cities across the country. We’ve seen the impact crowdfunded place making has on communities across the nation as real and long-lasting, and we’re excited to expand this impact with the support of SVN,” said Jonathan Berk of Patronicity.


About SVN International Corp.

The SVN organization is a globally recognized commercial real estate entity united by a shared vision of creating value with clients, colleagues and our communities. The SVN brand is comprised of over 1,600 advisors and staff in more than 200 offices across the globe. Our brand pillars represent the transparency, innovation and inclusivity that enables all our advisors to collaborate with the entire real estate industry on behalf of our clients. SVN’s unique Shared Value Network® is just one of the many ways that SVN advisors create amazing value with our clients, colleagues and communities.  All SVN offices are independently owned and operated. For more information, visit www.svn.com.



CLICK HERE to read the full press release.


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SVN | Communities

For more information on SVN | Communities, click here.

For information regarding the SVN | Chicago Commercial ‘Call for Offers’, click here. The application deadline is July 17, 2018.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

SVN President and CEO Kevin Maggiacomo Talks Gender Diversity at the Leadership Level

This week, in lieu of our typical Five for Friday post, we are examining the important issue of gender diversity in the commercial real estate industry and highlighting gender equity and diversity as keys to an inclusive and successful organization. 

At SVN International Corp., reshaping the commercial real estate workforce to achieve the promise of gender diversity is critical to enable improved problem solving and ensure broader industry knowledge, particularly among senior leadership teams. The ultimate objective is to achieve measurable business growth, enhance ambition and engagement of Advisors and staff and establish an increasingly diverse client base. Research indicates that organizations that hold the diversity brought by both women and men in high regard attract and retain high-performing talent and boost operational efficiency.

As allegations of sexual abuse against women in Hollywood, Washington and other professional sectors have surfaced, SVN continues to make gender diversity a priority through meeting gender inclusiveness goals and institute a trustful workplace culture where women are represented fairly in senior management.

Kevin Maggiacomo, President and CEO of SVN International Corp., recently shared his conviction with Commercial Property Executive that men in leadership positions play a vital role in improving representation of women in C-suite positions. In other words, to make true strides toward gender diversity and ensure the most skilled and talented employee base, current male industry leaders convinced must align themselves with the mission of investing in women-led organizations.

“The reality is that men hold the preponderance of commercial real estate leadership positions, so if we’re to see meaningful change across the industry, men need to take action,” he commented. “The business case for gender balance is rock solid.”

Maggiacomo has put his words into action, restructuring his executive team in 2014 to ensure gender-diverse leadership and testifying in front of the Massachusetts legislature in 2015 on behalf of the ultimately successful Women on Boards bill. He additionally launched 50/50 — a grass roots, web-based movement that grew out of a TEDx talk and calls for gender-balanced leadership across all international organizations that seeks to establish an equal number of women and men within leadership roles by the year 2020.

The importance placed on top-level ideals of inclusivity, collaboration and growth by SVN further emphasizes SVN’s commitment to creating gender balance at the leadership level. To make an impact internally and across the CRE industry, organizations must cultivate an inclusive workplace culture where men and women colleagues can form trustful, supportive relationships.

Read more about Kevin’s progressive thinking and dedicated efforts promoting gender diversity within corporate leadership here.


Are you ready to experience the SVN Difference? Check out our career page here.

A View from the Female Side of Commercial Real Estate [Why It’s Tough to be an Only]

The following is an adapted excerpt from the recently published book, The SVN® Difference: Creating a Culture of Trust in Commercial Real Estate, by Diane K. Danielson.

In 2012, Kevin Maggiacomo, CEO and President of SVN International Corp., (www.svn.com) a commercial real estate franchisor with over 200 offices, hired me to serve as the company’s first Chief Platform Officer. I was responsible for more fully building out the company’s platform of tools, training and resources. In 2014, I was promoted to Chief Operating Officer and became one of the few women in the C-Suite in a national or international commercial real estate firm.

What’s it like to be a woman in the commercial real estate industry today? It’s probably very similar to being a woman in venture capital, technology or science. You are often the only woman in the room, and that can be isolating. And yes, when you are the only woman in a male-dominated environment, it can lead to some unprofessional situations. This is something I addressed in a recent column about the #MeToo movement.

However, being an “only” can also be a great advantage. In my early years in commercial real estate almost everyone remembered me because I stood out. But it was clear that in certain situations my gender made some people uncomfortable, and then there were those who felt strongly that women did not even belong in the room. Fortunately, I grew up competing with and against the boys in sports so being the only female in the room and having to prove my right to be there was pretty much standard fare for me. This is why SVN has been such a remarkable place to work.

While the industry might still have biases, the amount of productivity that happens at SVN offices due to the lack of bias is unparalleled.

I do believe that our president’s commitment to gender-balance goes beyond recruiting and has added value to leadership decisions at SVN. Having gender balance in a company setting allows you to break through unintentional barriers to progress. For example, look at your company’s marketing collateral; if there is no gender or ethnic diversity represented, some of the best candidates and even clients, will infer that your company does not want to work with them. And that is something your management team might not pick up on if they all look like the people in your marketing collateral.

Diversity also helps with creative problem solving. When you bring people with different experiences to sit at the table and debate issues, you have a better chance at finding the best solutions. With diversity on the management team, you are less likely to have a company run by yes-men, or in the cases where the leadership is all women, yes-women.

A lot has been written about why women lack equality in the workplace. Everyone has a theory: there’s a confidence gap; women don’t ask—or when they do, they get penalized; they don’t apply for positions unless they are fully qualified; and we even have studies that show women are lied to more than men in negotiations. These are all part of the same problem.

If you pare it down, the underlying factor is that women rarely get the benefit of the doubt in a business situation.

Today’s leaders need to change their frame of reference on how they judge performance. Eliminate gender-based doubts and focus on results, skills, and raw talent when deciding who should tackle that tough assignment or get that promotion. In other words, don’t create performance obstacles that only exist in your own perception. Outdated stereotypes are a huge detriment to everybody in the workplace. If she’s as qualified as the next guy, then give her the same benefit of the doubt as you would him.

Right now, the brokerage and investment areas of commercial real estate are only about 20 percent female (not including administrative and marketing support); and the percentage gets much lower the further up the ladder one goes. (See CREW Network’s Women in Commercial Real Estate: 2015 for more details) While there are more women in property management, the disparity where the large dollars are made means that any change is going to be slow. It will take deliberate efforts in recruiting to make a difference in the industry. However, once we get more diversity in the pipeline, sales is a results-oriented business, so it should eliminate the biases.

My prediction is that the commercial real estate industry will be slow to change in the next five years, but if we put intentionality into our recruiting efforts, SVN offices can be leaders for change. In fact, we have a built-in advantage. The SVN shared fee, plus our open and transparent approach to marketing properties, creates a structured, common sense environment for advisors and clients. (Clients, colleagues and competitors are all invited to listen in on any of our SVN | Live property broadcasts to see how we market properties openly. Or read the SVN® Core Covenants to learn what we require of our advisors.)

It’s really not that hard to be inclusive. Women, people of color and others new to the CRE industry simply want to know the rules of the game.

We don’t want to change the rules. Nor do we want special treatment. We just want to make sure the game is fair and not rigged against us.

This is what we try to do at SVN. The more we get our SVN Difference message of inclusion, fairness, and the trust that it creates, out into to the world, the more we will be able to recruit talented women and men as both advisors and clients to our offices and the industry as a whole.


Diane Danielson serves as the company’s Chief Operating Officer overseeing operations and brand development and is involved with the overall strategic growth of the firm. Diane is a former attorney, accomplished speaker, published author, and widely recognized advocate for diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Prior to joining SVN, she ran a digital media consultancy and held VP positions in business development, corporate strategy and marketing at several of the major commercial real estate firms in the Northeast. Read full bio.



For more information on The SVN Difference: Creating a Culture of Trust in Commercial Real Estate by Diane K. Danielson, CLICK HERE.

To learn more about SVN’s culture, CLICK HERE.


SVN Honors Our Vets – Jerry Dawson, CCIM of SVN | JCDawson Global Real Estate

In honor of Veterans Day, we sat down to interview a few of our SVN military veterans to learn more about their background and why they believe the commercial real estate industry was a good match for them. 


Jerry Dawson is the Managing Director at SVN | JCDawson Global Real Estate in Bowie, Md.


Jerry’s Military Background:

“I was a Navy officer and my designation was service warfare, which meant that I was aboard ships as an engineer, as a navigator, and a ship driver, leading divisions on an aircraft carrier.”


What attracted you to work in the military?

“I went to school at the Naval Academy for my undergraduate degree, so that was part of my commitment after graduation, to serve in the military. I didn’t have any military background in my family, but it seemed like a great opportunity at a great institution to do a lot of things I had never really thought about doing.”


What brought you from the Navy to a commercial real estate career?

“I started working in commercial real estate managing commercial properties in New York City. A few graduates from the Naval Academy who were a couple of years ahead of me worked for that company and put the opportunity on my radar. They talked to me about their positions, and it seemed very interesting – again, something else I had never done before. It was a good opportunity to explore my professional horizons and do something different. Running a property is like running a business – you’ve got income and expenses, responsibilities, and a team of people – and that’s what I wanted to do.”


What military-training skills do you think might be transferable to a successful CRE career?

“For me, it was the leadership training. That, and understanding the importance of following through on a mission, leveraging resources, and many other skills that a business person would need to be successful.”


How does the culture of SVN resonate with the culture/values in the military?

“I think the one thing that there is some parallel to is teamwork. In the military you are always working as a team. You never really accomplish anything on your own. SVN also emphasizes teamwork.  Acknowledging that team, and understanding how that team works together, in my opinion, is critical to commercial real estate. Transactions don’t happen without coordinating with a team, whether it’s within your SVN office or third-party professionals like attorneys, engineers, etc. In addition to the team concept of SVN’s culture, it’s probably the collaboration piece of the culture.

“The fact that we all try to grow is something at SVN that parallels the military environment. Being able to reach out to people and get support on projects or answers to questions is what you do in the military. You need to figure out how to get things done. You don’t always have the answers. It means finding other people to do that sometimes. SVN provides that culture and environment.”


How might commercial real estate be a good career choice for a military veteran?

“I think it all depends on the individual. I can’t say that it works for everybody. This particular aspect of commercial real estate is very entrepreneurial, and you have to be comfortable in that environment. There are other aspects of commercial real estate, just like in every industry, that may attract different people for different reasons. Commercial real estate is a little different in that regard. There’s a space for everyone, it’s just finding the right space for each individual to be passionate and focused.”


If you are currently in the military or a veteran and considering a career in commercial real estate, please visit our career pages at svn.com/careers-with-svn. Our managing directors would like to hear from you.

