Boston, MA (January 10, 2018) – SVN® International Corp. (SVN) has been recognized by CREW Network, the commercial real estate industry’s premier business networking organization dedicated to advancing the achievements of women in the industry globally, for the company’s efforts to improve gender equity and workforce diversity and inclusion. In a newly released whitepaper examining the commercial real estate industry’s efforts in Canada, the U.K. and U.S., SVN is among the top 10 organizations recognized for making overall diversity – defined by CREW’s research as the inclusion of different people based on race, ethnicity and sexual orientation – a business priority.


“SVN is pleased to be recognized by CREW Network for our efforts in bringing diversity and gender equity into the work place. Our organization prides itself on the SVN Difference, which is centered on collaboration and establishing a shared network to ensure all professionals are set up for success regardless of race, gender and ethnicity,” said Kevin Maggiacomo, President & CEO of SVN International Corp. “As the SVN brand continues to grow both nationally and internationally, we continue to build our brand with leaders and team members who share our vision and philosophy of a collaborative, open and inclusive approach to commercial real estate.”


SVN identified that in order to thrive in the future, it had to more closely reflect the population and embrace diversity across gender, race, ethnicity and age. The SVN organization has adjusted their hiring strategy to recruit and develop leaders from 100 percent of the population. Diversity and inclusion are now ingrained into SVN’s culture and are now a filter in every decision the company makes.


The CREW Network’s whitepaper examines outstanding gender-inclusive CRE companies that focus on the advancement of women employees, top executives and board members, as well as notable employee programs, networking and interest groups, mentoring and sponsorship programs and flexible work arrangements.


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.  For more information, visit www.svn.com.

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3 Tips for Delivering the Perfect Elevator Pitch

Karen Hurd on Refining Your Elevator Pitch

Do you have your elevator pitch down? Do you have more than one elevator pitch down? As a commercial real estate professional, it’s important to always be ready to throw a pitch at a second’s notice. I know I always have mine armed, and furthermore I am constantly refreshing it to suit my audience.

Recently I was asked again to speak at a CREW Boston Speed Networking Event, an evening held downtown to kick off the CREW Mentor/Mentee program. I addressed the group about the very foundation of successful networking: the elevator pitch.

3 Tips For the Perfect Elevator Pitch

Since the elevator pitch gets your foot in the door to build relationships, I see it as step one. Your elevator pitch should be a succinct and persuasive sales pitch. It is an opportunity to capture the listener’s attention in 30 seconds to promote your personal, and company, brand.

This isn’t a lot of time, so you need to be succinct! The three parts of a successful elevator pitch always include:

1. Say Who You Are.

Do this is 10 words or less. Unless you are the Dali Lama or Donald Trump, it shouldn’t be that hard to condense your main intro to your name, your position and who you work for.

2. Say what your Company’s Product or Service Is. 

After you introduce yourself, introduce your service offerings. Instead of focusing on your skills, your elevator pitch needs to describe your company and the people you serve.

3. Provide a Compelling Reason to Hear More.

Get your listener excited about what you do, so they want to hear more. Be prepared to differentiate yourself from the competition. Look at the news, adapt to what is relevant and important to your customer. Revamp and refine and always end your pitch with a question.

3 Biggest Elevator Pitch Mistakes

  1. Describing skills rather than purpose
  2. Failing to tell an interesting story
  3. Not being prepared or rehearsed

Is your introduction ready to roll?

Make sure to practice!! Practice until you can introduce yourself and your business in less than 30 seconds, which is about how long most prospects will give you to grab their attention.

As you are out in the market every day meeting new prospects and relationship building, keep in mind:

  1. First impressions make a difference…be prepared! Handshake, smile.
  2. Make the focus on the person across from you, not yourself. Listen.
  3. You won’t connect with everyone, know when to bow out.
  4. Be prepared for your next meeting. Do your research.

I’d like to hear yours or help you refine your pitch. Contact me today if I can be of any help as you network your way to success!

Sperry Van Ness® CREW Network Spotlight

Sperry Van Ness International Corp. is a proud supporter of CREW Network, the premiere network for women in commercial real estate.  In an earlier blog post we included a great group photo of all the CREW members at our 2014 SVN national conference, where some of these high-achieving CREW Members were also SVN award recipients.  Below is more information about the various CREW Network members in our organization. They are CREW Past Presidents, CREW Committee Members, innovators, leaders, collaborators and known in their markets for their achievements and contributions.

