SVN’s Diane Danielson Featured in REI INK Magazine

SVN International Corp. COO, Diane Danielson, is featured in the August 2019, Women in Real Estate issue of REI INK magazine. The article, A Calling to Grow, written by Carole VanSickle Ellis, highlights Diane’s tireless advocacy not only for women, but also for diversity and inclusion within the commercial real estate industry.

“At SVN … we do not set out to recruit any one demographic group, but we do set out to recruit candidates who might otherwise have been overlooked,” Danielson said. “We bring the focus in on skills, which removes a lot of the biases anyone in the system or in our offices might have.”


Diane is featured along with eight other women who are making a difference within the real estate industry through their involvement in sectors such as real estate investing, private lending, and mortgage services.

Read the full article HERE.

CLICK HERE to check out the entire August issue of REI INK.

Editors Note:

According to SVN’s 2019 Diversity & Inclusion report, authored by Diane Danielson, the focus on skills and attitude raises the bar for all candidates in all populations in the process. The result: The entire playing field is both level and higher without sacrificing the highest ground or the most qualified candidates.

For more information and to read/download the full report, CLICK HERE.



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.



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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Diane Danielson Talks with Michael Beckerman About Making CRE Cool Again and Diversity In the Workplace

Diane Danielson

Diane Danielson, Chief Operating Officer of SVN International Corp., recently sat down with Michael Beckerman, CEO of The News Funnel and commercial real estate expert, for what Beckerman calls “one of the most important interviews i have done in the real estate sector.”

During their Q&A, they discussed topics about making commercial real estate cool again, the role technology will play in the sector, and SVN’s diversity recruitment efforts. To read excerpts from their conversation featured on Beckerman’s blog, click here.

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”]

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.

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.””]

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