SVN Honors Our Vets – John Rickert, CCIM of SVN | RICORE

In honor of Veterans Day, we sat down to interview a few of our SVN military veterans to learn more about their background and why they believe the commercial real estate industry was a good match for them.  


John Rickert, Executive Managing Director of SVN | RICORE Investment Management, Inc. in Cincinnati, Ohio, served in the United States Army as First Lieutenant and Scout Helicopter Pilot. Rickert’s firm, SVN | RICORE, is a financial sponsor of the Easter Seals OVT fundraiser at the ATP Tournament (Association of Tennis Professionals), a signature event in the Cincinnati area. OVT assists enlisted military personnel with services to help them transition into productive civilian lives.


John’s military background:

“My father drove a truck and my mother was a dental office receptionist in Wapakoneta, Ohio. The only way I could afford to go to college was with 100 percent financial aid (debt or scholarships). I was made aware of the United States Army ROTC program as an option to pay for my college education. I applied to the University of Richmond Virginia and was subsequently selected as an ROTC cadet.

“Upon graduation, I was commissioned into the United States Army as a Second Lieutenant in the Aviation Branch. My Officer Basic Course (OBC) and aviation training occurred at Fort Rucker, Ala. After flight school, I served approximately six years in the 107th Armored Cavalry Regiment in the Ohio National Guard as a Scout Helicopter Pilot and Platoon Leader. I was never deployed.”


What attracted you to the Army?

“Like many people, my attraction to a career in the military was a combination of patriotism, financial necessity and opportunity.  I am convinced that the United States is unique in the world and that it is a privilege to be a United States citizen. I continue to believe that we all have a duty to one another to help preserve our collective safety, maintain our civil liberties, and to protect the opportunity to live our lives based on individual determination.

“The ROTC scholarship program was the only way I could attend a highly rated private college without incurring an extraordinary amount of debt. Between ROTC, my time on active duty and the National Guard service following active duty, I was provided outstanding academic, leadership and managerial training.”


What brought you from the army to commercial real estate?

“My transition from active duty life to service in the National Guard was unique to the late 1980’s. A budget cut bill passed in 1987 and ROTC scholarship graduates were offered the opportunity to complete the mandatory six years of military service in the National Guard or Reserves as opposed to active duty. I wanted to serve in the National Guard. In the process of looking for a guard unit to, in effect, ‘hire’ me, I found the 107th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Columbus, Ohio. Once I was in Columbus, I found my first civilian job as an Assistant Property Manager with Hines Interests Limited Partnership.”


What military-training skills do you think are transferable to a successful CRE career?

“Military officers tend to be extremely well organized, have exceptional attention to detail, a strong sense of loyalty and duty, and understand at a cellular level the need to successfully accomplish whatever task is in front of them. The United States military officer corps is a driven group of people that value success, accomplishment and honor. All of these skills lend themselves to a successful career in commercial real estate.

“I think it’s important to discuss military field training in the context of skill sets and mind set. The military skill set of getting ordinance onto a target is thankfully not transferable to the civilian environment. However, maintaining comportment and perspective is. Most military personnel have a much broader definition of adversity and sacrifice than many of our non-military peers. We were frequently tasked with successfully completing mentally and physically demanding tasks in environments that included extreme heat or cold, pouring rain or choking dust, and we were hungry, thirsty and sleep deprived most of the time. Most of our field problems involved being provided with limited and imperfect information, and included multiple distractions and false leads. In this environment, the value of the team becomes clear and the bond between team members is unbreakable.

“Lastly, everyone’s blood is red. My experience with military personnel was diverse; all genders, ethnicities and religious orientations.  The danger in training is not as intense as combat, but it’s real. The equipment is big, the training challenges are complex and the training environment is adverse. It’s an ideal place to learn that everyone has extraordinary capacity to contribute, and that working together maximizes our effectiveness. I have often thought that compulsory military service would be a way to ease some of our diversity tensions in the United States.

“Attributes such as staying organized and overcoming setbacks despite incomplete information, and physical discomfort, coupled with maintaining a positive attitude, being self-reliant, developing teams, treating people with respect and helping everyone make their best contribution, works just as well in business as it does in the military.”


How does the culture of SVN resonate with the culture/values in the military?

“This is a great question and the answer lies with SVN’s Core Covenants. SVN’s culture emphases creating value not only for our clients and colleagues but also for our community. We are required to put our client’s interests above our own. Our covenants speak to technical competence, being personally responsible for outcomes, honoring our commitments and resolving conflicts quickly, positively and effectively.

“These core values are good life and business practices whether the person is pursuing a career in commercial real estate or the United States Armed Services.”


Why would commercial real estate be a good career choice for a military veteran?

“I don’t want to over generalize, but many people that are attracted to the military tend to be competitive, driven, intelligent, high energy, team oriented people. Many of the really successful business organizations I come in contact with, share these same characteristics and values.

“When the diversity of tasks and job experience of commercial real estate is juxtaposed with the driven nature of the military personality, the fit is natural.”


If you are currently in the military or a veteran and considering a career in commercial real estate, please visit our career pages at svn.com/careers-with-svn/. Our managing directors would like to hear from you.

SVN CEO Recognized as Top Commercial Real Estate Leader

Kevin Maggiacomo Named as a Best CRE Boss for Promoting Diversity

Kevin Maggiacomo Best CRE BossIn case you missed the July issue of Real Estate Forumthe magazine recently announced SVN International Corp. President and CEO Kevin Maggiacomo has been named a 2016 Best CRE Boss for his efforts promoting diversity throughout the commercial real estate industry. The annual awards recognize inspirational and innovative CRE company leaders who exhibit ambition, financial prowess and people skills while also leading by example.

Chosen from over 100 highly qualified nominees, each featured leader was given a title that best corresponds with the individual’s leadership qualities, professional reputation and presence in the industry. Maggiacomo was selected as a 2016 Best CRE Boss in “The Diversifier” category for his continued dedication to improving gender and ethnic diversity in both SVN and the industry overall.

“We place a very high importance on diverse thought at SVN; it is a message we consistently communicate loud and clear,” says SVN President and CEO Kevin Maggiacomo. “Being recognized as a diversifier shows me that the industry is listening, and that a much-needed shift toward gender-balanced leadership and empowerment is underway.”

One of Maggiacomo’s main passions is spreading the message of diversity in leadership. Starting with his own company, Maggiacomo gender-balanced the SVN leadership team in 2014, has testified in front of the Massachusetts legislature on behalf of a Women on Boards bill, spoke on “Awakening the American Dream,” in his highly viewed TedX talk and most recently joined former British Prime Minster Tony Blair at the Closing the Gap conference speaking on the importance of diversifying leadership boards.

To learn more about diversity’s role in the innovative SVN platform, visit our Franchise Opportunities page.

[bctt tweet=”We place a very high importance on diverse thought at SVN; it is a message we consistently communicate loud and clear #CRE” username=”svnic”]

SVN Wins CRE Industry Award for Social Responsibility

Industry Peers Recognize SVN in NREI/IMN Awards

SVN International Corp. (SVN) recently announced it has earned a National Real Estate Investor (NREI) & Information Management Network (IMN) 2016 Commercial Real Estate Award for Social Responsibility. The inaugural awards recognize top performing organizations that exemplify the highest degree of business excellence and forward thinking in the commercial real estate industry.

The NREI/IMN 2016 Commercial Real Estate Awards are given for superiority in the areas of Innovation, Disruption, Social Responsibility and Social Media that have contributed significantly to the commercial real estate industry over the past 12 months. SVN was named as the winner in the Brokers: Social Responsibility category due to the firm’s qualitative and quantitative measures to enhance the industry’s image, give back to the community, improve society as well as promote diversity and the next generation.

Bringing Diversity to the Commercial Real Estate Industry

“This award is a testament to the importance we place on diverse thought at SVN, and more importantly, that the industry is listening,” says SVN President and CEO Kevin Maggiacomo. “In 2015 we rebranded with a goal of creating a Shared Value Network of openness, inclusiveness and innovation, which meant bringing intentionality to recruiting and empowering women, Millennials and minorities. By the end of last year, 40% of all new SVN franchises were minority or women-owned. For comparison, in 2004 98% of SVN franchise owners were male. Since then we have increased the number of women and minority owners by over 1000% percent. It’s truly been an incredible and rewarding shift.”

This year the NREI/IMN 2016 Commercial Real Estate Awards saw an unprecedented number of nominations making the final decisions no easy task. All awards are based on a system of nominations and peer selection. Winners, selected by NREI’s esteemed panel of judges, were announced at the awards dinner on June 13th in New York. By recognizing outstanding achievement in the industry, the Industry Awards hope to inspire innovation and leadership among participants, creating a meaningful annual benchmark that acknowledges and rewards excellence in the commercial real estate industry.

To learn more about joining the innovative SVN platform, visit the franchising opportunities page here.

[bctt tweet=”This award is a testament to the importance we place on diverse thought at SVN #CRE” username=”svnic”]

SVN Specialty Awards: Firm of the Year – SVN | Northco

Recognizing the SVN Difference with Specialty Awards

Firm of the Year 2015 NorthcoIf you read my recent blog post about the SVN Annual Conference highlights, you know that the SVN Specialty Awards recognize members of the SVN community who have distinguished themselves in 2015 by making significant impacts on the commercial real estate industry and beyond. The awards – which included Team Player of the Year, Ambassador of the Year, Collaborator of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, Prospector of the Year, Innovator of the Year, and Firm of the Year – looked beyond production results and instead focused on culture. The winners of this year’s SVN Specialty Awards each embody traits that the SVN culture values immensely: practicing collaboration, cooperation and conscious capitalism while excelling in commercial real estate.

SVN Firm of the Year 2015 – SVN | Northco

Firm of the Year is not the same as Top Producing Firm, although it can be. But when we look at nominees for Firm of the Year, we look for firms that are using the SVN tools, systems, resources and other offices to grow their presence. From the day SVN | Northco joined the SVN organization they went to our Jumpstart training events, used the SVN Live℠ Open Sales Calls to market properties, and embodied SVN’s collaborative culture. If you’ve ever called them for help on a golf or resort proposal, you’ve experienced it. They’re big, they’re productive, they cover many different parts of their market, and they’re a great bunch of men and women. And, this year, they are our Firm of the Year.

Led by Executive Directors Frank Jermusek and Walt Van Heest along with Managing Director Cameron Peterson, Northco became a member of the SVN organization in 2014. Headquartered in Minneapolis, MN, SVN Northco Real Estate Services is a full service commercial real estate firm that has been a leader in the Twin Cities market since 1975.

