RISMedia’s 2023 Real Estate Newsmakers: Meet the Achievers

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In February, RISMedia named more than 300 real estate professionals as 2023 Real Estate Newsmakers. Each of these individuals—separated into six categories—was either nominated by you, the RISMedia reader, or chosen by our editors.

RISMedia Newsmakers also made newsworthy contributions within their own communities or the industry as a whole and have dedicated their lives to improving the real estate process. Here, we highlight eight of the many honorees who were chosen as Newsmakers in the Achievers category:

Jaclyn Bild, Broker Associate, Douglas Elliman

Jaclyn Bild was born to achieve success in the world of Miami real estate–coming from a family of real estate and property management services in the area. Her persistence and dedication in the field has garnered her a spot on the 2022 Tom Ferry America’s Best Real Estate Professionals list. She is also an esteemed member of Douglas Elliman’s Diamond Circle, reserved for the top 3% of agents nationwide 2022 Pinnacle Award, the highest achievement possible at the brokerage.

“Buying a home is a major milestone and helping my clients and their families through the journey is incredibly fulfilling,” says Bild. “The personal aspects and the friends I make along the way are just an added perk.”

This past year, she earned her spot on the Master Brokers Forum for agents who have sold $5M+ in five consecutive years and was named the only female realtor on Brickell Magazine’s 2022 20 under 40 list.

Chao Cheng-Shorland, CEO, ShelterZoom

Chao Cheng-Shorland’s neoteric tech gaze has amassed global praise, especially within the real estate industry. As the co-founder and CEO of ShelterZoom Corp., which specializes in blockchain-based SaaS software that underpins the daily operations of businesses around the world, Cheng-Shorland has made it easier for agents to gain greater control over their digital privacy and security, as well as market themselves to selective VIP clients. In 2022, ShelterZoom launched Document GPS, whose innovation has already been highlighted by Gartner and was included in two separate research publications as the first Web3 email solution for enterprise customers.

“To be at the frontlines of technology during this time has been exhilarating,” says Cheng-Shorland. “So many innovations are coming online that it truly feels like we have entered a new era of digital growth. Until now many business solutions have been silo’ed, requiring users to juggle multiple apps to accomplish one goal. We’re moving towards a world where more things are integrated and the creativity behind these projects is astounding.”

Lauralee Ensign, CEO, Century 21 Epic

If one thing rings true, it’s that Lauralee Ensign sees things through. Ensign franchised Century 21 M&M in Northern California in 1997. The company quickly grew into 32 branches and has since achieved the highest honor of being in the top 10 Century 21 franchisees in the world consecutively. With the massive merger and brand name change in 2021 to Century 21 EPIC, Ensign has been instrumental in the company’s growth mission this year–adding approximately 30% growth to its team by keeping focused on merger and acquisition opportunities, organic growth and recruiting. Her company also recently announced the opening of a new office in Petaluma.

“We keep our agents happy and our staff growing by breaking through barriers.” says Ensign. “Having a vision of helping our communities and the agents running with the vision, by putting in place a plan to serve our communities–these are the things that truly are the most rewarding.”

Chris Dietz, President, Global Operations, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World

As the newly promoted president of Global Operations for Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, Chris Dietz has been integral to the network’s global growth. In 2022, Dietz successfully hosted the network’s first post-pandemic APAC Forum in Phuket, Thailand. He also led the planning and execution of the 2022 Global Symposium in Cascais, Portugal, which had record attendance with representatives from 30 countries.

“The most rewarding part of my career is serving the best brokerages in the world, seeing them grow their local businesses and meeting the most inspiring real estate professionals around the globe,” says Dietz. “I enjoy the intercultural interaction with our members from so many different countries and learning about their business practices and what makes them leaders in their local markets.”

Dietz’s focus on bringing members together and fostering connections is vital to driving member engagement and shared business opportunities.

Frank Major, Chief Technology Officer, Bright MLS

A seasoned Information Technology expert, Frank Major brought his knowledge to real estate, especially in his current role at Bright MLS. During 2022, he led the launch of the programs Teams and Teams Pro, which allow team leaders to establish their brands in the MLS, and VideoSync, which allows agents to directly upload images of their choosing.

“Driving simplicity into an agent’s tools is rewarding for me, both professionally and personally,” says Major. “Seeing a new tool move from an engineer’s vision to reality is also consistently rewarding. I enjoy taking into account the diversity of thought, background, industry and geography of everyone who participates in the real estate ecosystem.”

Bright MLS is one the largest multiple listing services in the USA, with over 95,000 real estate professionals as members. Major’s innovations will reach all those members.

Cory Vasquez, Chief Marketing Officer, Realty ONE Group

Since 2018, Cory Vasquez has propelled Realty ONE Group’s marketing arm into the now global stratosphere—bringing her 23 years experience in public relations and media relations to the forefront of the company’s growth mission.

“I am so privileged to work for an organization that, with passion and sincerity, puts people first,” says Vasquez. “From our CEO and Founder, Kuba Jewgieniew, through to every corner of this network, people love this brand, what it stands for and what we hope to do in transforming our industry.”

In 2022, Vasquez was named to the University of California Irvine Continuing Education Advisory Board. With her undeniable leadership qualities, Vasquez has been instrumental in growing the company’s offices from around 70 when she started, to over 400 offices and 10 master franchises internationally.

Mantill Williams, Vice President of Public Relations and Communications Strategy, National Association of REALTORS®

Mantill Williams oversees all PR and communication professionals who work in the areas of executive communications, consumer/economic media outreach, and advocacy communications at the National Association of REALTORS®. Under his leadership, his team has seen significant growth and success, increasing audience reach 45%. His speech team was named a winner of the 2022 Cicero Speechwriting Awards, recognizing the nation’s top speechwriters and speakers.

“The most rewarding aspect of my career is the opportunity to work alongside the dozens of remarkable people who occupy each team and department at NAR. My colleagues are tremendous servant leaders who are focused on uplifting the industry and the members they work to serve every day,” said Williams. “I also have the privilege of learning from and working alongside respected, transformational leaders. I am grateful to have a job which allows me to support REALTORS® as they work to help their clients achieve the American dream of homeownership.”

Erin Yabroudy, REALTOR®, Harry Norman REALTORS®

Erin Yabroudy has been in real estate since 2005 but she doesn’t use her long track record as an excuse not to reach new heights. During 2022, she led Harry Norman, REALTORS®’ No. 1 Large Team Companywide in sales volume, with over $60 million in sales volume during the year. For her efforts in 2022, Modern Luxury named her “The Female REALTOR® to Know” as part of their Best of the City Awards and a ‘Women of Power and Influence’ for her lifetime achievements.

What Erin values above all else, and what has been the main driver to her success, is her family. She lives by example and, like all parents, hopes that the importance she places on hard work and relationship building will inspire and equip her four children with the tools they need to reach a level of fulfillment that surpasses her own.

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