If you are interested in finding out about CREW Network or about Sperry Van Ness franchise opportunities, please contact Karen.hurd@SVN.com.

Catherine House, CCIM
Catherine House, CCIM

Catherine House, CCIM     
Sperry Van Ness / SV Advisors (San Francisco, CA)

  • Catherine is the Sperry Van Ness® National Co-Chair for the Medical Office Product Council.
  • In 2010, San Francisco Business Times named her one of the “Most Influential Women in Business in the Bay Area.” She is a past CREW SF President.
  • At Sperry Van Ness she is one of the top-producing brokers, ranked in the top 10% of over 1,000 brokers nationally in 2013.


Karlin Conklin
Managing Director
Sperry Van Ness / Bluestone & Hockley (Portland, OR)

  • Karlin is a managing Principal Broker in Oregon and Washington. She oversees their office’s brokerage activities and is responsible for its marketing, recruiting, and training efforts.
  • Prior to joining Sperry Van Ness/Bluestone & Hockley, Karlin raised $234 million in acquisition equity and directed a team that closed 5,800 multifamily units.
  • On the brokerage side, Karlin led the company’s multi-state brokerage efforts, which included commercial real estate, REO, and note sales.


Mary Ridberg
Director of Leasing
Sperry Van Ness, LLC (Phoenix, AZ)

    • Mary has experience in retail tenant representation, trade area feasibility, brand development, public relations, media relations, and marketing consulting.
    • She has organized a Retail Networking Group with members from the most active retail brokerage teams in the Phoenix market.
    • Mary serves in the business mentorship program at A.S.U. and is a host at the college of business events.


Judy Jones
Judy Jones

Judy Jones
Senior Advisor
Sperry Van Ness, LLC (Phoenix, AZ)

      • Judy specializes in the sale of retail land, freestanding buildings and shopping centers in the Phoenix Metropolitan area of Maricopa County, Arizona.
      • She has been active in commercial/investment real estate for more than 20 years as an investor and broker.
      • Judy has completed more than 400 transactions totally in excess of one billion dollars.


Maria Agon McCarthy, CCIM
Senior Advisor
Sperry Van Ness / South Commercial Real Estate Advisors (Miami, FL)

      • Maria brings over 18 years of experience in commercial real estate brokerage and corporate real estate, with extensive knowledge of both leasing and sales.
      • Prior to joining SVN South, she worked as the Senior Vice President for Citigroup where she managed a portfolio of 215 office and retail buildings, representing 4.6 million square feet throughout the US and Caribbean.
      • Mary has been recognized as a “Top Broker” and received numerous awards for revenue production.


Shari A. Tucker-Gasser
Shari Tucker-Gasser

Shari Tucker-Gasser
Sperry Van Ness, LLC (Phoenix, AZ)

      • Shari A. Tucker-Gasser is the National Council Chair of Multi-Tenant Retail for Sperry Van Ness International and  Real Estate Forum named Shari ‘Women of Influence’ among top ‘Women of Influence’ in the commercial real estate industry for 2013.
      • Shari specializes in the acquisitions, disposition and leasing of multi-tenant retail properties throughout the Phoenix Metro, Arizona market.
      • With over fifteen years of commercial real estate experience, Shari has completed well over $2 billion dollars in retail sales transactions.


Diana Peterson

Diana Peterson
Sperry Van Ness / AuctionWorks (Chicago, IL)

      • Diana has more than 19 years of experience in law, real estate brokerage and auctions.
      • Recognized by the Chicago Association of Realtors as one of the top 5 producing realtors, having closed more than $130 million in residential sales and negotiated more than 500,000 square feet of commercial lease and sale transactions.
      • Known for her exceptional negotiation and legal skills, honed during years of practice as an attorney, Diana will be leading the Chicago AuctionWorks team.