The SVN blog will be featuring one SVN Specialty Award winner every week for the next few weeks. Subscribe to the SVN blog on the right-hand column of the blog homepage to stay up to date with SVN and CRE industry news.

Recruiting Millennials: An Interview with a Talent Acquisition Manager

Tips for Recruiting Millennials

Patrick Church - Recruiting Millennials
Patrick Church – Corsica Partners

Recently our Chief Operating Officer, Diane K. Danielson, sat down with Patrick Church, Talent Acquisition Manager for Corsica Partners to talk about recruiting Millennials and attracting them to a suburban location. Patrick works mainly with a company located in Waltham, MA called Care.com. Care.com has about 750 employees total with 250 employees at their headquarters and provides child, adult and senior, pet and home care for over 19 million members.

DKD: Care.com is HQ’d in a suburb outside of Boston, is it hard to attract Millennials to the location?

PC: It’s not hard due to the quantity of people in the immediate area and the fact that there are a number of colleges nearby. While it’s difficult to get people from the city to come out, we’ve had success recruiting local college graduates, as they know the area and may still have friends there.

DKD: What workplace benefits do Millennials ask for that older generations don’t?

PC: First, they want to know about the company culture and growth opportunities. Then they want to know about team structure. Work-life flexibility may also come up. Even though most of the jobs at Care.com are traditional 9 to 5 jobs, people want to know there’s some wiggle room when life gets in the way.

DKD: I completely agree. I’m much more efficient when I’m not stuck in traffic. We’ve heard all the stereotypes, what do you look for to find the Millennial who can succeed in business?

PC: I look for curiosity and their ability to communicate what they’ve done and want to do. So many great people aren’t able to fully convey that in a resume, which is why referrals work. Depending on the position, we might also look for a consistent trend or theme of interests. If it’s not consistent, I want to know the story behind the changes. I especially like candidates who have taken an interest in something and gone above and beyond to pursue it. Internships help. We give a lot of credit to someone who can explain the benefit in a job, even if it was mundane. The bottom line is that you want to hire the person who has the ability to communicate something of value.

DKD: That final point is especially true in commercial real estate! Do you see differences between the different generations in the workplace?

PC: Young people today don’t want to just put their head down to work for 40 years and collect a pension. They don’t value the mailroom to office career path. It doesn’t mean they don’t want to work hard. It means that they want a different experience. Today’s firms can offer that. It boils down to a different work style, not a different work ethic. They will still work hard, especially for something they believe in. It’s just a different expectation of how their career path will flow. Part of that expectation does include flexibility. Millennials are willing to sacrifice a little in the paycheck to do something they like or have that balance. For them, it’s about compromise and flexibility.

DKD: How prepared are college graduates for the marketplace?

PC: Not very. Our colleges are not preparing graduates for the types of jobs that are needed in an innovation economy. College students are coming out of school with 90s and 2000s era business and marketing practices. They’re missing what’s really going on in the culture and environment today. This is a gap in the structure. They are also not learning the interpersonal interactions. The better applicants are those who have the intangibles. They can see a deadline and work well with others. It’s crucial that they learn how to deal with people.

DKD: Sounds to me that internships and customer service jobs are becoming more meaningful!


Thank you to Patrick Church for a recruiter’s viewpoint. It sounds like he is seeing first hand a lot of what we’ve been researching and reading about the younger generations. In the commercial real estate industry, we need to look for:

  • Curiosity and the ability to communicate that curiosity and/or something of value.
  • Current insights and people skills that are not being taught in school (they will likely have had to pick this up during an internship).

Our companies are also going to also have to be able to lay out a clear career path and test out flexibility (not just for Millennials but for others, too). And, the bonus real estate tip: if you want to lease a suburban office campus and attract young people, make sure it’s in an area near colleges.

For more information about commercial real estate job opportunities, check out the SVN Careers page here.

[bctt tweet=”The bottom line is that you want to hire the person who has the ability to communicate something of value.” username=”svnic”]

SVN Specialty Awards: Innovator of the Year – Al Stepan

Recognizing the SVN Difference with Specialty Awards

SVN Innovator of the Year 2015If you read my recent blog post about the SVN Annual Conference highlights, you know that the SVN Specialty Awards recognize members of the SVN community who have distinguished themselves in 2015 by making significant impacts on the commercial real estate industry and beyond. The awards – which included Team Player of the Year, Ambassador of the Year, Collaborator of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, Prospector of the Year, Innovator of the Year, and Firm of the Year – looked beyond production results and instead focused on culture. The winners of this year’s SVN Specialty Awards each embody traits that the SVN culture values immensely: practicing collaboration, cooperation and conscious capitalism while excelling in commercial real estate.

SVN Innovator of the Year 2015 – Al Stepan

Al Stepan - SVN Innovator of the Year 2015

When it comes to treating an SVN franchise like a business, no one is more of an innovator than Al Stepan. He has led the organization in investing in bringing in outside specialists to support recruiting, which has allowed him to scale his teams. He was also a driving force behind the consolidation of our Denver and Fort Collins offices, positioning them to be a regional powerhouse. These are just a couple of the examples of thinking big and applying best business practices to the operation of an SVN franchise. And it’s an innovation that we can all learn from.

Al Stepan is a principal of SVN | Chicago Commercial and serves as a Managing Director along with Michael Thanasouras and Scott Maesel in Chicago, IL.

The SVN blog will be featuring one SVN Specialty Award winner every week for the next few weeks. Stay up to date with SVN and CRE industry news.

SVN Specialty Awards: Prospector of the Year – Jamie Renzenbrink

Recognizing the SVN Difference with Specialty Awards

SVN 2015 Prospector of the YearIf you read my recent blog post about the SVN Annual Conference highlights, you know that the SVN Specialty Awards recognize members of the SVN community who have distinguished themselves in 2015 by making significant impacts on the commercial real estate industry and beyond. The awards – which included Team Player of the Year, Ambassador of the Year, Collaborator of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, Prospector of the Year, Innovator of the Year, and Firm of the Year – looked beyond production results and instead focused on culture. The winners of this year’s SVN Specialty Awards each embody traits that the SVN culture values immensely: practicing collaboration, cooperation and conscious capitalism while excelling in commercial real estate.

SVN Prospector of the Year 2015 – Jamie Renzenbrink

SVN Prospector of the Year - Jamie RenzenbrinkHow does one make it to the SVN Partners Circle? Some make it because they have years of contacts built up or they have a couple of deals that have been in the works for years that finally come through. But there is another way: specialization, focus, and an unparalleled work ethic of making the calls and getting it done. Jamie Renzenbrink, who specializes with Gene Levental on Affordable Housing, did the work and landed one of the biggest deals in SVN history. Her prospecting was an integral part of the overall success of our #1 firm this year, so she is our Prospector of the Year. Jamie Renzenbrink is a Senior Advisor at SVN | Affordable | Levental Realty in Cincinnati, OH.

The SVN blog will be featuring one SVN Specialty Award winner every week for the next few weeks. Subscribe to the SVN blog on the right-hand column of the blog homepage to stay up to date with SVN and CRE industry news.

SVN Specialty Awards: Humanitarian of the Year – Brent & Amy Miller

Recognizing the SVN Difference with Specialty Awards

SVN Humanitarian of the year 2015If you read my recent blog post about the SVN Annual Conference highlights, you know that the SVN Specialty Awards recognize members of the SVN community who have distinguished themselves in 2015 by making significant impacts on the commercial real estate industry and beyond. The awards – which included Team Player of the Year, Ambassador of the Year, Collaborator of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, Prospector of the Year, Innovator of the Year, and Firm of the Year – looked beyond production results and instead focused on culture. The winners of this year’s SVN Specialty Awards each embody traits that the SVN culture values immensely: practicing collaboration, cooperation and conscious capitalism while excelling in commercial real estate.

SVN Humanitarian of the Year 2015 – Brent & Amy Miller

If there was ever an office that makes community building a priority in our Shared Value Network it’s SVN | Miller. Led by Brent and Amy Miller, the group’s hard work to better their Salisbury, MD community is why we are giving them this year’s SVN Humanitarian of the Year Award. The Millers take doing well by doing good to heart and it is something that is reflected through every member of their team. We could say more, but I think that their SVN Difference video says it all. The SVN | Miller team picked up another honor at the conference, as this video won the “Best Documentary” category of our first annual SVN video awards. Check out the video below.

Brent and Amy Miller - SVN Humanitarian of the YearBrent Miller, CCIM, CPM, serves as Managing Director and Senior Advisor for SVN | Miller Commercial Real Estate with offices in Salisbury, Annapolis, Bethesda, Maryland; and Rehoboth/Lewes, Seaford, and Wilmington, Delaware. Miller specializes in the sale, leasing, and management of retail, office, and industrial property. With more than 27 years of commercial real estate experience, Miller has closed more than 750 transactions, resulting in a career brokerage volume in excess of $250 million.

Amy Miller, CPM, serves as Managing Director for SVN | Miller Commercial Real Estate & Property Management, Inc. in Salisbury, Maryland, where she acts as director of property management and chief financial officer. Miller has over 20 years of commercial real estate management experience.

The SVN blog will be featuring one SVN Specialty Award winner every week for the next few weeks. Subscribe to the SVN blog on the right-hand column of the blog homepage to stay up to date with SVN and CRE industry news.

SVN Specialty Awards: Trainer of the Year – Tomi Jo Lynch

Recognizing the SVN Difference with Specialty Awards

Trainer of the Year 2015 - Tomi Jo LynchIf you read my recent blog post about the SVN Annual Conference highlights, you know that the SVN Specialty Awards recognize members of the SVN community who have distinguished themselves in 2015 by making significant impacts on the commercial real estate industry and beyond. The awards – which included Team Player of the Year, Ambassador of the Year, Collaborator of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, Prospector of the Year, Innovator of the Year, and Firm of the Year – looked beyond production results and instead focused on culture. The winners of this year’s SVN Specialty Awards each embody traits that the SVN culture values immensely: practicing collaboration, cooperation and conscious capitalism while excelling in commercial real estate.

SVN Trainer of the Year 2015 – Tomi Jo Lynch

Trainer of the Year 2015 Tomi Jo LynchTomi Jo Lynch grew her office the old-fashioned way. She went out and spoke to people with skills who needed help to grow their businesses. She brought them in and led them to SVN’s Broker Boot Camp (now known as SVN | Jumpstart), and she built an in-office schedule of training sessions and roleplays, taking advantage of the SVN System for Growth™. She executed and, because of that, she has built a much larger and more productive office. And it all started with training.

Tomi Jo is a Senior Advisor with SVN® | Gold Dust Commercial Associates, in Reno, NV, specializing in industrial properties with a focus on landlord representation. Her responsibilities are varied and include not only brokerage services but business development as well as overseeing and managing the brokerage team. Lynch serves on the NAIOP Board of Directors and assists the Programs committee with events and recruiting.

