With an eye on growing its franchise network nationwide, Real Living has named a new chief operating officer to fill the post formerly held by Sherry Chris, who left in July to work with Prudential California Realty.

Kaira Sturdivant Rouda will take over as COO, and will maintain the company’s brand as well as focus on selling franchises and growing the company as a whole.

Sturdivant Rouda previously held the position of chief marketing officer for Real Living and has been active in the residential real estate business for more than a decade. She was instrumental in HER Real Living’s precedent-setting move to pull out of the costly Sunday newspaper classifieds in 1997, and the company’s subsequent brand repositioning, resulting in increased market share.

In her new position, Sturdivant Rouda will be responsible for the operation and alignment of the company’s agent and customer care centers; marketing, advertising and special events; professional development, training and HR; franchise sales and services; Web services and IT infrastructure. 

“We started in two states and now have presence in ten,” she said. “The biggest opportunity for Real Living is national growth through our franchise network.”

Working as a consultant, Sturdivant Rouda created the Real Living brand in 2000 and orchestrated its launch to consumers in the winter of 2001. Joining the company full-time upon Real Living’s launch, Sturdivant Rouda has been instrumental in building the brand and positioning it for national growth.

Sturdivant Rouda is an active contributor to her community, having served on dozens of non-profit organizations. She also is a widely-published writer, serving as contributing editor for numerous publications in Columbus and beyond, most recently Midwest Living magazine. She writes a weekly column – Connections – distributed to 350,000 households in Central Ohio via This Week Newspapers.

Real Living is an independently-owned residential real estate firm with nearly 5,000 sales associates and employees and more than 140 offices throughout the Midwest, Florida, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia.

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