Taking 5 with The Seattle Divas in Hollywood!

CTM post (29)

SO… What we’ve learned is that I truly lack in video skills! Apologies in advance!

Within days of having a professionally shot CTM at The Boutique Real Estate Group in Corona Del Mar, it was then up to me to harness my elite video skills with my iPhone and new gorilla stand on the road. I managed to capture a quick conversation with Seattle’s Diva Team Kim Colaprete and Chavi Hohm at Gen Blue in Universal Studios, Hollywood in between their panel presentations! It was in the most quiet corner we could find, and yes, the camera is a tad tilted. We’ll just call it ‘organic and refreshingly raw.’ It is all about the content after all. 😉

Despite my epic video skills, (*snort *cough) Kim and Chavi both dropped some serious knowledge and perspective! These girls are HUSTLERS and are running The NUMBER 1 Real Estate Team in Seattle!  Take a moment to listen to their commitment to COMMUNITY, their vision around BRAND and their overall PASSION!

We only touch on some of the wisdom these amazing ladies have to share and so I promise we’ll have them back on for a proper conversation soon, but in the meantime enjoy this quick listen today.

Big Thanks to the Divas!


Teri:Hi, everyone. This is Teri Conrad on Conversations that Matter. I am home this week from a great trip to LA Hollywood, Universal Studios where I was attending GenBlue, Coldwell Banker’s GenBlue Conference. It was out of this world. It was so exciting. It was held at Universal Studios on the grounds. On the final night, we had the entire Universal Studios Park to ourselves where we got to get on all the rides with no lines, which was so awesome. 

Beyond that fabulous experience – oh, and the opening ceremonies was held at the Dolby Theater where the Academy Awards are held. I mean, talk about an amazing venue. Coldwell Banker really did a great job of putting on a fabulous show. The content and the learning was also really, really good. I had the great fortune of sitting in on a few different sessions. One of them – actually there were two where the Seattle Divas, who is our CTM this week, so Chavi and Kim from Seattle, the Seattle Divas they’re known as in our market, who are doing extraordinary things in terms of building teams and doing amazing business, amazing differentiators. They understand brand. They understand the experience, and I sat down with them to do an interview on-site at Universal Studios. 

Unfortunately, we didn’t capture the whole thing. My iPhone video – if you had the chance to see last week’s video, which was done at Raja’s, the boutique real estate group new office in Corona del Mar. That was done by a professional videographer. I, however, am not a professional videographer and so unfortunately, we are reliant on the iPhone and my very, very limited tech experience. I do apologize. 

This week’s is a little bit shorter than normal. We only captured a brief portion of our conversation, but it was still really good, and they still want to share it. I’ve invited the girls back to come and dig in a little bit deeper when things aren’t quite as scattered, and we are more focused. Having said that, this week’s is a little brief, but it’s still really good. I think you’ll agree that the Divas are amazing, and we can learn a lot from them in terms of brand building, in terms of leveraging of scaling our business, how to focus and get super clear, and also deliver an excellent experience to our clients, which is ultimately the biggest goal. 

Please sit back and enjoy this quick conversation. Let us know everything you think and feel about it. If you want to dig in more, for heaven’s sake, reach out to me. I’m always looking for great conversations to dig into. Enjoy, and we’ll talk to you next time. Bye.

Announcer:You’re listening to Conversations that Matter with your host, Teri Conrad. 

Teri:Hi, everyone. This is Teri Conrad, Conversations that Matter, special interview with the Seattle Divas on location in Hollywood. We are in Universal Studio Theaters right now. Kim Colaprete just came off the stage on a panel about teams. It was so fabulous. 

Kim:It was fun; good time.

Teri:This is one of the most powerful teams that I know of, and so we wanted to really dig into what it means to operate a team, why the team vision. Basically, there’s a lot of things; branding, marketing, where the Divas are going, the whole thing. We’re going to try to cram as much good stuff in as possible. 

Kim:Oh, I love it. Oh, awesome. An intense, short, powerhouse conversation, Teri.

Teri:Yeah, and we’re going to pray to hell that this is recording properly. Let’s dig in. First of all, Chavi, I’m so glad that you’re joining us, too, because you are a team. 

Chavi:Yes, we are. 

Kim:We are a team.

Teri:It’s not one diva. It’s the Divas. 

Kim:No, it’s not one diva. It’s definitely the Divas. 

Teri:Right, so why don’t we start with Chavi. First of all, you just watched your wife up on a panel.

Chavi:It was amazing. 

Teri:What did you think?

Chavi:Kim did a really great job really articulating that we’re not a traditional team. Beyond the fact that we’re a married, lesbian couple, blah, blah, blah, but I think outside of that, we really believe in developing talent. One of our – I think one of the deep passions I don’t think we’ve had much of a chance to talk about is that we want this next generation of real estate agents to be – to have the work ethic like the divas do, and really be committed to the client experience, and make sure that anything we can do to not go back to this recession, whatever happened at the recession as an individual agent. We want to grow agents that are top producers who have the ethics engrained in them. That’s one of the key things. I think that’s why we’re so passionate about this. 

