This article first appeared in Real Estate magazine’s special-edition Women in Real Estate issue. View the entire issue here.
WAV Group’s Marilyn Wilson and Myra Jolivet
Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.” This is certainly the case at real estate industry consulting firm the WAV Group, where Managing Partner and President of RETechnology Marilyn Wilson and PR & Communications Strategist Myra Jolivet play central roles as thought leaders.
Wilson’s and Jolivet’s journeys to leadership in real estate were paved with achievements in diverse fields. Wilson came by way of Fisher-Price where, as senior vice president of global marketing, she created a toy that is now on display in the Smithsonian and developed and marketed more than 1,000 new products. She was also CEO of Surveyor Corp., the company that engineered the technology that now fuels FaceTime.
In real estate, Wilson is a familiar name on industry leadership lists, including RISMedia’s Real Estate Newsmakers. She is a dedicated industry researcher and a passionate driver of policy change. At WAV Group, Wilson helps to outline and drive growth strategies for many of the nation’s leading MLSs, tech companies and brokerages, including the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® network. She is currently leading the roll-out of the industry’s first statewide, broker-led MLS, leveraging her deep expertise and facilitation skills in both areas.
Jolivet began her career in TV news. She created two Emmy Award-winning investigations, and as one of the first reporters on the scene of the Space Shuttle Challenger tragedy, filed reports for CBS News. She has served as a mayoral spokesperson and has held several executive public affairs roles. At both the corporate headquarters of Shell Oil and as an account executive at New York-based Hill and Knowlton, Jolivet handled crisis communications and strategic branding campaigns. She also served as chief marketing officer for the American Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles, and was named one of the Most Influential Women of Silicon Valley.
Jolivet was introduced to organized real estate as chief communications officer for the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR.com). She also led departments at the Pacific West Association of REALTORS® and MLSListings Inc.
Experience Serves the Industry
The meeting point for Wilson and Jolivet was Houston. Wilson’s role as consultant to the Houston Association of REALTORS® introduced her to then Chief Communications Officer Jolivet.
Wilson had created a consumer research panel to provide HAR members with timely insights from nearly 15,000 homebuyers and sellers and helped bolster HAR members as the source of real estate in the marketplace. As chief communications officer, Jolivet deployed public affairs tactics to help elevate HAR members in the news media and with local government leaders.
More than a decade later, the pair have combined forces to provide brokerages, real estate technology companies, associations and MLSs with the benefit of their varied and broad-based experience and expertise in brand management, communications, strategic planning, public relations and media training.
Instead of off-the-shelf consulting solutions, Wilson and Jolivet are focused on building strategies, action plans and performance benchmarks specific to an organization’s desired goals. Wilson guides organizations in creating strategic plans and sophisticated survey models to better serve clients and customers, and to stay ahead of industry trends. She also brings a marketing and operational lens to brokerages, associations and MLSs. Jolivet has created media campaigns in the industry to mitigate crises and promote industry professionals nationally and locally. She also brings her perspective of engaging viewers/voters/customers to association and MLS service models.
Confronting Waves of Change
The real estate industry does not exist in isolation, says Wilson and Jolivet, but rather within a world of change, as evidenced in 2020 and which will no doubt continue into 2021. As two strong and confident women, the pair are not afraid to talk about the “tough stuff” that they believe has the potential to take our industry out, whether it be professionalism, Fair Housing or the “sacred cows” the industry tends to hold onto so tightly. Wilson and Jolivet embrace such problems and challenges, and aim to bring viable, workable solutions to help the industry move forward.
Today’s Issues: DEI, Fair Housing
Many organizations wear a public face that can be as open to criticism as compliments. That’s why Wilson and Jolivet believe brand strategies and messaging make the difference.
Together, the women of WAV Group are driving breakthrough programs in diversity and inclusiveness, customer-centricity, and working from the “inside out” to inform and inspire positive change to ensure real estate brokers and agents remain as the ultimate, trusted source of real estate information and transaction support. Wilson and Jolivet are focused on helping organizations outline forward-thinking strategic directions that not only help drive growth, but also protect from the downside with business continuity and crisis communications skills.
“My goal is to help the industry listen closely and respond in real-time to the ever-changing needs of the public and practitioners to ensure that our industry remains strong and viable for the long haul while enabling every consumer to be served equitably and fairly,” says Wilson.
To that end, Jolivet leads WAV Group’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) practice, a unique approach that integrates DEI into strategic and communications planning. The program is customized to meet the needs of brokerages, associations and MLSs.
As Jolivet says, “I would like to see an industry that builds its success on women as the decision-making customer, up its game in the development and support of women in its leadership ranks.”
For more information, visit www.wavgroup.com.