Watching the buzzards circle.

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Residential

Our managing broker, Cornelia Steffes, recently announced that she was retiring before the end of the year, and introduced us to her replacement.

Cornelia has been the managing broker the entire time that I've been here, and well prior.  I think she's been here some 30+ years.  She's phenomenal, and is a walking real estate encyclopedia.  In additional to her vast real estate knowledge, she's been doing this nigh onto forever, so she knows everyone's stories, and knows where all the skeletons are buried.

She's also a welcoming shoulder to cry upon, and we've all (myself included) plopped ourselves down in her office chair and bared our souls, while drenching them in tears.  And somehow she manages to smile that caring smile, and listen to our woes.  We have over 80 prima donnas in our office (and yes, I'm one of them), and she listens to our gripes, keeps our confidences, and metes out balms, salves and real world solutions, whether they be real-estate-related or not.

She will be sorely missed.

Meanwhile, I'm sure you're wondering, what's going to happen?  Well, Cornelia has chosen her succesor in Barbara Kleban.  Barbara is a wonderful new addition to our office. She's smart, energetic and well-versed in many of the things that we need to drag our sorry asses into the 21st century.  She understands many of the new technologies, has schooled us on the uses of things like Facebook, Yelp, Trulia, Zillow,, Hootsuite, Pinterest and is bringing the ship around to include modern methods of presenting at listing opportunities, including smart-phones and tablets!  We're going to survive nicely, thank you.

Being the premiere office in our area, many have seen this transition as the perfect opportunity to pillage our directory, and recruiting has taken on a frenzied fervor.  Anyone who's "anyone" in our office, has been approached by the other offices in the area, and offered riches galore if they'll jump ship.  Higher splits, marketing money, premium parking spaces, signing bonuses... believe me, the world is being offered.

I, however, will not be one of those jumping ship.  I still believe in our office, and our new leadership.  Barbara Kleban has shown some tenacity and business know-how beyond her years.  I'm going to hang around and see how it goes.

Meanwhile, I'll watch the buzzards circling.

- 9

Posted by

 ALAN MAY, Realtor®   
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate

Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, 1710 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
847.425.3779      Cell: 847.924.3313      Email:

Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate
Licensed in Illinois



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Tammy Emineth
Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing - Marysville, WA
Content Marketer, SEO Teacher, Website Fixer

You have to weigh the balance of what's working now and what may work in the future. If you're happy where you are, stay and bloom! Good luck to all those moving on and new recruits coming in.

Oct 12, 2012 08:52 AM #7
Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

Good for you Alan ! I just stopped by in one of other   offices (we have 3 branches)and saw one of our should I say old agents come back home I was so happy to see him and him me ..Click your shoes 3 times because there is no place like home Stay where you are ..Thats my advise and I am sticking to it


Oct 12, 2012 09:03 AM #8
Brenda Mullen
RE/MAX Access - Schertz, TX
Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!!

Sounds like your new Broker is going to need agents like you!  I am quite sure your office will manage to stay on top :)!

Oct 12, 2012 09:43 AM #9
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Alan, if you took this at "face value", you would wonder how Barbara could fill Cornelia's shoes....looks? youth? but if Cornelia has hand-picked her, she's dyn-o-mite. I love the fact that you are staying. Good for you.


Oct 12, 2012 12:39 PM #10
Sussie Sutton
UTR Texas Realtors - Pearland, TX
UTR TEXAS Realtors - Rep for buyers and sellers.

Sad that you are loosing your broker, all good things must end. However, when one door closes another opens. I am sure she will bring many great ideas to the company.

Oct 12, 2012 12:57 PM #11
Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Alan, for all the intelligence and business savvy you accredit to Cornelia, her choice of successor has to be wise as well. Good Luck to Barbara

Oct 12, 2012 01:44 PM #12
Donna Foerster
HomeSmart Realty Group - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Agent

Alan~ What a nice tribute to Cornelia and an equally nice welcome for Barbara.  Cornelia made a wise decision in her replacement.  Anyone who leaves is being foolish.

Oct 12, 2012 03:14 PM #13
Conrad Allen
Re/Max Professional Associates - Webster, MA
Webster, Ma, Realtor

Hi Alan.  Change is always tough.  The grass is usually not greener in the other guy's yard.

