Elizabeth Chesen is a serial entrepreneur who is no stranger to the real estate technology space.
In 1999, Chesen co-founded WhereToLive.com and is responsible for day-to-day operations as the company’s chief operating officer. WhereToLive.com is a coalition of top real estate brokers, agents and service providers. The company has built a suite of Web-based productivity tools that leverages the Internet for lead generation, listing distribution, prospect and contact management, online marketing and more.
The company’s SmartMap Search Technology has been nominated this year for an Inman Innovator Award in the “Most Innovative Web Service” category.
Prior to her current role, Chesen co-founded TechnologyEvangelist.com, a consulting business offering companies guidance for technology development, personal productivity and strategic vision. In 1992, she co-founded and served as chief operating officer of Superstar Computing, a company that grew from a “garage” start-up to a provider of technology products, training and support in the real estate industry. Chesen was instrumental in the successful sale of Superstar Computing to Merrill Corp. in 1997.
She attended the University of Minnesota and St. Paul Technical College, worked in special education as an American Sign Language interpreter, and has been a licensed Realtor since 1990.
Chesen will speak during Real Estate Connect in San Francisco, July 27-29, 2005.
Here are her answers to a set of questions posed by Inman News:
Panel or session at Connect: Innovations with Mapping.
What type of home did you grow up in and where?
When I was born, my folks had recently purchased a modest, new construction, split-entry home in Sioux City, Iowa. Three weeks later, we moved to the southern suburbs of Kansas City, Mo., to be near the Air Force base where my father was stationed. There, we lived in a two-bedroom, two-bathroom, brick eight-plex that was part of a large housing complex. At nine months old, we moved back to Sioux City but our house was rented out so we lived in a residential apartment hotel. Needless to say, I had quite a bit of real estate experience before I was even a year old!
What worries keep you awake at night?
My baby (www.madelineroz.com) sometimes keeps me up at night, though not from worry!
Describe your dream home?
The ultimate cyberhouse: waterfront, new construction with gigabit fiber.
What lesson did you learn in the last year?
I have learned a great deal this past year about the delicate cycle of life: The tragic, unexpected loss of one of my dearest friends; the birth of a close friend’s precious new baby; and my father’s triumph over cancer.
What was your first job?
I have always been driven and passionate about whatever I do. My very first job was as a performer (actor/dancer/musician). Through high school and college I worked the requisite bartender and retail positions. I began my professional career as a sign language interpreter and Realtor.
What would your second career choice be after real estate?
I would like to be a philanthropist – and go back to my first love, the theatre.
What kind of music do you listen to?
I have broad, eclectic taste depending on my mood and what I am doing – from Mozart to Led Zeppelin.
Who is your hero?
There are so many – personal, historical, political – too many to list. I am intrigued by individuals who are competitive yet selfless in nature and have overcome extraordinary hurdles to enjoy extraordinary success. Also, people who find the balance between winning, losing, risk-taking and more – those who contribute to the greater good, yet are happy at home.
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