Debby Skeans
Deborah Skeans

Deborah Skeans
CCIM, MAI, Senior Advisor/Co-Owner
Sperry Van Ness / Imperial Realty (Allentown, PA / Lehigh Valley)

      • Debby specializes in the sale of land and commercial property valued at over $350+ million and helps clients build value, strong CRE portfolios.
      • Licensed to sell at 19 and as a broker at 22, she has nearly 40 years working and investing in new construction, commercial appraisal, sales and consulting.
      • Career highlights: 470 acres of prime interchange land sold to St. Luke’s Hospital for $38.6 million in two transactions over the past five years; personally responsible for the disposition of 3,000+ acres (over 50 parcels) to various buyers for a wide variety of users; consultation regarding disposition of a key New York City property for redevelopment (transaction closed for over $200 million).


Laurie Ramirez
Laurie Ramirez

Laurie Ramirez
Sperry Van Ness Chicago Commercial (Chicago, IL)

      • Laurie has 5 experience years in the CRE industry and specializes in the sales and leasing and tenant representation  of retail property in the Chicago Market
      • She is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, Women’s Council of Realtors (WCR), Commercial Real Estate Executive Women (CREW) and the Chicago Association of Realtors.
      • Laurie is a relationship-focused CRE professional focused on creating value for her clients.  She is also involved in the committees, Commercial Forum and the Chicago Association of Realtors Government Affairs Committee.


Krista Berger
Krista Berger

Krista Berger
Senior Advisor
Sperry Van Ness / Finest City Commercial (San Diego, CA)

      • Krista has 6 years of CRE industry experience and has listed and sold properties valuing in excess of $20 million.
      • She specializes in the sale of commercial properties, including in multifamily, mobile home parks and land development.
      • In the past few years, Krista has been an integral part of the special assets team. With multiple financial institutions throughout the nation, she facilitated the site assessments and analysis of properties with most resulting in the list and sale of the asset.


Rita Meehan
Rita Meehan

Rita Meehan
Sperry Van Ness / SV Advisors (San Francisco, CA)

      • Rita has 17+ years of experience in the commercial real estate industry, specializing in the sale of investment properties throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
      • She has closed more than $1.7 billion in commercial real estate assets comprised of over 6 million square feet of property.
      • Rita was recognized as a Top Individual Broker in 2008 and listed as a CoStar Power Broker in 2007 & 2008.


Barbara Brown
Senior Advisor
Sperry Van Ness / Commercial Real Estate Advisors (Charlotte, NC)

      • Barbara has been active in commercial real estate since 1986, with extensive knowledge and expertise in office/medical sales, leasing, retail and warehouse.
      • She was a founding member of the Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW).
      • Received the Commercial Board’s “Multi-Million Dollar Club” award for 10 consecutive years and in 1999, she was the recipient of its President’s Award.


Karen Hurd
Karen Hurd

Karen Hurd
Vice President, National Franchise Sales & Development
Sperry Van Ness International Corporation (Irvine, CA and Boston, MA)

      • Karen has over 18 years of experience in commercial real estate and financial services, and has been actively involved in sales transactions (across all asset classes) totaling in excess of $550 million.
      • She specializes in Section 1031 Tax Deferred Exchanges for Institutional, Corporate and Private Capital Markets and Real Estate limited partnerships and syndications.
      • Deal Connector and Networking Guru who identifies new business opportunities for the Sperry Van Ness® organization, and contributes to brand development and growth nationally playing key role in managing the continued expansion of franchise ownership.


Diane Danielson
Diane Danielson

Diane Danielson
Chief Operating Officer
Sperry Van Ness International Corporation (Irvine, CA and Boston, MA)

      • Diane serves is Chief Operating Officer at SVN and oversees all operations of SVNIC.  Diane is responsible for overall planning and executing strategic growth initiatives for franchise development and the rollout of technological platforms to optimize SVN services globally.
      • She is a former attorney, accomplished speaker, published author, and widely recognized online marketing expert.  She launched the first Social Network for businesswomen in the US in 2006.
      • In 2013, Diane was named to the 40 over 40 Women to Watch list published in Forbes.com.


*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.

Top CREW #CRE Professionals Meet up at the Sperry Van Ness® National Conference

Diane Danielson, COO with fellow Sperry Van Ness CREW members

A little over one week ago, I was attending SVN’s National Conference which was held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on San Antonio’s picturesque River Walk in Texas. Hundreds of SVN Advisors, staff and commercial real estate professionals from over 180 markets across the country came together for two jammed-packed days to learn how to “Win.EveryDay.” (our 2014 conference theme) in their business!

