“It’s great you got all of us lunatics together!” joked realtor James Harris of Bond Street Partners at The Agency.
This feeling of gratitude and jovial collegiality was in the air at The Hollywood Reporter’s 2nd annual Power Broker Awards, presented by The Society Group and sponsored by ASH Staging and the REAL real-estate messaging app on Sept. 20. New blood and established legends exchanged hugs and deals at the ceremony which was held as a private event at private-members fitness club Heimat in the Hollywood Media District. The honors were held in conjunction with THR’s 2022 list of Hollywood’s Top 30 Real Estate Agents, honoring top sellers in the greater Los Angeles area based on MLS-listed sales to Hollywood clients, overall deal volume and media visibility.
The awards were hosted by Selling Sunset stars Jason Oppenheim and Mary Fitzgerald — with Oppenheim finding an opportunity to gently rib the Altman Brothers for being absent (absent since the Altmans, stars of a competitor series, Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles, were flying back from Dubai).
Rayni Williams and Branden Williams of The Beverly Hills Estates, winners of the Celebrity Property Portfolio Award, expressed their excitement at being honored by the magazine. “We always say, ’The properties are the stars, these illustrious properties … and of course our famous clients,’” Rayni said in her acceptance speech. “And we get nothing, right? We are just here working and grinding, and we all get to do it together, which is so fun. So, it’s very nice to be acknowledged. So, thank you all.”
Additional Power Broker Awards winners included Westside Estate Agency co-founder Kurt Rappaport, who won the Stratospheric Sale Award for a $177 million transaction in Malibu (the second highest sale in the U.S. in 2021), and Hilton & Hyland’s Linda May, who won the Agent of Historic Architecture Award, presented by Andrew Bowen and Samantha Atlas of ASH Staging. May’s deals in the last 12 months included sales of the Paul Williams-designed Bellagio Estate, the late Yvette Mimieux’s Il Sogno property and the Hearst Estate.
Oppenheim noted the importance of the list, now in its tenth year, in his own career. “I remember when this list first came out, I was so far from being on any type of list and this was the ultimate list,” he says. “I studied it. I read everything everybody said. I knew all the agents on it, and I honestly never dreamed at the time that I would ever make it. It’s actually personal to me, I love it.” He also credited an ad he had placed in The Hollywood Reporter with helping him land Selling Sunset, now with its own spinoff, Selling OC.
He also paid tribute to Joyce Rey of Coldwell Banker, recipient of the Philanthropic Impact Award, for her mentorship in his early days as an agent. In her touching acceptance speech, Rey spoke movingly of the way her career as a high-powered agent has enabled her to give back to the community at large.
“First of all, I’m overwhelmed just to be here and to be part of this incredible evening with all of you,” exclaimed Rey, who is co-chair of the Southern California board of UNICEF. “Our business and profession is such a wonderful life. It’s given all of us such an incredible opportunity and also the blessing of a great income. The most important thing in life is giving back. And I don’t think I’ve ever been happier than when I have been involved in a successful charitable operation. And whether it was the St. Joseph Center for the Homeless or the American Cancer Society or the Coldwell Banker’s CB Cares [the brokerage’s educational foundation] . … No matter what it is that I’m doing in an effort to help others, that makes me feel even better than making a deal.”
In fact, thankfulness seemed to be a theme of the evening, with first-time list maker Neyshia Go of Sotheby’s International Realty discussing her relationship with her former boss and mentor (and fellow member of the 2022 Top 30 List) Aaron Kirman of Compass. “He had a part in my wedding. That’s how much our relationship means,” she says. “And even though I’ve gone on, I’m having a great career at Sotheby’s, we’re still really close. So, between Aaron and other colleagues that I work with who are on this list, we all have maintained really great friendships. And we’ve all been to each other’s houses for barbecues, or vacation together.”
But perhaps the best story of mentorship was told by Jacob Greene of Douglas Elliman, recipient of the Rising Star Award. Greene spoke of being a teenager working in the mail room of a talent agency, driving his mother’s station wagon down Sunset when he spotted Josh Altman’s flashy sport car.
