RISMedia’s Real Estate Newsmakers: Meet the Futurists

Posted on Jun 21 2019 - 2:31pm by Jameson Doris

In December, RISMedia honored more than 230 real estate professionals as RISMedia's 2019 Real Estate Newsmakers. Each of these individuals—separated into eight categories—was either nominated by you, the RISMedia reader, or chosen by the publication’s editors.

These folks made newsworthy contributions within their own communities and/or the housing industry as a whole. Here, we highlight several honorees who were chosen as Newsmakers in the Futurists category:

38_headshot_landVanessa Bergmark, CEO/Owner at Red Oak Realty

Joining the San Francisco Bay Area's Red Oak Realty in 2007, CEO and Owner Vanessa Bergmark has led the firm from 12th in marketshare to "hugging second" with a formula that focuses on providing agents with the right support to serve in a consultative capacity to the region's discerning real estate consumers.

"It's a honor to be considered for the RISMedia Newsmaker award among so many incredible professionals in an industry I am deeply proud to be a part of," said Bergmark.

59_headshot_landSimon Chen, President & CEO at ERA Real Estate

Stepping into the role of president and CEO of ERA Franchise Systems LLC in March 2018, Simon Chen challenged his staff and the entire ERA network to get back to the entrepreneurial roots that made them great as Electronic Realty Associates (ERA's original name).

"At ERA, we don't adapt to change; we create it. We believe that our core business values of collaboration, innovation, diversity and growth are needed now more than ever," said Chen.

253_headshot_landWhitney Finn-LaCosta, Executive Vice President at Coach REALTORS®

Siblings LP Finn and Whitney Finn-LaCosta of Coach REALTORS® have decades of experience and an eye for next-gen culture that drives a workforce adapting to the next wave of innovation. That's why they held a week-long outing in 2018 for their agents titled the "Best Week Ever," which included keynote speakers and team-building activities.

"The biggest accomplishment is in growing a company in which you have been able to maintain a culture of business partnership with your agents—the culture in which we share a common goal of success, profit, community involvement and support for one another," said Finn-LaCosta.

133_headshot_landMichael Lam, CFO and Co-Founder at Opcity Inc.

Michael Lam and fellow RISMedia Newsmaker Ben Rubenstein co-founded Opcity in December 2015. In his work as CFO and head of Analytics, Lam provides financial, strategic and operational leadership.

"It takes the same amount of effort to address a big opportunity as it does a small opportunity," said Lam.

167_headshot_landChristina Pappas, District Manager at The Keyes Company

Christina Pappas is the district manager for The Keyes Company in Miami, Fla. A third-generation real estate agent, industry advocate and leader, Pappas began her real estate career in 2011 and soon rose to a top-producing sales associate before eventually moving on to management.

"We are living in the age of the shiny new penny," said Pappas while moderating a recent RISMedia Power Broker Roundtable. "Daily, brokers and agents hear from peers—via email, via social media—that 'this new software will boost production,' that a game-changing app is 'at your fingertips,' that 'yet another discount broker is setting up shop in your area," said Pappas.


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