Company NewsPimpage March 24, 2015

Q Branch

Angela at the Peham office grand opening

Angela at the Peham office grand opening

I am biased, but I think I have the best people on my firm’s team. That’s why the company has grown through an era in the industry when many other firms disappeared. One of the very best examples is Angela Johnson. In August, 2012 when Angela joined the brokerage I wrote this:

…”it is with immense pride that I introduce Angela Johnson as J. Philip Real Estate’s first Vice President. She will be in charge of development, recruiting, and helping our growing team of 30+ licensees to become better in all facets of the business. They could not be in better hands, and I could not have gotten a better first officer.”

Two and a half years later Angela’s desk remains right next to mine in the firm’s home office in Briarcliff, and the team of 30 agents has grown to over 60 in 4 separate offices from the Hudson Valley to Buffalo. Interestingly, not long after she joined us, the state of New York passed a law requiring that anyone in a real estate firm with a corporate title like VP or director actually be a principal in the enterprise. You can still be a vice president in other industries and have a clip on tie, but for real estate brokers, thousands of business cards had to be reprinted. I gave Angela’s title quite a bit of thought, and half jokingly came up with “Q-Branch,” a James Bond reference to the late Desmond Llewelyn’s role as master of all 007’s techno-gizmos. It was actually quite an apt description of her role as steward of the company’s technology, and the reference has stuck. 

We were not out of the woods in yet in 2012, and it wouldn’t be until 2013 that anyone even whispered the word “recovery.” Someone coined the term “pre-covery” early that year, but the early part of Angela’s tenure here was still in the thick of  the slow market. She made a difference. As much as I had a reputation for being a tech forward broker, many of the neat things I had incorporated in 2006 and 2007 were essentially unchanged and stale. Our company website was a template piece of crap. Our back office transaction and client relationship management was nonexistent. There was no plan. Worst of all, I was a reaction machine who was running around putting out metaphorical fires instead of working with the Big Picture in mind. It happens- the E-Myth books are all about it. I needed help, and Angela’s skill set was crucial to the leap forward we made. 

Madam Q’s roles are varied and challenging. She remains an associate broker with a book of past business she manages. She recruited our first REO broker, and the bank-owned department I always wanted was finally a reality. She is in charge of on-boarding all new agents, no small task if you were ever to take a peak at the to-do list for a new agent with the firm. She has also become the go-to ass kicker for projects I could not assign to anyone else. Recently, I was asked by the State Association to make a presentation at the Winter Conference on the latest trends in real estate technology. I asked Angela to help put together the slides. In typical fashion, she didn’t just make a nice slides, she researched the hell out of the subject and created a truly impressive graphic presentation. And when the hotel’s AV equipment had a catastrophic failure and my material was lost, she scored a three pointer from mid court by getting me a Dropbox link remotely from 100 miles away. New York State Association of Realtors Tech Forums are serious business; what could have been an embarrassing failure ended up a huge success. 

Among the other hats she wears with aplomb are being my office first officer in Briarcliff, a frequent consigliere in personnel and organizational strategy, and just kind of being like Spock to a severely ADD broker (I hate to mix the Star Trek metaphor with James Bond, but the shoe fits). When we represented our first builder, her experience in new construction was a huge assist in getting our developer his first contract quickly with a very qualified buyer. She lives in an inquiry as to how to best market our listings, and has put in considerable overtime on maintaining our superior tech edge. 

I think you’re getting the picture. 

I am not an easy guy to work with. I am demanding, forgetful, disorganized, distracted, hyperactive, jumpy, sarcastic, occasionally tone deaf, and stubborn. She navigates it all, and on that last part,  has distinguished herself uniquely, with a rare talent for informing me in March that something I finally did was precisely what she advised me to do back in July. Along with the rest of my foibles, she still gets the job done and has never sugarcoated me or glossed over the truth. Few companies our size have a department devoted strictly to tech, let alone someone who actually gets the translation to a sales organization. It is no coincidence that we have grown. None at all. 

Salud, Q , nessuno lo fa meglio