Oct 12, 2012 08:30 PM #14
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Yes, one of the rights of passage when there's a change in management.  The vultures do come out and circle.

Oct 12, 2012 09:55 PM #15
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Alan. You retiring Broker sounds very special and I'm sure you will miss her. Her replacement (not predecessor) sounds great too. Good luck.

Oct 12, 2012 10:25 PM #16
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Alan, Sounds like you've been fortunate to have two very good brokers.  Hopefully too many don't jump ship and give the new broker the opportunity to prove the office will keep on keeping on under her leadership.

Oct 12, 2012 10:43 PM #17
Alan May
Coldwell Banker Residential - Evanston, IL
Helping you find your way home.

Suzanne - change can be difficult.

Pat - people are always prepared to take advantage of every weakness.

Paula - we ain't dead, nor dying.

Rob - they've been after me for years.

Mike - grass that is greener, is often covered in manure.

Barbara - why thank you, ma'am.

Tammy - I love our office.

Hannah - there's no place like home.... there's no place like home.

Brenda - that's the idea.

Gayle - and that's exactly it... Cornelia has hand-picked her to be the best manager for our office, and our culture.

Sussie - I will miss her greatly.

Ed - that's what I figure, as well.

Donna - everyone has to make their own choices.  For me, it makes sense to stay.

Conrad - and if the grass is greener, you have to be careful where you step.

Gabe - oooh... it's a right of passage?  Does that mean it'll be made into a feature film?

Sheila - She is... and we'll miss her.  (yes, I know... someone else already pointed that out, and I've fixed it... I wrote this one in a hurry, as I was heading home).

Liz & Bill - I hope the same.  I've got enough change going on in my life.

Oct 13, 2012 12:56 AM #18
Gay E. Rosen
Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty - Larchmont, NY
As Real as Real Estate Gets!

ALan - change is so hard but the very fact you are staying on board might merit you a commision increase! How could they risk losing the funniest, wittiest person in the office ? Your departure would be sorely missed.

Oct 13, 2012 01:15 AM #19
Alan May
Coldwell Banker Residential - Evanston, IL
Helping you find your way home.

Gay - oooh..... commission increase....!   [Hey, Barbara!!!]

Oct 13, 2012 11:10 AM #20
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Alan, I understand that recruiting is an important part of a good broker's job.  Still, I do find it sort of offensive when the buzzards try to take advantage of changes that occur in an office. 

Oct 16, 2012 12:18 PM #21
Alan May
Coldwell Banker Residential - Evanston, IL
Helping you find your way home.

Patricia - I don't find it offensive... as you say, it's part of their job.  Recruiting is a normal part of this business, and personally, I find it flattering to be so sought after.  I am one of the top producers in this office, so I would find it a little odd if they DIDN'T come looking for me.

Oct 18, 2012 01:32 AM #22
Barbara Kleban

I am honored to have an agent as wonderful as Alan here in our office as one of our top producers and most vocal supporters. As evidenced by this blog with its loyal followers, Alan embodies the tech savvy, creative, driven, energetic Realtors we have in our office and need more of! I'm focused on our goals and striving to fill the very big shoes and carry on the legacy of Cornelia Steffes, who built a successful, market leading office. I'm committed to these Realtors and helping them be real estate rock stars so my only words to anyone looking to lure them away would be.... Bring it on. As an office, we stand on our own merits, programs, and strength. We are focused, driven, and ready for anything!

Oct 18, 2012 04:00 AM #23
Alan May
Coldwell Banker Residential - Evanston, IL
Helping you find your way home.

Barbara - thank you for the kind words... you do, indeed, have big shoes to fill... but I'm fully confident that you'll do a great job... you already are.

Oct 18, 2012 01:40 PM #24
Debbie Walsh
Shahar Management - Middletown, NY
Hudson Valley NY Real Estate 845.283-3036

So true the grass is always greener.  Not too long ago several agents in our office were wooed away to another.  As of this moment they have all come back except for one and that person looks to be leaving too. 

Oct 23, 2012 06:25 AM #25
Alan May
Coldwell Banker Residential - Evanston, IL
Helping you find your way home.

Debra - oddly enough, once they leave... it's YOUR grass that appears greener.

Oct 23, 2012 01:24 PM #26
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