The SVN blog will be featuring one SVN Specialty Award winner every week for the next few weeks. Subscribe to the SVN blog on the right-hand column of the blog homepage to stay up to date with SVN and CRE industry news.

SVN Specialty Awards: Collaborator of the Year – Tony Yousif

Recognizing the SVN Difference with Specialty Awards

Tony Yousif - Collaborator of the Year 2015If you read my recent blog post about the SVN Annual Conference highlights, you know that the SVN Specialty Awards recognize members of the SVN community who have distinguished themselves in 2015 by making significant impacts on the commercial real estate industry and beyond. The awards – which included Team Player of the Year, Ambassador of the Year, Collaborator of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, Prospector of the Year, Innovator of the Year, and Firm of the Year – looked beyond production results and instead focused on culture. The winners of this year’s SVN Specialty Awards each embody traits that the SVN culture values immensely: practicing collaboration, cooperation and conscious capitalism while excelling in commercial real estate.

SVN Collaborator of the Year 2015 – Tony Yousif

Tony Yousif - Collaborator of the YearJust being with SVN means you are a collaborator. And one could say that when you specialize in national accounts, you would naturally be a good collaborator. However, when you run your national accounts in a manner where nearly half the company writes in to nominate you, it means that you are the company’s best collaborator. As we are a company founded on collaboration both internally and externally, it’s with great pride that we present this award to Tony Yousif.

Tony Yousif serves as Senior Director of National Accounts for SVN | Asset Advisory Group specializing in the management and sale of investment properties.

The SVN blog will be featuring one SVN Specialty Award winner every week for the next few weeks. Subscribe to the SVN blog on the right-hand column of the blog homepage to stay up to date with SVN and CRE industry news.

Business Trends: Millennials Rejecting the Default

Millennials Are Rejecting the Default

… and It’s a Very Good Thing

We all know that Millennials are challenging our traditional work environments. But the big question is “why?” Why are Millennials challenging the system rather than assimilating like earlier generations? I struggled with finding an explanation other than demographics until I read a sentence written by professor Adam Grant in his recent book: Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World.

“The hallmark of originality is rejecting the default and exploring whether a better operation exists.” – Adam Grant.

Millennials are rejecting the default and it’s disconcerting, but necessary and in my view, a very good thing. When it comes to the work environment, Generation X, Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation don’t just represent the default … we are the default. This might be why so many of us take this personally. Why are Millennials so eager and able to reject a default that has been in place for generations?

Two reasons: technology and societal shift.

Technology. Millennials are digital natives. They grew up with technology and view everything through a technological filter. They look at our daily lives and think “there’s got to be an app for that.” It’s ingrained in them to use technology to question, dismantle, and reconfigure processes. They are rejecting the default option in search of a better way.

Societal shift. Generation X and Baby Boomers actually know people who worked 40 hours a week for 40 years at the same company, earned that gold watch and retired at 65 to play golf in Florida. We also know of people who had pensions; who were protected by unions; and for whom a single breadwinner could support a family even while working for a minimum wage. This is the default.

But, Millennials are not part of that default. Retire at 65? Not if they are still paying off their college loans. Pensions, funded 401ks, or a home with equity for retirement? Not likely. Even if we set aside monetary limitations, people are living longer. Retiring at 65 is no longer that appealing or feasible for most. The default no longer works, and this is why Millennials are forcing us to re-examine everything about our work culture.

One example of this came out of our recent SVN Millennials Career report (How Commercial Real Estate Firms can Attract and Retain Millennials) around the topic of flexibility in the workplace. According to our survey, flexibility of hours and location for work was a top five “must have” for Millennials and in fact, more men than women cited it as an important factor when choosing companies. This is quite a switch from 5-10 years ago when flexibility was a “woman” or “parent” issue. To even mention the word back then would set you on the Mommy track.

But, what is driving this new quest for flexibility? Part of it goes back to the technology filters. If technology allows us to work wherever and whenever we want, why can’t we? If culturally no one is racing to retirement and the other default rewards don’t exist, why do we have to stick to a 9-5, 5 days per week schedule? Flexibility does not mean Millennials want to work less. In fact, most want to work more, but they also want to work smarter… and to avoid rush hour. When the default is sitting an extra 30 to 60 minutes in traffic, when you don’t actually have to… why do we?

It’s not about a different work ethic. It’s about a different work style.

That’s an important distinction to make; especially because that different work style benefits more than just Millennials. Opening up the flexibility conversation beyond women and parents is a benefit to all employees, whether it’s the single employee who doesn’t have anyone to help them drop off a car for repairs or wait for a furniture delivery; the Gen X’er dealing with aging parents; or the Baby Boomer who wants to take a brief career pause or sabbatical.

If you look around, the default no longer works for the majority of us, and this is why the Millennials’ rejection of the default is a very good thing.

Please visit our SVNICorp YouTube page to see my recent keynote to learn more about the how Millennials are challenging and changing how and where we live and work.

[bctt tweet=”If technology allows us to work wherever and whenever we want, why can’t we?”]

SVN Specialty Awards: Ambassador of the Year – Alex Ruggieri

Recognizing the SVN Difference with Specialty Awards

Ambassador126If you read my recent blog post about the SVN Annual Conference highlights, you know that the SVN Specialty Awards recognize members of the SVN community who have distinguished themselves in 2015 by making significant impacts on the commercial real estate industry and beyond. The awards – which included Team Player of the Year, Ambassador of the Year, Collaborator of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, Prospector of the Year, Innovator of the Year, and Firm of the Year – looked beyond production results and instead focused on culture. The winners of this year’s SVN Specialty Awards each embody traits that the SVN culture values immensely: practicing collaboration, cooperation and conscious capitalism while excelling in commercial real estate.

SVN Ambassador of the Year 2015 – Alex Ruggieri

Alex Ruggieri - ambassadorWhat can we say about Alex Ruggieri? Not only does he dress the part of an impeccable Ambassador – he is out there online and in person representing SVN on his radio show, at CCIM conferences and with clients around the country. Recently he’s been working with David Wilk on some leading-edge corporate service projects as well. He’s been a Partners Circle winner for four years in a row – from 2012 through this year. This is his second time winning the prestigious Ambassador of the Year award, as he also received this honor in 2013.

Alex Ruggieri serves as a Senior Advisor for SVN | Ramshaw Real Estate, Inc., specializing in the sale of investment properties and corporate relocations in Champaign- Urbana and Central Illinois. With more than 30 years of commercial real estate industry experience, he has built an array of valuable business, real estate, and banking community contacts that benefit his clients. He has secured a transaction career sales volume in excess of $500 million.

The SVN blog will be featuring one SVN Specialty Award winner every week for the next few weeks. Subscribe to the SVN blog on the right-hand column of the blog homepage to stay up to date with SVN and CRE industry news.

SVN President and CEO Kevin Maggiacomo Speaks at "Closing the Gap" Conference

Kevin Maggiacomo on Gender Balance and Shared Value 

In December 2015, Kevin Maggiacomo was invited to speak at the very prestigious Greene Institute “Closing the Gap” conference on achieving gender balance. Other speakers at the conference included New York Times Columnist Tom Friedman and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair. Kevin used this opportunity to expand upon his earlier TEDx talk about including everyone in the American Dream. In his latest talk, he connects his message of inclusion with a transformative and profitable business strategy based on shared value.

Check out the 6-minute video here.

We believe our success at SVN comes from growing our network by intentionally recruiting women, minorities and millennials as franchisees, Advisors and employees. We believe their proven, innate drive for openness, collaboration and success will give SVN a distinctive competitive advantage.  To view new career opportunities visit our Careers Page. If you are interested in learning more about how your firm can join as a franchise, visit our Franchise Sales Page.

SVN Specialty Awards: Team Player – Steve Kawulok

Recognizing the SVN Difference with Specialty Awards

Team126If you read my recent blog post about the SVN Annual Conference highlights, you know that the SVN Specialty Awards recognize members of the SVN community who have distinguished themselves in 2015 by making significant impacts on the commercial real estate industry and beyond. The awards – which included Team Player of the Year, Ambassador of the Year, Collaborator of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, Prospector of the Year, Innovator of the Year, and Firm of the Year – looked beyond production results and instead focused on culture. The winners of this year’s SVN Specialty Awards each embody traits that the SVN culture values immensely: practicing collaboration, cooperation and conscious capitalism while excelling in commercial real estate.

SVN Team Player of the Year 2015 – Steve Kawulok

Steve Kawulok - SVN Specialty AwardsSteve Kawulok, Managing Director of SVN | Denver Commercial has been with SVN since 2007 and under his direction, the Fort Collins office has been a top performing office for as long as we can remember. However, the fact that there were a number of nominations for Steve that came from around the country is a testament to his ability to be a true SVN Team Player. This year, Steve took it to another level when he was instrumental in building the SVN presence in Denver. To a quote one of the nominations that came in:

“His unique strong – yet soft-spoken – style made him the perfect candidate to blend the multiple Colorado offices and work together with the leaders from the Chicago SVN office to establish a regional presence in the Denver metro area. He is a real team player.”

The SVN blog will be featuring one SVN Specialty Award winner every week for the next few weeks. Stay up to date with SVN and CRE industry news.

SVN Annual Conference 2016: Highlights From San Diego

My Top 4 Moments from the SVN Annual Conference

The 2016 SVN Annual Conference was easily the best reason to miss class. As a college student and the youngest member of the SVNIC team, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to San Diego, California for a three-day commercial real estate extravaganza: #SVN2016. The SVN Annual Conference, held in the Westin San Diego, proved to be the highlight of my entire year working at Sperry Van Ness International Corporation (so far). As you can probably tell, it was difficult for me to narrow down what I thought were the best parts of the event. While I’m sure everyone had a different set of high points, here are mine:

1. Kevin Maggiacomo’s Opening Address

Kevin Maggiacomo
Kevin Maggiacomo, SVNIC CEO & President.

SVNIC CEO & President Kevin Maggiacomo kicked off the conference talking about transparency, shared values and supporting women. As it always has, the commercial real estate industry currently lacks diversity, particularly in terms of including and promoting the interests of women – SVN aims to change this. As quoted in the Globe St. article about him, Maggiacomo says: “Having more successful women on our teams will make all of us more successful and generate exponential value and more profits.” Personally, as a college student interested in business, I was particularly interested in how hiring gender-inclusive talent as well as transparency across the organization (i.e., openly sharing fees with the entire brokerage community) can result in higher profits. As I better understood from Kevin’s opening speech, implementing a shared value strategy enables Advisors to have even more “meaningful conversations.” Kevin wants Advisors to strive to have five “real” conversations per day… every day. This is something that even us interns can try.

