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This article first appeared in Real Estate magazine’s special-edition Women in Real Estate issue. View the entire issue here.

Rosey Koberlein
Vitals: Long Realty
Years in business: 95
Size: 32 franchises, 1,400 agents
Regions served: Arizona, from Flagstaff down to Mexico’s border

Back in 1984, Rosey Koberlein was working in the public sector and became bored and disillusioned; She took a weekend class and soon became a real estate agent.

After two years in sales, she was asked to run a branch in Alameda, Calif., and even though she was hesitant due to her lack of experience, she took on the challenge and did big things.

By 1989, Koberlein took some time off to be the “hippie she never got to be” and soon got her real estate license in Arizona. Two years after that, she was again running her own branch and rose up the ranks until becoming CEO of Long Realty Companies in 2004, and earlier this year was named chairman.

How have you seen opportunities for women in real estate evolve?
Rosey Koberlein: Back in the early ’90s, when I took on a bigger role with Long Realty and started attending national meetings, I was in the minority in those conference rooms. I know it has increased dramatically from what it was back then, which is a significant change. Women have evolved to be strong leaders of many real estate companies.

In what ways do you help support women in the company and the industry at large?
RK: When I have an opening, or availability for a promotion, it’s not that I’m necessarily looking for a woman. I’m looking for the best candidate, but I do mentor middle management along the way so that when I do have an opening, I am able to promote from there. Women are very receptive to that coaching/mentoring role in the management arena, so I think that allows for women to evolve into larger roles. I was fortunate to have really good mentors, though 99.9 percent of them were men. I feel like it’s my responsibility to foster that education along the way.

How has your firm adjusted to the “new normal” brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic?
RK: There was not a real estate professional on the planet who was prepared for COVID. We all were pretty traumatized back in March when we had to do a 180 and figure this whole thing out and make safety for our sales associates, employees and consumers our No. 1 priority. Once our shelter-in-place order was put into effect, we had 10 – 12 weeks of week-over-week increased activity. It was a total V-shape response, which I wasn’t expecting. And it hasn’t stopped.

Do you see any opportunities for growth in the year ahead?
RK: Long Companies has a franchise model that we can expand across the state into areas where we don’t have a very strong footprint—places like Northern Arizona. I’m also experiencing organic growth coming into the industry as people are now looking to enter the market. Most importantly, I want to grow the company by increasing the productivity of our existing sales associates.

What do you offer new agents that’s unique and attracts them to the firm?
RK: We are the largest firm in our marketplace, with a strong culture and a solid foundation. The agents here are very proud of our company, and they know that the support is there. Even though we have a large population of agents, we treat every branch and every agent like they are part of a small company. We work hard to have close relationships with our sales associates. Also, because we are a big company, we can leverage tools and systems that make our agents’ daily lives very efficient and effective.

Keith Loria is a contributing editor to RISMedia.