Past and current LeadingRE Board of Director Chairs, Mike Pappas and Whitney Finn LaCosta
Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® Marks 60th Anniversary by Honoring Members and Innovating for the Next Chapter
Any company that makes it to the 60-year mile marker in business most likely has a history peppered with change, growth, big wins and bumps in the road—all of which have served to make it adaptable, strong and always focused on the future.
Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE) is no exception. As the global network of local and regional market leaders celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, it continues to build upon its legacy of leadership, innovation, growth and excellence.
According to current LeadingRE Board of Directors Chair Whitney Finn LaCosta, CEO of Howard Hanna | Coach REALTORS®, “The network has always had a truly entrepreneurial ‘we can do this’ spirit that comes from our membership. Our mission dates back to 1963 when a group of quality brokerage firms, led by strong leaders, believed that by working together, they could do more business and better serve their customers and clients.”
And that mission has come to fruition many times over. Now home to more than 550 leading residential brokerages representing some 138,000 sales associates in 70-plus countries around the world, LeadingRE is stronger than ever and moving full-speed ahead.
A home-grown real estate powerhouse
LeadingRE is dedicated to delivering the best of both worlds: local expertise and global reach. But in the network’s early years as Intercity Relocation—known by their trademarked name, RELO®—gaining credibility across the U.S. was critical, with legacy organizations leading the charge to find a worthy member in every market.
In 1997, Reliance Relocation was formed as the new holding company for the merged All Points Relocation and Genesis Network, along with many of the top firms that were previously part of the PHH network. The newly formed Reliance Relocation then merged with Intercity Relocation, and the RELO brand continued on until 2005, when the network was rebranded as Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®.
According to President & CEO Paul Boomsma, “The new name was reflective of the more expansive nature of LeadingRE’s offerings, which extended well beyond relocation and included the launch of the Luxury Portfolio International® marketing program. With this name change, the emphasis on quality, connections and global reach was amplified—representing the best of the best meant insisting on firms of the highest quality. And being the real estate network with a wide geographic footprint meant providing access to firms on six continents.”
The invitation-only, global network presents a rare opportunity for high-caliber firms to come together in a very unique community. “We seek out the best firms and offer them an opportunity to join the ranks of other successful firms,” says LeadingRE President of Global Operations Chris Dietz. “We know these firms are already successful without us, so the pressure is on to provide new opportunities that will take them to an even higher level. We also know that it can be lonely at the top, and by providing access to other highly successful firms outside of their immediate areas, they can benefit from idea-sharing with great industry minds.”
Critical to LeadingRE’s long-standing success formula is the reciprocal nature of the network. While LeadingRE provides the infrastructure and resources to support its members’ success, members are, in turn, required to maintain high standards.
“Each year we evaluate our existing members based on their annual performance to ensure that they continue to meet our requirements to maintain their membership,” says LeadingRE EVP of Member Services Kate Reisinger. “It’s critical that each member provide the exemplary service that we’re known for and remain fully engaged with regard to their membership obligations.”
An incomparable assemblage of industry leaders
A byproduct of the high-quality network of firms LeadingRE has built is an extraordinary cohort of outstanding leaders.
“It’s quite amazing to consider that nearly every one of our firms was founded and expanded under the guidance of a charismatic leader, who also possessed the business savvy to weather the ups and downs of this business,” says Boomsma. “We definitely benefit from quality leadership at each of our firms.”
Among the network’s many iconic leaders is Mike Pappas, CEO of The Keyes Company/Illustrated Properties and the most recent LeadingRE Board of Directors chair.
“Considering that so many independent businesses don’t have the growth trajectory or success that many of our firms possess speaks volumes to the quality of our management teams and the high-quality agents found at each firm,” says Pappas. “Having strong and capable leadership at each LeadingRE firm has definitely been the secret to our success and the stability of our membership over the years.”
LeadingRE members are also known for their impressive aptitude for longevity. “Many firms have had multigenerational family members at the helm for decades, who have been deeply involved in serving in their communities,” says LaCosta, who herself represents the next generation of leadership at the nearly 70-year-old Coach. “With two firms over 150 years old, an increasing number of firms at 100-plus years, and an even greater number that have now been in operation for over 50 years, our member firms provide consistency and continuity within their respective communities.”
Consistently ahead of the curve
LeadingRE’s mantra, “making the best brokerages better,” speaks to its commitment to provide world-class business solutions, technology and training, along with its unparalleled ability to create connections across the globe.
“Long before other organizations recognized the need to offer services across borders, LeadingRE was hosting immersion trips to Asia to educate agents and brokers on doing business abroad,” says Boomsma.
Offering members best-in-class technology has also helped keep LeadingRE ahead of the curve. Through the network’s Solutions Group, members stay current on the latest tech innovations. “This program brings our members the best business resources in areas vital to their success through these carefully selected providers,” says Boomsma. “We also provide resources that can be shared so that each firm doesn’t have to reinvent programs and offerings. Instead, they can create white-label programs at significant savings.”
LeadingRE has also prioritized learning and development for its members, helping them fulfill their mission to create an exceptional customer experience. In fact, the network’s comprehensive curriculum of training for sales associates and leadership earned it Training Magazine’s top award for providing best-in-class employee training and development.
As LeadingRE keeps innovating to stay ahead of the curve, it encourages its member firms to do the same, extending annual awards for excellence in three key areas: Marketing, Website Quality and Office Design. “These highly visible areas of our firms require regular innovation to remain at the top of their markets, and these annual awards provide recognition, as well as inspiration for the entire membership,” says Boomsma.
Evolving for the next 60 years
While paying tribute to its 60-year journey, LeadingRE’s sights are set squarely on the future.
“We continue to evolve because we listen to our brokerages and their leaders and work to be responsive to their needs,” explains Boomsma. “Consider the fact that the market is never quite the same. The needs of consumers change due to the influences of technology and the economy, not to mention that every home and home seller is unique. So while we hold true to our annual business plans and budgets, being owned by brokers who are also members means that we are charged to deliver for the membership.”
Boomsma highlights just a few of the most significant changes LeadingRE has put into play to ensure the network and its members keep evolving for the future:
- Helping members keep up with the changing economy to educate consumers. LeadingRE’s monthly Economic Insights series provides digestible soundbites that can be delivered to customers and clients to help them understand the realities of the market and how it impacts the purchase or sale of real estate.
- Promoting members’ community involvement in charitable organizations through the LeadingRE “Good Things” series
- Helping members make an impact in underserved communities and create a more diverse workforce that is representative of a firm’s entire market area
- Focusing on global sustainability, encouraging green building and responsible development, while preserving natural resources and minimizing environmental impact
According to Boomsma, these initiatives and others are musts in order to keep LeadingRE and its member firms thriving. “Changes to the industry frequently come at us full speed, and with those obstacles, we change,” he says. “We pivot and focus energy and resources where it can do the most good and effect the most positive change for our members.
“As we mark our legacy of 60 years, we have a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our members’ long history of leadership,” adds Boomsma. “But what’s even more exciting is looking ahead and collaborating on new ways we can lead the industry into the future for the next 60 years.”
For more information, please visit https://www.leadingre.com.