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Accomplishments in business. Charitable contributions. Daring leadership. Out-of-the-box thinking. Over the course of the past year, RISMedia’s 2020 Real Estate Newsmakers contributed to the housing industry in numerous ways, bettering their communities, consumers and larger sphere, across eight categories: Achievers, Crusaders, Futurists, Influencers, Inspirations, Luminaries, Trailblazers and Trendsetters. Here, we showcase their stories.

Rosamaria Acuña
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties

In 2019, Acuña was corresponding secretary for the Sunset Cliffs Natural Park Council, which aims to combat erosion and introduce native plant species in San Diego. Among her community efforts, she is co-captain of her Neighborhood Watch and a lead committee member for the San Diego Architectural Foundation.

Liz Gehringer
Coldwell Banker Real Estate

In 2019, Gehringer was the executive sponsor of the Coldwell Banker #CBWomen initiative, which champions the company’s female voices. “I am committed to ensuring that more and more women at Coldwell Banker see a path to leadership and have the tools and training to realize their professional dreams,” Gehringer says.

Bahar Soomekh
Nourmand & Associates

In 2019, Soomekh hosted the fifth annual Angel City Games, an adaptive athletes event part of Angel City Sports, which she and her husband co-founded in 2013. Soomekh’s son received his first prothesis at 11 months old. “We’re committed to helping the disabled community be able to enjoy, learn, engage and thrive through Angel City Sports,” says Soomekh.

Fred Underwood
Director of Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion
National Association of REALTORS®

In 2019, Underwood helped secure an agreement between the National Association of REALTORS®, the National Association of Real Estate Brokers and the Urban Institute with the goal of increasing African American homeownership. “Leadership grows out of engagement,” says Underwood.

Paul Yorkis
Patriot Real Estate Inc.

In 2019, Yorkis was appointed by Ben Carson, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, to the Housing Counseling Federal Advisory Committee. “I am honored to serve as the link between the National Association of REALTORS® and the HUD Office of Housing Counseling to improve and expand housing counseling services across America,” says Yorkis.

Greg Zadel
Broker/Owner & Founder
Zadel Realty

In 2019, Zadel was chair of the National Association of REALTORS® MLS Committee, and is currently chair of the association’s MLS Technology & Emerging Issues Advisory Board. “We must continue to adapt our MLS policies to the marketplace in which geographical boundaries and other artificial limitations are hindering brokers’ ability to help with their clients’ real estate needs,” says Zadel.

Stephanie Anton
Luxury Portfolio International

In 2019, Anton led the Luxury Portfolio rebrand, which included changes to the logo and a magazine redesign. “It is an honor to work with the best and brightest in the independent brokerage community and to continue to develop innovative marketing services for our members,” Anton says.

Brad Bjelke

In 2019, Bjelke and hosted the 2019 Council of Multiple Listing Services (CMLS) Conference, along with the inaugural CMLS CEO Summit. He is currently chair of the CMLS.

Steve Brown
President, Residential Sales
Crye-Leike, REALTORS®

In 2019, Brown was appointed chairman of the board of The Realty Alliance for a two-year term. “I’m both humbled and excited at the opportunity afforded me with this position,” Brown says.

Jared James
Jared James Enterprises

In the past year, James, a coach and speaker, launched the podcast “Today with Jared James,” which was named a top 200 business podcast worldwide. “It’s such an honor to be able to have a platform…that allows me to adjust the way that REALTORS® are doing business so they can remain their customers’ best option moving forward,” James says.

Sherri Johnson
CEO & Founder
Sherri Johnson Coaching & Consulting

In 2019, Johnson, a coach, keynote speaker and trainer, partnered with Real Estate Express to launch a 90-Day New Agent Boot Camp. “I am so excited to partner with the national leader in online real estate education and to provide additional coaching and training programs that will help agents take their businesses to the next level,” Johnson says.

Luciane Serifovic
CEO & Founder
Luxian International Realty

In 2019, Serifovic founded Luxian International Realty, designed for the high-net worth market. “Technology helps change happen faster, and the best way to exist is to embrace it,” says Serifovic, adding, “never forget the customer’s needs and satisfaction always come before the pursuit of profit.”

For more from the 2020 Real Estate Newsmakers, go to or RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine. For consideration for the 2021 Real Estate Newsmakers, please email nominations to