2. Advisor Headshot Session

SVN Annual Conference 2016 Poolside Roof Deck
The background: San Diego buildings and sunshine.

The 400+ SVN Advisors and staff from across the U.S., Canada, and Russia probably didn’t expect to have a professional photographer waiting for them at the hotel poolside – on the first full day of the conference. With the help of two extremely resourceful SVNIC assistants (yes, I was one of them), the photographer shot hundreds of new professional headshots for over 150 SVN Advisors and staff within that one day. Not only did dozens of SVN Advisors receive complimentary up-to-date professional headshots to help market themselves and their businesses – it was also an unexpected networking event. I met so many members of the SVN organization while helping them get ready for their photoshoots, and I’m happy to say I have 150 new friends.

3. Diane Danielson’s Business Trends Talk

Diane Talk – Annual Conference 2016
Diane updates the full house of SVN Advisors.

Yes, Diane Danielson is my boss, so at the risk of sounding biased, I’ll say it anyway: she nailed it. Her talk, which focused largely on Millennials (me!) was spot-on. We want flexibility in work hours and location, a clear path for advancement, a conscious capitalist mission, but we still want to work hard. It seems like Millennials are often accused of being lazy, self-absorbed, and all around not the sort of people cut out for the corporate environment that their Silent Generation, Baby Boomer, and older Generation X parents worked hard to cultivate. In her talk, Diane shattered this stereotype about my generation by emphasizing our desire for efficiency. While the business trends discussed spanned more than just Millennial issues, this part of Diane’s speech resonated most with me because as a Millennial, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Click here to see a video of the full talk.

4. Specialty Awards

Everyone likes winning awards. If you don’t, I kind of think you’re lying. What makes the SVN Specialty Awards so wonderful is that they recognize more than just good Commercial Real Estate Advisors – they recognize good people. The awards – which included Team Player of the Year, Ambassador of the Year, Collaborator of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, Prospector of the Year, Innovator of the Year, and Firm of the Year – looked beyond production results and instead focused on culture. The winners of this year’s SVN Specialty Awards each embody traits that the SVN culture values immensely: practicing collaboration, cooperation and conscious capitalism while excelling in commercial real estate. Yes, numbers don’t lie. But neither do the people – all members of the SVN organization were invited to nominate individuals for the SVN Specialty Awards. This year’s winners are a group of SVN Advisors and Managing Directors who motivate and inspire me and countless others to strive for excellence in every sense of the word. In case you were curious, here are the winners:

There you have it – my top highlights from the 2016 SVN Annual Conference. I’m sorry, professors – the experience I gained from my three days outside of class was worth its weight in California gold.

For other SVN Annual Conference news, check out the SVN Blog for additional content.

[bctt tweet=”I’m sorry, professors – the experience I gained from my three days outside of class was worth it. #SVN2016 #CRE”]


The SVN Gen Y CRE Report on Attracting Millennial Talent

The Survey Results Are In – Millennial CRE Is Our Future

In the Fall of 2015, Sperry Van Ness International Corp. (SVNIC) surveyed over 325 Millennials (born between 1980 and 1995) in the United States, Canada and South America about careers, specifically asking about commission-based jobs and what they are looking for in future employers. With the oldest members of Generation Y moving into the upper echelons of their respective fields, a discussion about Millennial real estate careers is as timely as ever.

Why You Should Care About Millennials in CRE

The commercial real estate (CRE) industry has been around since small-time businesses first opened their doors; and it will continue to be around as long as there is commerce. Yet, the industry, which was hit hard during the last recession, has an aging employee base. For a full five-year period (2008-2013), commercial real estate was not a lucrative career option for many licensed brokers, and especially not attractive to younger professionals. This means that the CRE industry needs to work harder to attract and cultivate the top talent of tomorrow, or risk an industry brain drain.

The Millennial Commercial Real Estate Career Study conducted by SVNIC (“The SVN® Study”) attempts to answer how an industry led by a majority of white males, many of whom began their careers before the Internet was open to commerce, can attract diverse young men and women. In commercial real estate offices run by Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation, the Millennials (also known as Generation Y) are often operating under a completely different paradigm. It’s not just about the technology, but how their access to the world through that technology has changed expectations of what is desirable in a work environment. Millennials are still as ambitious as any generation that came before, but to capture the attention of the best and the brightest, commercial real estate companies need to make a few changes.

Interested? There’s More…

SVNIC COO Diane Danielson summarized the survey findings in this brand new report. Download the entire Millennial CRE Report E-book here.

[bctt tweet=”The CRE industry needs to work harder to attract top talent or risk an industry brain drain.”]

Project REAP Promotes Diversity in the CRE Industry

Diane Danielson REAP advertisement
@DianeDanielson appears in Project REAP ad. Photo courtesy of @ReidBennettCCIM

Project REAP (Real Estate Associates Program) provides underrepresented minorities with access to the commercial real estate industry through classes and connections to sponsor firms and supporters. Each year, several of our SVN® Advisors and Experts participate as instructors and even recruit Project REAP talent. When Project REAP President and Executive Director, Gregg McCort asked if I could say a few words about why we support the program for an ad campaign, it was simple. Diversity is good business.

“The Sperry Van Ness (SVN) organization has always taken an innovative approach to separate itself in the brokerage business. As COO, I knew that repeating past hiring practices would not serve us in the future where our clients would demand greater multicultural representation. Sperry Van Ness International Corp. (SVNIC) supports REAP because it gives us access to diverse talent that more fully represents our prospective clients. More than promoting diversity and inclusion, REAP introduces our brand to accomplished professionals who can solve problems, create opportunities and open new doors. Investigate the benefits REAP can bring to your company. Because great talent leads to greater success.”

Diane Danielson, COO, Sperry Van Ness International Corp.

[bctt tweet=”SVN supports REAP because it gives us access to diverse talent that more fully represents prospective clients. @dianedanielson of @SVNIC #CRE” via=”no”]

I caught up with Gregg earlier this week for a brief interview. As a longtime supporter of Project REAP, the SVN organization stands to benefit from learning more about the initiative.

Gregg Mccort Project REAP
Gregg McCort, President and Executive Director of REAP.

1. What is Project REAP?  

REAP is a talent delivery system that links accomplished professionals who just happen to be minorities to the commercial real estate industry.

2. Why do you feel the Commercial Real Estate Industry needs programs like Project REAP?

Same as any other industry—the necessity to tap into talent resources that are outside the normal conduits of procurement. A broadening of the search yielding more productive results.

  3. Has the program attained the desired results?  

Very qualified success. For students and companies willing to dig deeper, to make the connection, to truly explore the possibilities of a CRE careers, yes. In terms of creating a significant change in the workforce profile of CRE, no. That is a longer term effort that will eventually require a sea of change in  thinking within the industry.

4. When and where are your 2016 programs taking place?  

New York and Atlanta in the spring; Dallas-Ft. Worth, Washington and Chicago in the fall.

5. SVN has been a corporate partner with Project REAP, but what can SVN Advisors and other members of the commercial real estate community do to support Project REAP?  

Promotion—of both the entity and the cause.  Increased awareness through the efforts of our supporters/sponsors can go a long way in helping REAP gain more traction and accomplish greater things.

Click here to learn more about REAP on their website.

How to Dress for Success in 2016 with Solomon Poretsky

The Unspoken Dress Code in Commercial Real Estate

There’s something I need to get out of the way up front. This article was not sponsored by the Dry Cleaners Association of America. But they’re going to love it.

As I’ve toured offices, here are some of the things I’ve seen:

  • Athletic shoes
  • Men without socks
  • Wrinkled polo shirts
  • Ripped denims

I haven’t seen these things in smaller markets where standards of dress might be relaxed. I saw them in markets where people dress for business.

And every time I’ve seen it, I’ve asked myself a silent question: How would that Advisor do if a conservative 60-year old client wanted him or her to come over right now? And I know the answer… Most of the time, they wouldn’t get the business.

Clothes Make the Advisor

Millennials Dress for Success
Not all Millennials shun traditional business attire. Pictured: Julia Taibl and Michael Malinconico of SVNIC.

You might say that Generation Y is changing the rules and making informality the norm. I’ll see you, and I’ll raise you Frank and Oak’s banner ads with a fully-bearded – and fully suited – Gen Y model. Add in all of the new Internet custom clothiers – who are clearly targeting Millennial customers – and you can see that business wear is ageless.

With perfectly adequate business wear available at Target and Costco and multiple discounts available at Macy’s and other retailers, it’s hard to argue that dressing for success isn’t affordable, either.

While this might all still seem a bit stodgy and old-fashioned, let’s think about what dressing for business every day means. It means that you are always ready for whatever comes. If a jacket is too much, you can take it off before a meeting. Same with a tie, scarf or other accessory. Long sleeves can even be rolled up on a hot day. It’s always easy to dress down. But it’s a lot harder to dress up on the fly.

It’s Smart to Dress for Success

And, here’s the really interesting thing…. Dressing smartly makes you smarter. Research now shows that formal business attire improves critical thinking skills (as does wearing a “doctor’s” coat).

Personally, I know that I feel crisper and sharper when I have a tie on. I’m able to work longer days. And focus harder.

To that end, if you’ve embraced a week-long “casual Friday,” I encourage you to think about starting off 2016 with a new, more professional look. You’ll look better, feel better and, most importantly, broker better. And your clients will thank you for it.

Happy new year, and I can’t wait to see you in San Diego for the SVN Annual Conference! Be sure to register now if you haven’t already. You know what I’ll be wearing…

The New Generation of Conscious Capitalism in CRE

Diane Danielson on Conscious Capitalism & Real Estate

Towards the end of 2015 Diane Danielson, COO of SVNIC, co-led a live interactive talk for NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association to fill in for SVNIC’s CEO, Kevin Maggiacomo while he was on paternity leave. For this event, called “CEO Insight: Conscious Capitalism in Commercial Real Estate,” Danielson teamed up with Joy Hou, Co-Founder and CEO of MREN to conduct a structured open discussion about what motivates individuals, particularly Millennials, to jump into the commercial real estate industry.

Diane Danielson, SVNIC COO on Conscious Capitalism
Follow Diane Danielson on Twitter at @DianeDanielson.

First off, what isconscious capitalism” anyway? Conscious capitalism is the basis of your bottom line, as opposed to CSR — “Corporate Social Responsibility,” which is more of a program. What differentiates conscious capitalism is the “3 P’s:” planet, people, and profit. At SVN, this translates to a specific focus on diversity of all types: ethnic, gender, generational, and so on. From a business standpoint, this approach opens us up to new markets and to new employees who can offer fresh and valuable skills and opinions.

