Inman Connect Las Vegas returns live, Oct. 26-28, 2021, at the Aria Hotel and Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the lead-up to the big event, we’re talking with scheduled speakers about the moments that made their careers. Consider this just a taste of all the knowledge that will be shared at ICLV. Make plans to join us.

Real estate veteran Sherry Chris has had an enviable career, starting with her 16-year tenure with Toronto-based Royal LePage and then taking her talents to the United States to serve as the Chief Operating Officer of Coldwell Banker before founding Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate in 2007.

Over the past 13 years, Chris has built the BHGRE brand from the ground up with innovations in lifestyle-focused branding and marketing and diversity and inclusion (BHGRE was the first brand to formally make inclusion a core value). Now, Chris is also bringing her expertise to ERA Real Estate as Realogy’s expansion brands CEO.

The CEO has also been a champion for getting more women in the c-suite, with her being a leading figure at events such as the California Association of Realtors’ WomanUP! conference.

Ahead of her appearance at Inman Connect Las Vegas in October, Chris shared the three moments that have shaped her as a woman and real estate executive.

A bad homebuying experience that led her to enter real estate

“I had bought a home as a young woman, and I realized that I could probably do a better job of servicing buyers and sellers than the agent that I worked with was doing. That prompted me to ultimately quit my job, get my real estate license, and dive into the real estate industry.

“I’ll never forget when I actually sold my first home, and that resulted in [getting] another listing as well. I thought to myself, ‘Wow, I’m up and running in this industry.’

“Little did I know that selling real estate was not where I was going to end up, but it certainly was a great springboard into what I do now because when I think about it, today, I’m still servicing clients. They happen to be a little different than buyers and sellers of real estate. Today, they’re broker-owners and agents, but I’m doing my best to provide exceptional customer service to them.”

Getting back in the students’ seat

“I went back to school to get my Master of Business Administration. That was a very humbling experience, but a very rewarding experience because of the people I met. The fact that I was a mature student and was able to bring along with my fellow students’ experience, experiences of working and failing, and making mistakes, and succeeding to what we were learning in school was just incredible.

“That was such a valuable experience for me and one that helps me be a better leader by learning and giving back. It’s helped me move forward in my career and helped me become more well-rounded in my knowledge of business. I wanted to take those learnings and really make a difference at a leadership level than selling real estate, managing a real estate office, or being a broker, so that’s really why I did it.

“I thought to myself, ‘I can do this, and I can make a difference in this industry at different levels.’ It wasn’t easy, because I was working and I was going to school. But it was so well worth it for all of the reasons that I described.

“My graduation was something that I’ll never forget — right in the middle of my career. I still have very good friends [from graduate school] today, even though that was 20 years ago. We still network, see each other, connect and help one another.”

Navigating the pandemic

The pandemic experience has been such a great learning opportunity for everyone all around the world for different reasons. For me, it’s allowed me the opportunity to take everything that I’ve learned in my lengthy real estate career and use it at a time of crisis, and really hit the ground running with my team and my colleagues at Realogy.

“March 16, 2020, was when we kicked into high gear and really put our arms around our broker-owners and agents and put a plan in place to make sure that we were over-communicating to them and that we were providing them, from a business perspective and a personal perspective, everything that we could.

“Many of us thought COVID was going to go away in a shorter period of time, and now that we know, that’s not the case.

“So those learnings a year and a half ago are still very relevant today as we’re helping guide our brokers and agents as to what does ‘normal’ looks like in 2021 and 2022? Beyond communicating with agents about providing exceptional service, [we’ve talked about] what does office space look like? How do we do our very best in this industry now that we’ve experienced all of the challenges and opportunities and silver linings that COVID laid out in front of us?

“For me, this is a time that I will never forget because it’s allowed me to put into practice so much that I’ve learned over the years.”

Email Marian McPherson

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