The hotel was abuzz, conference rooms packed, and breakout sessions were in full discussion with numerous deal-making and networking opportunities. We learned about everything you need to know from the top 60 must-have mobile apps, online auctions, how to be properly fitted for a business suit, to how to increase efficiencies to achieve growth and run a more productive business model.

One of many conference highlights was our own SVN parody video of the movie Moneyball, which hit a home run with our all our staff and Advisors. We outlined how we are taking a sophisticated Sabermetric approach and applying the concept of baseball metrics to the CRE business to build a competitive team to “Win. Every Day.” We even had Glenn Morshower, an actor who appeared in the film, reinforce the “Win. Every Day” message in his motivational talk. I am also proud to say we held one of the highest-achieving, Trailblazer Awards Ceremonies in Sperry Van Ness® history that celebrated SVN Advisor victories in 2013!

NC-CrewAmong the crowd of CRE professionals that gathered together, about ten CREW Network members seized the opportunity to talk about CREW, its value and mission. We also spent time together to discuss this year’s 2014 CREW Convention which will be held in Miami this October where SVN will host a booth. SVN/CREW Miami here we come!

SVN is looking for more CREW members. Are you interested? Do you know any fellow SVN Advisors who would be interested? Please contact me!

Authored by Karen Hurd, Vice President, Franchise Development. For more information about CREW Network or about Sperry Van Ness® franchise opportunities, email Karen.Hurd@svn.com.

*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.

Effective Business Networking: Collaboration at the Core by Karen Hurd

We talk a lot about collaboration at Sperry Van Ness®.  I believe effective business networking comes down to putting the interests of others first to build relationships. If you can find the time to help others, new business will often find you.

The organization Commercial Real Estate Women – widely known as CREW – has helped me expand my business network through the years. So when I was recently asked to speak on effective business networking at a CREW event in Memphis, Tenn., my immediate answer was yes to the panel — and yes to the fantastic barbecue down South.

Karen Hurd is sales director for franchise development for Sperry Van Ness International Corp.
Karen Hurd is the Sales Director for Franchise Development for Sperry Van Ness International Corp.

Here are just a few of the thoughts I shared as a member of that panel discussion:

Take an interest in other people

I like to keep index cards on my desk with some of my favorite points from the Dale Carnegie book How to Win Friends and Influence People. Carnegie reminds us of “Six Ways to Make People Like Us:”

  • Become genuinely interested in other people.
  • Smile!
  • Remember a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  • Be a good listener.  Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  • Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
  • Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

Take your networking to the next level (obtain the deal/business/contract)   

Beyond that first handshake, it takes hard work to continue building a business relationship. In our ever-changing tech world, take the time to send a handwritten thank you, drop a note, make a call, or forward an article of interest. You need to establish rapport and credibility so your referral source is thinking of you should an opportunity arise.  Prospecting takes time and I do it daily.

I understand we all get busy and take the path of least resistance.  Reach out and you’ll be amazed at what can happen.

How and when do you ask for business? 

Follow leads – and your gut.

Most of the time business and referrals will come to you because you’ve spent years building strong relationships. But you have to start somewhere.  It’s OK to reach out and ask someone if they may be able to help you.  Tell them you thought they may be a good resource.  Find out what they value and learn more about their needs.  Take an active interest in them. Other things to keep in mind:

  • How can you help the person sitting across from you?  I always ask this question.
  • Be genuine – all they can say is no.
  •  If they say no, ask them why. Ask them if they have existing relationships. Ask them gently for feedback or suggestions as you are trying to find ways to reach out and grow your business.  Ask how you can help them going forward.
  • Remember not to take it personally if they say no.  Sometimes we tend to beat ourselves up when rejected. Realize we are not meant to do business with everyone.  Move on.

Create a 30-60-90 day plan

Create a plan and work the plan!  When you’re done, compare it to your strategic business plan and look carefully at how you’ll overcome obstacles. Ask yourself what is holding you back.  Make a list of your accomplishments and know your value proposition.   Be prepared to answer why you should be considered for the business. Know the why and believe in yourself as you might just get asked.

Happy Networking!

– Karen Hurd


*All Sperry Van Ness® offices are independently owned and operated.