As Danielson and Hou pointed out, members of Generation Y (“Millennials”) have come to expect companies to practice conscious capitalism. In SVN’s Millennials Commercial Real Estate Survey, (results to be released later this month) 75% of the Millennial men and women who responded indicated that conscious capitalism is an important factor when considering where to work. Luckily, this value that Millennials place on conscious capitalism has the potential to work as an advantage for the commercial real estate industry. Danielson explains: “Real estate is uniquely positioned to work with communities,” especially those in need. Projects like eco-friendly “green” buildings can solve a lot of problems within communities. The conscious capitalist approach is about “people first” — building not just for profit, but to better the lives of the people in the community. Emphasizing this side of commercial real estate could be one solution to the “brain gap” problem: with senior leaders in the field approaching retirement, the commercial real estate industry will likely face an employment crisis, Danielson explained. “Sometimes it takes a little extra effort to capture these Millennials, to capture diversity.”

Conscious Capitalism in the Millennial Workplace

Conscious capitalism is just one of the many workplace preferences that will become increasingly important as the oldest Millennials, who are now 35, move into leadership roles. According to Danielson and Hou, in the next 10 years, Millennials will be in control of the money, and as the SVN Millennials CRE Survey preliminary results indicate, the vast majority of them consider “purpose” when making investment decisions. Clearly, there’s a social element at play. Our SVN CRE Survey further revealed that the traits Millennials value most highly in an employer are collaboration and flexibility in work location and hours. Younger adults don’t necessarily want to just work from home, but it’s not always convenient to go into the office. They want flexibility, which today’s technology can easily facilitate, even in the CRE industry.

With the increasing demand for highly skilled workers in the notoriously lucrative technology industry, what can our industry do to compete for the “brains” to fill the looming talent “gap”? As Hou emphasized, when looking for new Millennial hires, employers should try to convince them that what they do has purpose. This means taking away that corporate mentality of “I say, you do,” which most Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are accustomed to. Instead, the Millennial mentality is about “How do we work together?” In the dawn of the Age of Millennials, collaboration is key, and as Danielson said,”when you change your mindset, you see opportunities.”

Listen to the full audio recording of “CEO Insight: Conscious Capitalism in Commercial Real Estate” here.

To learn more about real-life examples of companies that practice conscious capitalism, check out the book Firms of Endearment here.

[bctt tweet=””When you change your mindset, you see opportunities.””]

8 Problem-Solving Tips for Leaders from The Martian

Leaders on Earth and Mars: To Infinity and Beyond?

If you have read the book The Martian by Andy Weir or seen the Matt Damon movie version, you can’t help but wonder, “Would I be able to survive alone on Mars?” Fortunately most of us won’t be stranded on a planet forced to solve problems that have life or death consequences. But, as leaders, we face a number of seemingly insurmountable problems that need solving on a daily basis. Here are eight tips that can help us all become better problem-solvers – and leaders – at work.

1. Reframe the problem

The bigger the problem; the greater the anxiety. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially when juggling many problems at the same time. The first step is to stop thinking about them as problems. Instead, reframe them as challenges. This entails more than simply substituting the word, but seeking out the challenges within your problem. (Warning: SPOILER ALERT ahead).

In The Martian, Mark Watney, the main character, was traveling in a solar-powered vehicle across mars when he ran into a massive dust storm. This was an enormous problem. The dust blocked the sun he needed to power his vehicle. Instead of focusing on the problem, i.e. the dust storm, he found the challenge: he needed his solar panels to receive more light from Mars’ sun. By focusing on how he could get more solar energy, he eventually found a way to navigate out of and around the storm.

2. Break the big problems down into manageable steps.

Along the way to solving any big problem, there are always smaller steps. While it helps to understand and communicate the desired end result, focus on the first step. Steps are smaller and less anxiety provoking. For Watney on Mars, there was a point when he needed to find a way to get from one small airlock back to the main one. That was the big problem. But before he could even think about that, he needed to buy some time. The first step was to fix his Extravehicular Activity (EVA) suit to preserve his air. If he focused on the bigger problem and not the more immediate first step, he would never have made it.

3. Surround yourself with experts.

While Watney had a lot of time and problem solving by himself on Mars, whenever he had communications with Earth, he took their advice … at least most of the time. There were occasions when he went with his gut because as he noted, he was now the world’s expert at surviving on Mars. Regardless of your expertise, the best teams contain diverse experts who not only know their expertise but also their limitations. See 7 Signs Your Team is Functioning at Top Capacity for tips on how to build a team that works well together.

4. Science the sh*t out of it.

This is the most famous line in the movie (although it does not appear in the book!) and it applies to even us non-scientific types. The scientific method works by testing, observing and measuring; in other words, actual facts. Lay out a plan that helps you test and observe the possibilities. Facts are not as subjective; they help extract the emotion so you can handle the pressure and make the right decision.

5. Learn from failures.

If you are sciencing the sh*t out of the problem, that means you will be having one little failure after another. [bctt tweet=”Don’t dwell on failure. Reframe the failures as learning events.”]

6. Know when to switch to plan B

Any leader can come up with a Plan A and even articulate the plan to the entire team. A good leader will also have a Plan B in mind. A great leader will know when to abandon Plan A and switch to Plan B. This is never easy because a lot of time, money and resources may have gone into Plan A. Stakeholders may be personally invested in Plan A and leaders are only human and can get attached to their own plans. But if you are learning from failure and sciencing the sh*t out of it, it will be easier to identify when it is time to switch, plus you will have the data to stand behind your decision.

7. Be an optimist.

If you are stuck alone … on Mars … you need to be an optimist. The same goes for leaders, even when they don’t know the answers. If leaders are not optimists about their own businesses, then who else is going to be? Read more on 5 Reasons Why Optimists Make Better Leaders.

8. Keep your sense of humor.

In The Martian (book version) the astronauts’ psychologist opined that of all the astronauts to be left behind on that mission, Watney had the highest chance of survival, not due to his expertise as a botanist and engineer, but due to his sense of humor. In 2010, the New York Times covered research that connected humor to creative problem solving. As a leader, you don’t have to be funny. Trust me, if your team is under pressure, almost any chance to laugh off nervous energy is welcome. Humor is bonding. And it opens the door for the much funnier members of the team to chime in.

“A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Do you think you have what it takes to be a leader in the commercial real estate industry? Visit the SVN Careers page here.

Sperry Van Ness is Now SVN

A Letter From President & CEO Kevin Maggiacomo


I have always believed the status quo to be the arch nemesis of great companies. Embracing the status quo breeds mediocrity and as brand leaders, our jobs are to disrupt that mediocrity and to achieve excellence. Along these lines, I am excited to announce an exciting change we are making to our organization.

Time For Change – The world is changing and so are we.

NewSVNLogoTo better reflect the company we are today, we are undergoing a meaningful and powerful change to our brand: Sperry Van Ness® has proudly become SVN®.

This change is built atop the shared value brand pillars — open, collaborative and transparent — that underpin our business model. Our new brand more accurately represents the company’s stakeholders. It also creates a strong opportunity for us to share our story – and what we do that is better and different than the competition.

Companies that seek out and embrace change are healthy, growing and dynamic organizations, while companies that fear change are stagnant entities on their way to a painful demise.  There is tremendous opportunity in this initiative and we are looking forward to continuing to roll it out globally over the next 12-18 months.

To read the full press release on the name change, please click here.



5 Tips to Perfect the Fast Pitch by Diane Danielson

Tips for Pitching the #SVNDifference

Last month I had an opportunity to speak at #DisruptCRE, which featured a number of commercial real estate technology companies seeking to “disrupt” the industry. One of the sessions included a fast-pitch session so that companies like Sperry Van Ness International Corporation as well as venture capitalists seeking to invest could learn about a company in 45 seconds or less.

Now, 45 seconds sounds like a very short time, but it’s still enough to convey a wealth of information. Out of the 20 presentations we saw, a couple of them stood out, not necessarily because their apps and technology were relevant to SVN, in fact most of them were not, but they had perfected their fast-pitch presentations.*

As Commercial Real Estate Advisors, we aren’t pitching new business tools to clients, but we are pitching our services and systems and often within short timeframes. In any presentation, we have only the first few seconds to make a good impression and explain the #SVNDifference. In fact, we want to see how our own Advisors do their version of a fast pitch in our #SVNDifference video contest (Click here for details; entries due by November 24, 2015).

[bctt tweet=”45 seconds sounds like a very short time, but it’s still enough to convey a wealth of information through your pitch #CRE”]

Here are a few helpful hints for delivering your pitch to clients in 45 seconds or less:

  1. Analogies work. If you are trying to introduce something new and different, then you need to give people a baseline. This is why Hollywood pitches always start out as it’s “Jaws meets Twister” or “Harry meets Sally online.”

SVN Advisor Tip: Be able to describe how you can organize greater demand for a property in words and/or analogies that your clients will understand.

  1. Tell stories. If you want people to remember you, your service, or your product, tell a story about it. Here are six rules for great storytelling. And, yes, a good presenter can tell an entire story within 45 seconds.

SVN Advisor Tip: Is there a story that demonstrates how your firm has used our Open Sales Call to create greater demand and/or to sell a property faster?

  1. Differentiate from the competition. Use your stories to illustrate how your service differs from the competition.

SVN Advisor Tip: This is why you need to perfect your #SVNDifference pitch!

  1. Be able to pitch without PowerPoint or props. In 45 seconds, your verbal description needs to stand on its own, no matter the product or service.

SVN Advisor Tip: Listen to the pitches on the Open Sales Call. Make notes on which ones are the most effective.

  1. Align with their values. What does your client value? Are they tied to the local community? What is their company culture or priorities?

SVN Advisor Tip: At SVN we value collaboration, local expertise, and transparent fees to drive demand. Identify clients who do the same, and the easier it will be to make your pitch.

One final reason to really nail the fast pitch is that even if the person making the decision is excited for your service, implementation is another story. For your client to make a change, they often have to convince a lot of other people to go along with them, some of who may be reluctant. You need to help them duplicate your fast pitch internally and that’s where the tips above can help.

Looking forward to seeing some versions of our Advisors’ 45-second pitches in our #SVNDifference Video Contest!

*Just in case you were wondering, there was not a bad pitch in the whole set at DisruptCRE, but the top 45-second pitches of the day were by Raisal, Building Conversation, and CrowdComfort. Great job to those companies and all the others who presented last week.