“I said, ’I’m going to follow him and we’ll see what happens,’ and I literally followed him and pulled up in front of him. I said, ’Josh Altman, my name is Jacob Greene. You must hire me.’ You guys know Josh. He’s like, ‘All right, bro. Sounds good.’ So, I harassed him, him and his brother …. Long story short, I got in there and I said, ‘I’ll do whatever I got to do. I’m going to work as hard as I possibly can.’”
And the rest is history.
Greene accepted the Media Maverick Maverick award, presented by REAL founder Thomas Ma, on behalf of the winning Altman Brothers team.
After an uncertain year of rising interest rates mixed with record sales, there was a feeling in the room of seasoned pros and eager newcomers who were appreciative to have weathered a storm — with the positive attitude so typical of L.A. power agents. “I mean, it’s a little bit more challenging, but I think with the challenges come reinvention and with reinvention comes spectacular things,” said list honoree Blair Chang of The Agency. “I always see the glass as half full, no matter what. But we’re still having a great year. And it’s been really fun.”
In fact, in an industry notorious for snipping and backbiting, the glittering evening was devoid of the rancor generally associated with the industry, even with gentle prodding. When asked if there was anyone he was not looking forward to seeing, David Parnes of Bond Street Partners grinned. “I’m excited to see everyone,” he said. “Honestly, it’s just nice to get together with the industry and appreciate each other and celebrate each other. So no, I’m really, really grateful that we’ve been included. Truthfully. You don’t get anything else from me on that!”
But don’t be fooled — these agents got to the top for a reason. When former pro-basketball player Marco Salari of Coldwell Banker, a THR 2022 Rising Star nominee, was asked who was more competitive — Los Angeles real estate agents or basketball players — he smiled. “Real estate I would say.”
Also making the rounds were THR Top 30 list makers Coldwell Banker’s Jade Mills, Hilton & Hyland’s Drew Fenton and Justin Paul Huchel, The Agency’s Santiago Arana and Blair Chang, Nourmand & Associates’ Rochelle Atlas Maize, The Ikem Company’s Ikem Chukumerije, Compass’ Tomer Fridman, Carl Gambino and F. Ron Smith and David Berg of the Smith & Berg Team, Douglas Elliman’s Juliette Hohnen, Amalfi Estates’ Anthony Marguleas and The Beverly Hills Estates’ Angel Salvador.
The full list of nominees and winners is below, plus additional photos:
STRATOSPHERIC SALE AWARD (for a major single sale)
Aaron Kirman, Compass
Kurt Rappaport, Westside Estate Agency (WINNER)
Branden and Rayni Williams, The Beverly Hills Estates
PHILANTHROPIC IMPACT AWARD
Chris Cortazzo, Compass
Anthony Marguleas, Amalfi Estates
Joyce Rey, Coldwell Banker (WINNER)
CELEBRITY PROPERTY PORTFOLIO AWARD (to a trusted agent of Hollywood clients)
Tomer Fridman, Compass
James Harris and David Parnes of Bond Street Partners, The Agency
Branden and Rayni Williams, The Beverly Hills Estates (WINNER)
AGENT OF HISTORIC ARCHITECTURE AWARD (for an agent who puts special care into deals for venerable residences)
Drew Fenton, Hilton & Hyland
Linda May, Hilton & Hyland (WINNER)
Jade Mills, Coldwell Banker
MEDIA MAVERICK AWARD (for innovative marketing)
Josh and Matt Altman, The Altman Brothers at Douglas Elliman (WINNER)
Rochelle Atlas Maize, Nourmand & Associates
Umansky Team, The Agency
RISING STAR AWARD
Kati Cattaneo, Sotheby’s International Realty
Jacob Greene, Douglas Elliman (WINNER)
Marco Salari, Coldwell Banker
Kevin Stewart, The Agency
Caroline Wolf of the Jenna Cooper Team, Compass