In January, RISMedia named some 300 real estate professionals as 2020 Real Estate Newsmakers. Each of these individuals—separated into eight categories—was either nominated by you, the RISMedia reader, or chosen by our editors.
These people made great contributions within their own communities and the industry as a whole. They've dedicated their lives to a better real estate process. Here, we highlight five honorees who were chosen as Newsmakers in the Trailblazers category:
In 2019, Simon Chen was promoted from CEO of ERA Real Estate to take on an even larger role at parent company Realogy Franchise Group as executive vice president of product and innovation. In the newly created position, Chen works to support all Realogy brands and is tasked with bringing together digital products, strategic alliances, learning and recruiting efforts as part of the company's growth strategy.
"Great technology and innovative products are not disruptors; they are enablers that maximize the agent-client relationship," says Chen.
When Leon d'Ancona realized that only half a percent of agents and brokers used statistics to guide their decisions, he created REality to change that. REality is recognized as one of North America's leading authorities on statistical real estate intelligence, using statistical analysis to help listing and selling professionals understand market trends.
"The notion that 90 percent of sales are done by the top 10 percent is a total fallacy," says d'Ancona. "Almost 33 percent of sales are done by people who did three or fewer transactions."
As chair of the National Association of REALTORS® 2019 Consumer Communications Committee, Tiffanie Mai-Ganske was integral to the creation of the widely successful "That's Who We R" consumer campaign. She and her team worked with NAR staff to demonstrate the values of a REALTOR® to consumers and distinguish them from other agents.
"I have received countless blessings from being a part of this incredible profession," she says.
Aleksandra Scepanovic and Erik Serras co-founded Ideal Properties Group in 2007. Scepanovic serves as managing director, and Serras serves as principal broker. They have built the firm to a team of over 250 real estate brokers and salespeople serving the five boroughs of NYC.
"After spending time in New York City and falling head-over-heels in love with its architectural beauty, I decided to take a jump into the world of real estate, a near-perfect theater for me to often use my design and individualized leadership skills," says Scepanovic.
Thad Wong is co-founder and co-CEO of @properties, the Chicago area's and Illinois' largest residential brokerage firm and among the top 12 nationwide. In addition, Wong is a partner in Proper Title, Illinois' second-largest independent title insurance brokerage, and a venture capital investor in several real estate technology companies.
"One motto we have always lived by is, 'If you're not growing, you're dying,'" says Wong. "@properties continues to grow, and not just by our geographic footprint or number of agent licenses."