“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.” —Ruth Bader Ginsburg
The third week of our #WomenAtRaveis series continues with two more strong & successful women! Today we are recognizing Vice President of Career Development, Christa Ross and Sales Vice President & Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Hope Mazzola! Read on for a brief interview with each of these amazing women.
How long have you worked with Raveis? How did you first start?
I began my relationship with Raveis in 1999, when as a newly divorced single mom of two, I went on an interview to be an administrator for a Top Producer in our Flagship office in Southport. While I had come from a successful career in Marketing and Publications B.C. (before children), I, like so many other women who re-enter the workforce after kids, needed to start climbing the ladder all over again. To do this day, I thank Carol Weir, a divorced mom herself, who gave me the opportunity and hired me even though I knew next to nothing about the industry, and FORCED me to get my license as a way to supplement my income.
Do you have a mantra that you follow for your business, real estate, or in general?
I have come to be known of course for my “Quote of the Day” on the Morning Boost. My top faves are: “Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.” And “Be Happy…it drives people CRAZY!” Which, by the way, it DOES!
Describe a typical day in the life.
I rise too early (and reluctantly!) and prepare my thoughts for that day’s Morning Boost in the shower. It’s funny, I used to try and record the episodes the night before to save myself time, but there was something inherently organic that was missing. Once I gather my thoughts, I go into my home office, record, share and post. No, I do not use a script or teleprompter (common FAQ). I then begin my “real” workday of attending meetings, holding training classes and planning new content for that week or the next month. I go to bed like a 1st grader, or Hoda Kotb, whichever seems more impressive!
What are your greatest strengths?
Probably my humor, patience and the capability I have GROWN to have, to say exactly what’s rolling around in my mind. In my early career, I was very timid to express an opinion or a criticism regarding something that I knew in my heart felt “off” or wrong. THAT’S over!
What is the key to your success?
My relatability and accessibility. Agents, Admins, Managers recognize that I “get it”; the joys, the struggles, the panic that often ensues in an industry with a lot of twists and turns. I’ve been where all of them have been. I’ve held every job underneath my current position. I’m open about being human and making mistakes and having fears and doubts. EVERYONE can relate to that. Once you can relate to someone, you often experience an inherent trust when they try and open your mind to a different way. Plus, I answer emails really really fast!
How long have you worked in real estate and with Raveis? How did you first start?
This is my 20th year in Real Estate, having gotten licensed in 2002 and putting my “Fast Start” at Coldwell Banker on hold after my Mom had a stroke. I had 3 little kids under 4 and a sick mom…when I started on January 1, 2003 I said “If I’m going to do this, I need to make it work.” My first year in real estate I netted $100,000 in earnings and was pretty proud of myself. I was with CB until 2008 when I left to join Prudential Holmes & Kennedy, now Elliman. In 2010 I had the pleasure of a phone call from Joan Bomann, who asked if William Raveis opened an office in Katonah would I come and would I bring my friends? We opened in the summer after a few months of commuting to Rye and have grown steadily ever since. We are the definition of a Katonah office – bohemian and fun! I was first attracted to Raveis when I went to Shelton to meet with Chris. I was very impressed with the marketing that was being offered to me – my background is in advertising and I was excited that Raveis was going to help me promote my own brand. After all those years of helping other businesses grow I was going to be able to focus on building my brand.
Have you had to overcome any obstacles? How did Raveis help you?
Each year I steadily grew my business by building on my SOI and adding new marketing programs. In 2014 I was celebrating our eldest son’s graduation from high school when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I refused to let it affect my business – coming to work every single day except for the week after my surgery and to attend my son’s graduation that week. I put on a happy face, knowing that I was luckier than many to have, at least, gotten an early diagnosis. When I started chemo, the agents in my office would bring me little doo-rags, head covers and funny hats to wear. Management at Raveis helped me by arranging for me to be able to take advantage of a health insurance plan, which, unluckily had run out because my husband had lost his job. We never said ‘why us’ – we just kept plugging forward. I came to the office every day after starting chemo – even on chemo days – to make sure I remembered why I was moving forward. Literally, Raveis and the agents in my office kept me focused on business and I kept my eye on the prize of getting through it and back to (a new) normal. In 2014 I did $2 million more than I had done in 2013! You’ll see the hair color change after my hair grew back in! My scars and hair remind me again of how lucky I am and never was I so flattered than when Bill Raveis told me how great I looked at the first awards after my chemo was over. Thank you for the support over the years!
Hope: “my son telling me I am still beautiful after losing my hair”
What’s your best advice for someone new to the industry?
This business is a marathon, not a sprint. Be a sponge and listen to everything that goes on in the office. These last couple of years have been hard to gather but as we return to normal, new agents need to get into the habit of doing the basics: come to the office, talk to seasoned agents, offer to help, offer to do open houses, ask to tag along to town hall, get to know the rituals of the producers. Go on broker open house tours, get to know the agents in your marketplace, promote yourself in a positive light but don’t overpromise in your social media and marketing – you are not ready for ‘anyone looking to buy a house please call me” – you should offer to have a seasoned agent come with you to help with market analyses and price opinions. Ask for help and learn from the agents who do business in your marketplace. Be creative. Be helpful. Be available and you will get lots of business from those who see how hard you’re willing to work.