Millennials Perspective on the CRE Dinosaur

Millennials and CRE

The current CRE workforce is aging and it’s important to not only recruit young talent, but to listen to what they have to say about the current state of our industry. The oldest Millennials, also called Generation Y (those born 1980 to 2000), are now 35 years-old, and in five years many of them will be in leadership positions. We at Sperry Van Ness are dedicated to a collaborative culture, and feel it’s of the utmost importance to share new viewpoints among the CRE industry.

Millennial Advisor Kathryn Juneau with SVN/Graham, Langlois and Legendre in Baton Rouge, LA recently shared her views as a Gen Y-er on common CRE practices and how we can make them better, stronger and more efficient. We encourage you to take a read by clicking the image below, as you will definitely walk away with food for thought for your CRE business.



[bctt tweet=”#CRE is a dinosaur industry. Time to evolve. The #Millennial Perspective by @KatJuneau”]


SVN COO Among Women of Influence in Real Estate

Diane Danielson Earns a Spot in Real Estate Forum’s Women of Influence Issue

Diane Danielson, Chief Operating Officer of Sperry Van Ness International Corporation was recently named one of Real Estate Forum magazine’s 2015 Women of Influence. In their July/August 2015 issue, Real Estate Forum highlighted 51 of the commercial real estate industry’s most distinguished and successful women, chosen from a pool of more than 350 highly qualified nominees.

Women of InfluenceOne purpose of the magazine’s list was to recognize the positive effects that a diversified management team can have on a business. As Real Estate Forum author Kristian Seemeyer points out, “In commercial real estate, women have long busted down the doors of the ‘Old Boys’ Club’ and are quickly filling up top decision-making positions. It may take some more time to achieve full parity, but this year’s roster of powerful female CRE professionals are proof positive that women are thriving in the business, and are paving the way for generations to come.”

Like many of the influential women featured in the Real Estate Forum article, Diane did not always work in commercial real estate. She started out as an environmental attorney in Boston before transitioning into various different roles within the local CRE sphere, including sales, marketing, and business development. Then, in 2003 she briefly left the CRE industry to launch her own company, the first online social network for businesswomen in the U.S. This experience in the tech field influenced Diane’s return to the CRE industry, when in 2012 she joined Sperry Van Ness International Corporation as the Chief Platform Officer. In this role, Diane was able to draw from both her CRE and tech backgrounds in order to design the company’s technology and sales platforms. She was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 2013.

Diane influences the CRE industry on a daily basis by serving as a thought leader in our community. From her SVN blog posts to her social media tweets, Diane continuously offers valuable advice and insights as a woman who didn’t need an invitation to the “Old Boys’ Club” in order to succeed in CRE.

For more information on women in commercial real estate, download our report here.

SVN Women Minorities


[bctt tweet=”In commercial real estate, women have long busted down the doors of the ‘Old Boys’ Club’ and are quickly filling up top decision-making positions.”]



Generation Y Real Estate Survey: Planning For the Future of CRE

Have you ever considered a career in commercial real estate?

real estate survey

Often associated with residential real estate, commercial real estate (CRE) is actually quite different. A CRE broker sells and leases properties such as office, retail (stores, malls), industrial (warehouse/self-storage), multi-family (apartment buildings/complexes) and other commercially-used real estate. Work takes place during traditional office hours and often the commission earned on a single sale will be greater than that for an average home sale.

CRE brokers work as employees or independent contractors on commission (no salary, commissions are earned on completed sales/leases). In 2013, in the United States, CRE brokers earned on average $91,000/year. This varied by experience, region and type of area (urban v. suburban v. rural). To become a commercial real estate agent/broker you need a license in the United States and most other countries in the world.

[bctt tweet=”What are your thoughts on a commission-based career? Tell @SVNIC in this quick survey! #GenY http://svn.re/1ifwNyS” via=”no”]

Real Estate Survey

real estate survey

Sperry Van Ness International Corp. is a commercial real estate franchisor that wants to make our industry attractive to young people. To that end we ask those who were born in the 80’s and early 90’s to take this short survey (5-10 minutes) about careers in commercial real estate. In appreciation of your time, upon completion you can be entered into a drawing for 20 $25 Amazon gift cards if you provide your email address.

Thank you in advance for completing and please pass along!

Appreciation Is the Best Motivation

Appreciation Can Be a Better Motivator than Money

I recently read an article in the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal titled “It Pays to Give Thanks at the Office.” I was instantly drawn to the title as I was just coming off three days in Dallas attending SVNIC’s inaugural Managing Director Conference. One of our breakout sessions was called “Speed Best Practices — 60 Second Tips from Your Colleagues That You Could Use to Own, Lead and Succeed in Your Business.” There were well over 100 best practices shared from offices all across the country, with topics ranging from how to write a deployment plan to how to motivate a team with sales incentives.

One of my favorite best practices was shared by a Managing Director from NYC. Each week he asks his new to the business CRE brokers for a list of the people who would not take the rookies’ calls. He would then sit down in the open cubes with all the rookies and call that list of people they couldn’t get a meeting with. Role playing and sharing cold call techniques on how to get a meeting gave this team the training they needed. He was able to demonstrate to his young team unique sales and winning phone tactics from a seasoned, CRE industry veteran’s perspective. I like to think that commercial real estate offices today are becoming more diverse and multigenerational, where collaborating and cooperating together like this team is widespread. These rookies thanked and appreciated their Managing Director and the MD thanked them for making the calls. Collaboration and cooperation is the ethos of the SVN culture today.

[bctt tweet=”Collaboration and cooperation is the ethos of the #SVN culture today.”]

So I paused when the article I read in the WSJ quoted “It’s rare to find gratitude around the workplace, but appreciation is an even better motivator than money. Bonuses get spent, titles get old but a thank you lingers…” I would agree 100%. The article also referenced Google amongst other companies today that are setting a new trend because expressions of gratitude are scarce around the workplace. Not at SVN. I am going into my 4th year with SVNIC and some of the biggest reasons I work at here are our people, our leadership, and our culture. Everyone says “thank you” and I see our Managing Directors often thank their employees. It’s a reason to show up every day, it’s a real motivator to give it your all.

The article went on with a few quotes worth mentioning. “A sense of appreciation is the simple, most sustainable motivation at work… the sense that other people appreciate what you do sticks with you.” Be specific about what someone has done and “show honest and sincere appreciation.” I have sat with this quote written on an index card for years. I wrote that “quote” down 20 years ago when I participated in the Dale Carnegie Sales Training Course after reading the book How to Win Friends and Influence People. That book gave me the tools and key principles to practice when interacting with people in business and in life in order to be successful.

Why Would Someone Want to Work at Your Office?

I have a best practice to share – or rather it is more of a call to action for all Managing Directors at SVN and in the CRE industry. Sit down and write on a sheet of paper “Reasons why someone would want to work at your office.” Then hand out a blank sheet and ask your employees to do the same at one of your weekly team meetings. Collect them, they can be anonymous, and then discuss them with your team. Save them and bring them to the next SVN Managing Director Conference or our National Conference in San Diego and share with your peers. You might all learn a new way to show gratitude in your office resulting in employee loyalty and increased sense of appreciation.

I agree that “appreciation is the best motivator.” My work and the value I bring to our team is appreciated and respected at SVNIC. For me, that is the biggest reason I get excited to go to work — thank you everyone at SVN. I know myself and all SVN Advisors are looking to recruit “culturally compatible” CRE professionals who are also looking to work in a fun, positive, motivating and appreciative office environment.

To learn more about the SVN culture, check out our Core Covenants here.


If you’d like to join a winning team, please contact me at Karen.Hurd@svn.com or 781.812.4272 and let’s talk.

International Students Share Their Thoughts on SVN and CRE

SVN & the International Entrepreneurship Center

Our industry has a problem. The average age of a commercial real estate agent is around 60 — which is an issue as Millennials like me are starting to outnumber other generations in the workforce. And with SVN growing internationally, we wanted to know how the brand and industry resonate outside of the U.S. — so we partnered with a group of Brazilian students through Boston College’s International Entrepreneurship Center to find some answers. On Wednesday, July 29th the students presented their ideas on how to make the SVN brand and CRE industry more appealing to Millennials, from an international perspective.

International Insights: 3 Ways to Reach Millennials

  1. It all starts with the website. As tech-obsessed Millennials, the first thing we do when we hear about a company is Google it. So no matter the size of your office, you’d better have a good website. To the Brazilian students, a “good” website is one that is light on text and heavy on visuals. The students also pointed out that they need to identify with the content on the site. Quotes, testimonials, and photos of young Advisors can help solve this issue.
  2. Let’s talk money. A commission-only job sounds risky, and it certainly can be. But the students were comfortable with the idea because starting a company or similar entrepreneurial endeavors are basically commission-only until you have funding.  Due to language barriers and their just learning the business, the Brazilian students were initially confused with the SVN concept of “compensated cooperation.” Once they understood the benefits of splitting commissions it seemed to fit right in with their view of open and transparent business practices in a sharing economy.
  3. Emphasize the benefits of a franchise. Franchises are big in Brazil and can translate well in international markets. To attract Millennials to work for a franchise business, it’s important to highlight the upsides like training, tools, and independence that the franchise model can offer. As the Brazilian students said in their presentation, with a franchise “you’re on your own but you’re not alone.” You’re in charge of your own destiny, but the franchise system has your back.

If you’re ready to take your CRE career to the next level with the SVN franchise system, visit our Careers page here.

[bctt tweet=”To attract Millennials to work for a franchise business, it’s important to highlight the upsides like training, tools, and independence that the franchise model can offer. “]

SVN Supports Project REAP for Minority CRE Professionals

At Sperry Van Ness International Corporation, we believe that diversity should be a priority. That hasn’t always been the case in the commercial real estate industry. As a proud sponsor and supporter of Project REAP, SVNIC aims to empower CRE professionals who are often underrepresented in the business.

Connecting Minority Professionals with the Commercial Real Estate Industry

The Real Estate Associate Program (REAP) is an industry-backed, market-driven initiative that connects talented minority professionals with commercial real estate companies. With only 1% of the nation’s commercial real estate management ranks made up of minority professionals, REAP provides a necessary push for inclusivity in an industry that can benefit from new ideas. Since its 1988 founding, REAP has increased this proportion of minority CRE professionals by 10%, highlighting the value of a previously unacknowledged talent pool.

REAP-DC-2014---Asset-Mgmt-Class_smallREAP’s highly selective recruiting process attracts credentialed, career-changing individuals from a variety of backgrounds, including law, sales, banking, engineering, and more. Applicants must go through a rigorous process of screening, interviewing, and testing in order to be considered for the program.  Each REAP class of 25-30 students benefits from networking opportunities and training sessions run by industry leaders. Several of these contributing CRE leaders are some of our own at SVNIC, including our Vice President of  Organizational Development Solomon Poretsky, Franchise Owner Michael Thanasouras, and Corporate Real Estate & Advisory Services Chair David Wilk.

