BP: How did you prepare your company to take a lead role in developing this segment of the market?
EK: Initially, by working cooperatively with the AREAA and other groups dedicated to serving the needs of specific clientele—and by developing strategies at the local and international levels to reach out and communicate with these groups. Recently, we brought on board a full-time Director of Diversity, Ellen Osmundson, whose responsibility is to penetrate these markets, connect our agents with clients in mainland China, and develop new ways to drive business from that part of the world.
BP: Tell us a bit about your career path in real estate and your drive to ensure your company and your agents stay ahead of the curve.
EK: I began as a part-time agent right here at Mason-McDuffie in 1984. The company was known for its pioneering spirit, and when I bought the company in 1991, there were 565 agents closing less than $1 billion in sales. The industry was in the midst of the last great downturn and high tech was coming into its own—the challenge for me was to look ahead and make the decisions we would all have to live by later.
BP: How are your sales associates meeting consumer needs in these dramatically changing times?
EK: By remaining the undisputed expert in every region they serve…by tuning in to every client and exceeding expectations…and by making the best, most innovative use of constantly changing technologies.
BP: What are your plans for continuing to grow the company?
EK: Mergers and acquisitions have been central to our growth strategy, and that will continue to be the case as we move forward with our diversity efforts and expansion into emerging markets. I have always believed that great leaders develop great leaders, and I’m proud to say we have a truly great team working hard to live up to the reputation we’ve earned and ensure that we continue to grow.
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