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If the industry learned one thing this past year, it’s that resiliency is key to a successful business model. We recently announced the RISMedia 2021 Real Estate Newsmakers, individuals who didn’t falter when faced with the newfound challenges introduced in 2020, and instead took charge by adapting to the new environment and searching out new ways to make an impact.

With our Achievers, we celebrate the “Success Stories”—those who have rocketed their business/companies to the top, with robust growth and marketing strategies, winning awards for the best companies to work for, multi-year strategies for success and the belief that “You should continually strive to do better.”

We like to call our Crusaders, “The Champions of a Better Way.” Our Crusaders are the real estate professionals with a passion for a cause greater than themselves, from equal rights to REALTOR® safety, to advancing the industry to disaster recovery, to children’s and women’s causes, and so much more.

Read about their accomplishments on their Newsmaker profile pages and, below, hear what they have to say about their recognition and their thoughts on the future of real estate.

Jessica Edgerton – Crusader
Executive Vice President of Operations | Corporate Counsel
Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®

“For me, the honor of being a Newsmaker is defined by the incredible caliber of its designees. I particularly love that the list organically highlights the fact that our industry features so many extraordinary women leaders—Diane Ramirez, Nancy Almodovar, Dava Davin, Helen Hanna Casey, Annie Hanna Engel, Rosey Koberlien, Liz Nunan, Christina Pappas, Robin Sheakley, my fellow LeadingRE EVP powerhouse Kate Reisinger—the list goes on and on. These remarkable women, along with so many others on the list, have led our industry through a year of such adversity by aligning their superhuman strength, strategic brilliance and a deeply empathetic approach to leadership.

“In 2020, real estate shone through so much darkness. Despite an economy in crisis and outrageously tight inventory, we sold more houses, at healthier prices, than we did in the comparatively even keeled 2019. I anticipate that 2021 will be a year of explosive growth and heightened innovation in our industry. Remote-work-empowered migration will continue to drive the market, along with ongoing historically low interest rates and rising millennial demand. Once vaccinations really start kicking the hotel and entertainment and restaurant industries back into gear this fall, the sky’s the limit. For those who took true measure of the fundamental changes 2020 required us to make as business leaders—and then took action—we have a recipe for an unprecedentedly good Q4 that carries through 2022. On the other hand, for those who Netflix-binged their way through 2020, they’re going to get absolutely crushed by the wave of 2020-inspired innovation. But that doesn’t apply to anybody on this list.”

Morgan Carey – Achiever
Chief Executive Officer
Real Estate Webmasters

“To me, RISMedia is our industry’s North Star. There is integrity in everything John Featherston and his company do which makes the Newsmaker award very special. I love that the awards are industry nominated and vetted by a team that truly understands our space, and every year they put together an amazing list. I am humbled to be named alongside the amazing professionals also listed as I consider them friends, mentors and, truly, leaders I look up to.

“[I see] continued acceleration of technology and online adoption. We are not done with COVID and it has started a wave of massive disruption and digital change for many companies in our space who are all in a race to better accommodate the ‘online’ consumer and their new desire for personal space and online interaction. Now that we have launched the new Renaissance platform, our goal is to convert 5,000-plus new accounts to the platform and showcase the results of our lead generation and agency work and how they have helped transform the bottom line (in a good way) for all of our marketing customers.”

Anthony Lamacchia – Crusader
Broker/Owner & Chief Executive Officer
Lamacchia Realty

“To be considered a Newsmaker, with an industry full of so many widely talented people, I certainly appreciate the recognition by such an esteemed news organization. 2021 will be slow to start because of home sellers hesitating to list their homes. Once the year gets going, it will end up being the biggest year since 2005 and will mark an incredible recovery for a market that almost came to a screeching halt when the pandemic kicked off last year.”

Monica Rivera – Crusader
Chief Executive Officer
Keller Williams SELA

“In 2019, I heard a statistic that stayed with me: Over 60% of REALTORS® are women and yet we constitute less than 15% of brokers/managers, and of those women in leadership, 78% are white. Now I love ALL my soul sisters in this industry, and I am also hyper aware that as a young Latina in brokerage leadership, to be recognized by such an influential publication is not just an honor and accomplishment for me, but also is truly a testament to the diverse community I am blessed to be a part of.

“The real estate market is approaching a perfect storm of unique factors: fierce economic challenges; an unprecedented number of rent and mortgage delinquencies and forbearances; record low inventory; a technological shift and focus on data and AI; and a number of technology companies and institutional investors entering the market… all compounded by the global pandemic. Shifts like these create opportunity, and I want to lead my agent-partners to thrive in the coming market while honoring, above all, that people’s lives hang in the balance, and that our fiduciary duty as REALTORS® is not to close transactions, but rather to guide, help and protect our clients.”

Nancy Kennedy – Achiever
Associate Real Estate Broker
Houlihan Lawrence

“I am so honored to be named an RISMedia Newsmaker. I am fortunate to have so many wonderful clients and co-workers. After 36 years, I can honestly say that there has never been a day that it felt like I had a job. I feel lucky! My goal is to help as many people as possible to achieve the great American dream: homeownership.”

Fara Captain – Crusader
Captain & Co. Real Estate, LLC

“It is an honor to be recognized as an RISMedia Newsmaker alongside so many inspiring fellow real estate leaders. Being named an RISMedia Newsmaker gives me hope for a brighter future. It reminds me that the world is ready for change and desire to get to equality. I foresee growth in our industry and growth for humankind. Although we have policies in place that ban discrimination, it still persists in both implicit and explicit ways. It is our duty to uphold our code of ethics as real estate leaders.”

Ryan Weyandt – Crusader
Chief Executive Officer
LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance

“To have been presented with this recognition, and to be amongst so many incredibly talented leaders (several who I personally look up to) in the industry, gives me great pride. It is a great time to be in our industry; real estate is a pillar holding up the economy, civil rights and anti-discrimination policy is advancing, and so many are renewing their passion for, or creating their legacy by, serving their clients. The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance looks forward to being a leader in advancing equal rights protections in the housing and finance sectors. Through this work, and our continued focus on education, advocacy, philanthropy and business, we aim to create greater generational wealth for our community through homeownership and propel a greater diversity of real estate professionals across the world.”

For consideration for the 2022 Real Estate Newsmakers, please email nominations to Official online nominations will open this spring.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to