REAP graduates go on to work at leading CRE firms across the country, largely as a result of the contacts made during the program. In fact, SVN | Gryphon Parker recently announced that they have added REAP graduate Maurice Hillman to their lineup of Advisors. SVN | Chicago Commercial has also hired REAP graduates in the past.

[bctt tweet=”Learn how @ProjectREAP is helping to bring more #diversity to the #CRE industry.”]

SVNIC and Project REAP, A Winning Combination

SVNIC is eager to help further REAP’s mission by granting Project REAP students and alumni complimentary access to several of our industry-leading training events throughout the year. We are awarding up to 2 grants for each of the following events.

  • SVN Broker Boot Camp – Portland, OR: September 29th – October 2nd, 2015
  • SVN Broker Boot Camp – San Diego, CA: December 1st – 4th, 2015
  • SVN National Conference – San Diego, CA: February 24th – 26th, 2016

Visit this page to apply for the grant.

To read more about the benefits of diversity in the commercial real estate industry, download our report here

SVN Women Minorities

SVNIC CEO Testifies for Gender Diversity on Executive Boards

It’s no secret that the nation’s corporate landscape is lacking in gender diversity. Only 11.8% of executive officer positions in the 100 largest public companies in Massachusetts are held by women. With women occupying just under half of the nation’s workforce and earning over half of the nation’s bachelor’s degrees, this 11.8% is a problem — which is why Sperry Van Ness International Corporation President and CEO Kevin Maggiacomo testified at the Massachusetts State House this past Tuesday, July 21st in support of Bill S1007: Resolutions to encourage equitable and diverse gender representation on the boards of companies in the Commonwealth.

Kevin Gender DiversityAs one of several prominent Massachusetts CEOs testifying at this hearing, Maggiacomo used his own experience in the SVNIC leadership ranks to help illustrate his point that gender diversity should be a priority on all executive boards. Following his 2013 realization that SVNIC needed more diversity in its leadership, Maggiacomo restructured his executive team to include more women. This restructuring was an obvious success, changing the company for the better. “We now operate as a think tank for new ideas… we are engaging in healthy debate, and our profitability has increased by more than 100% and we now rank as one of the largest real estate services firms in the United States,” said Maggiacomo during his testimony.

In his SVNIC example, Maggiacomo proved that gender diversity in corporate leadership is more than just a nice thing to do. “There is irrefutable, verifiable evidence that women in greater proportions in companies improves decision-making and shareholder value,” said Maggiacomo. “It’s not just my opinion. Diversity and gender balance are the engines of innovation, and we’re doing everything in our power to ensure that this structure remains in place; and I encourage the passing of the resolution that encourages companies in the Commonwealth to do the same.”

The resolution, which passed favorably following the hearing, states that all Massachusetts companies will be expected to adopt policies and practices designed to increase the gender diversity in their boards of directors and senior management groups, as well as set goals by which to measure their progress.

Maggiacomo was no stranger to this issue prior to his testimony. As the leader of the 50/50 by 2020 campaign, he advocates for gender balance in corporate leadership. This campaign aims to establish a 50/50 mix of men and women within leadership roles by the year 2020.

Gender diversity and equality will not happen overnight. But we are one step closer thanks to Maggiacomo’s efforts and the favorable outcome of Bill S1007.


UPDATE: S1007 has passed the Massachusetts senate and is headed to the house.


To read more about Sperry Van Ness® and diversity, download our report here.

SVN Women Minorities

Game-Changing Trends in Design and Collaboration

Each year, at our Sperry Van Ness® (SVN) National Conference, I talk to our commercial real estate advisors and business owners about game-changing trends. Game-changers occur when people are doing things (working, playing, living) differently than they used to just a few years ago. This year, we have four categories: Communication, Design, Collaboration and Distribution.

Trends in Design and Collaboration

The following video features the second portion of my 2015 talk on trends. Watch the video and read the takeaways below.

Main Takeaways in Design Trends:

1. Mobile first, mobile only. Tech engineers are no longer adapting desktop software for tablets and smartphones. Instead they are designing straight to mobile.

2. Different devices require different design elements. Desktop software can accommodate a longer attention span than something designed for a tablet, phone or watch.

3. Cybersecurity will be a key element and consideration of every new design.

4. The mass adoption of mobile technology has opened the door for innovators to bypass existing infrastructure. Uber, Airbnb, Bitcoin and Apple Pay are examples of innovative businesses that circumvented traditional infrastructure.

Mobile technology has massively altered design. Engineers are designing for shorter and shorter attention spans and developing systems that don’t rely on existing infrastructure. In underdeveloped countries, the combination of mobile adoption and lack of existing infrastructure, i.e. phone lines and banking systems, has sped up mass adoption of new business models. In developed countries, however, we are seeing slower adoption of alternative currencies (Bitcoin, Apple Pay) and lawsuits levied against new business models (Uber, Airbnb). The key for new technology to achieve mass adoption and acceptance is: access, affordability and accountability. As discussed in the video, the aforementioned Bitcoin, Apple Pay, Uber, and Airbnb are caught in the accountability stage for now.

The expansion of technology also comes with new risks. As we move towards the Internet of Things where our watches communicate with our thermostats (see Nest) as well as our banks, security will continue to become a bigger and bigger issue. New technologies will therefore be required to incorporate security protocols into all design elements.

Main Takeaways in Collaboration Trends:

1. One form of collaboration is crowdsourcing. In the commercial real estate industry we are seeing the crowdsourcing of investment funds (Fundrise, Realty Mogul) and in the case of Comstak, the crowdsourcing of lease data.

2. At SVN, we have been leaders in collaboration and here are two examples:

a. Crowdsourcing of knowledge. Our service and product councils bring together experts around specific asset classes and services, who partner on transactions and share knowledge both online, on calls and in person at our national conferences.

b. Crowdsourcing of demand. The SVN National Sales Call, where our advisors feature new properties they are marketing, is revolutionary in allowing participation by outside brokers, clients and potential clients. This is due to our founding principle that no one advisor, local firm or national company knows all the potential buyers for a property. Only when you drive up demand by exposure to the entire marketplace does a client achieve the best value for their property.

At Sperry Van Ness International Corporation, we are watching these trends to see how they affect the commercial real estate industry. Our goal is to capitalize on these trends so that our advisors are using the most powerful tools to the benefit of their clients.

To view the full speech please visit our YouTube page.

The 2015 Managing Director Conference: Top 3 Reasons to Register

2015 Managing Director Conference in Dallas, TX

The Sperry Van Ness® Managing Director Conference only happens once a year, so now is the time to register. At MDC 2015, Managing Directors will have the opportunity to experience the latest SVN tools and systems and learn from renowned commercial real estate speakers. By collaborating on projects and seminars, Managing Directors will make lasting business connections that are critical components of running a successful brokerage.

Top 3 Reasons to Attend the 2015 Managing Director Conference

1. Networking. Emails and phone calls can only go so far. In an industry built on interpersonal connections, face-to-face conversations can go a long way. Do you think a Managing Director would be more likely to collaborate on a deal with someone who reached out via email or someone she bonded with over coffee and bagels? With breakfast, lunch, and a surprise dinner experience included in registration, MDC 2015 offers countless opportunities to connect with your peers in the industry.

2. Experience. Like networking, relevant experience is gained through real-life situations. Everyone who attends this conference is experienced in his or her own way, since they are owners of brokerage businesses. This is a chance to compile all of this collective experience in one place and learn from it. Two days of training and networking is all it takes to gain valuable experience and connections.

3. Learning. With a full roster of engaging speakers coupled with multiple seminars and training sessions, participants can learn a lot from attending MDC 2015. By sharing best practices with other Managing Directors, participants are also able to learn from their counterparts in offices across the country. Need help managing those pesky Millennials? Not sure how to leverage SVN tools? Having trouble building your brand? MDC 2015 has you covered.

Register for the 2015 Managing Director Conference now by clicking here.

2015 Managing Director Conference

Broker Boot Camp | 4 Traits of a CRE Brokerage Superstar

Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Brokerage Superstar?

Having attended the Sperry Van Ness® Broker Boot Camp in Chicago three weeks ago, I now know a little bit about what it takes to “make it” in the commercial real estate brokerage business. Full disclosure: I’m a marketing intern, so my experience as a broker is non-existent. However, since I had the opportunity to sit in on the first day of the Boot Camp, led by industry veteran John McDermott, I now have a pretty good idea of some of the qualities that differentiate a brokerage “superstar” from the rest.

To be clear, even being just a “good” broker isn’t as easy as you may think. (See my first Boot Camp blog post for some elaboration). To be a “superstar” in any field you need to set measurable goals, as my second Boot Camp blog post discussed. But for commercial real estate brokerage in particular, you must possess 4 specific traits to become a top performer.

The Intern’s Take on the 4 Traits of a Brokerage Superstar

1. You must be tenacious. As a broker, there are few times when it’s acceptable to simply take “no” for an answer. Brokerage superstars are relentless — when appropriate, they prod further with clients who seem to be shutting them down. Instead of calling it a day, a brokerage superstar asks questions when she is slammed with a “no.” For example, rather than ending the conversation when a potential client says he has no interest in giving you an exclusive listing, ask what his reservations are and listen to his response.

2. You must be a self-starter. As I already mentioned, brokerage isn’t easy. Perhaps the hardest part of commercial real estate brokerage is starting out as a brand-new broker. A budding brokerage superstar will jump on the opportunity as soon as she is hired by a brokerage firm by immediately starting to build her database, accumulate contacts, and practice key skills. This brokerage superstar doesn’t wait to receive help or direction. Instead, she takes initiative by doing everything in her power to succeed from the Day 1.

3. You must be self-motivated. From what I understand, brokerage can be a lonely business at times, because it is ultimately up to you as a broker to close your deals and earn paychecks. While it seems scary (in my opinion) to be relying only on commission for your income, a brokerage superstar sees this as an advantage. A brokerage superstar is fearless and confident in her own abilities to bring home the bacon, and doesn’t need outside motivation to stay fired up.

4. You must be able to make connections with the right people. This doesn’t mean you can just say “oh, I’m a social butterfly!” and spend your week chatting with your friends. A brokerage superstar doesn’t just work the room — she works the room with a purpose. She goes out of her way to introduce herself to industry leaders and research the local movers and shakers. Following any meeting or casual encounter, a brokerage superstar takes notes and catalogues this experience for future reference. As a broker, your business is built on knowing the right people, so you must be professional, likeable, and strategic in order to make worthwhile connections.

If you think you have what it takes to be a brokerage superstar, visit our Careers page by clicking here

To learn more about the SVN Broker Boot Camp, click here