Kim:Yeah, and I think it’s interesting. In that conversation that we just had about teams, there was a lot of dialogue about team structure,  and assistance, and job descriptions. That stuff’s all important. There was none of conversation about what kind of personality do you want to bring on your team, and what kind of clarity and vision do you have in the sense that you’re growing your team. It’s not just about adding assistants. We get so caught up in that, “I need an assistant. I need an assistant.” 

Teri:Well, and someone just came up and said, “Okay, so is it time for me to add an assistant?” Yeah. 

Kim:Right, there’s nothing wrong with adding an assistant. 

Chavi:An assistant is an amazing status.

Kim:It is.

Teri:It’s like getting a nice car. I also have an assistant. 

Kim:Right, but that’s the thing. An assistant’s not just a nice car. It’s not an inanimate object that just accomplishes a goal. It’s part of your team, and that person, regardless of the task they’re doing, still has to buy in and understand who they’re working for, what you’re trying to accomplish, and what their role is in everyone accomplishing that. I think that’s really hard for single agents who are growing their teams to go, “I’m an agent, and now I have an assistant, and now we’re a team.”

Teri:I think you guys have started in the right place, which is you’ve you’ve incorporated. 

Kim:Yeah, we did. We’re LLC.

Teri:Now, you’re operating as a company. I think that’s a very different thing. 


Kim:It is. 

Chavi:We’ve been a company now since 2010, so this’ll be – we’re almost at our fifth anniversary as a company when it was just Kim’s and mI. 


Chavi:No one gives you this – I say this all the time, “No one gives you the power of Lady Wilderbrook of how to be successful.” No one tells you about bookkeeping. No one tells you how you have to compensate your individual – all that stuff. You just don’t get that. 

Teri:That’s exactly right, and that’s why we’re doing these interviews, too. It’s the same thing. You feel so bad for people who are coming in and don’t really know how the hell to build anything. That’s why we come to these conferences. That’s why you’re sitting on a panel. Unfortunately, you can’t go all the way in. You did touch on something that I know we both are really passionate about, which is the branding marketing side, the vision and the mission. Why don’t you refresh us what we were talking about on the panel, and then we’ll expand on that idea. 

Kim:We were just talking about how you approach adding a member to your team. I think there’s two different perspectives. If you’re a single agent, and you’re the lone wolf single agent, and you always want to be the lone wolf single agent, then just hiring an assistant is fine. As an assistant, they do tasks for you. It’s a task-oriented job. They’re there to help you and promote you. If you want to build a team, and if building that team and in building that team, whether it starts with an assistant or a buying agent, which I don’t like that term, whatever the term is, you need to understand whether you’re a single person or whether like Chavi and I are a couple building a team. 

What is our brand? What is our values that we hold as core values as a part of our team? We’re community-oriented. That has to be important that the person that works for us understands and values the efforts we put into raising money for the community and doing things within the community. 

Teri:Right, so can we just define for a moment just for people who aren’t familiar? We all know it because we talk about this all the time, but brand for us is the overall experience. 

Kim:Yeah, it’s the overarching experience; go ahead.

Chavi:Yeah, so basically we have a Team Diva brand. We have Diva Dwellers, Diva Dwellings, and we have Diva Devotees. Those are our friends and clients who probably have not yet bought a house, but they are committed. 

Kim:They aren’t ready, right.

Chavi:Part of that – and last year during our team retreat, one of the biggest things that came out of everyone was, “What is the first thing you think of when you think of Team Diva?” They said, “Community.” I think a little bit on the panel they were like, “Oh, your gay community?” I’m like, “No, we mean this broader Seattle community of people that are around us.” 

During the recession, one of the things that Kim and I did really early on is and used a lot of social media to do this is that we connected – we were like, “Okay, so our graphic designer is working a little bit with us. We can’t support him full-time, but this nonprofit needs someone to do this event,” and so trying to make those connections between small businesses and nonprofits.

Kim:Nonprofits, our community, ourselves, and just broaden the web of people who are interconnected. 

Teri:I love it. 

Chavi:That’s part of our Devotee group of people. Even on Facebook, we have a private group just for our Diva Dwellers and Devotees. These are people that we can have –

Teri:That’s smart.

Kim:Special connections and special conversations with about things that we’re doing that are beneficial – that are really just special for them. 

Teri:Now, some agents approach that as their, “I can sell like crazy.”

Chavi:No, that’s not what it is.

Kim:No, we rarely ever talk about selling things. 

Chavi:One really good example, we have several clients that are drag queens. Facebook just recently took away all drag queen names. Just from a cultural standpoint, if you’re not versed really well into the history of gay culture, you don’t necessarily understand that by making these people have their “real names” is adding them in a public sphere where in some states, they could lose their jobs and have this other impact.

Kim:It was a huge impact, not just on them, on a lot of other types of performers. 

Chavi:Yeah, transgender people, burlesque, even people who are hiding from domestic violence abuse. Basically, Facebook just said, “That’s irrelevant to us. We want your legal name.” We use that Devotee and Diva Dweller to say, “Sylvia Ostafemore and Donatella Howell are not only Diva Dwellers, but they support you guys. They support our events. They volunteer their time at your nonprofits. They are part of our community, and right now they’re under attack. We need to support that.”

Teri:We need to rally. 


Teri:I love that. That actually speaks, I think very strong to your brand. I think everyone who knows you or has experienced you in any way gets this extreme sense of – you just sort of get wrapped into the Diva experience. 

Kim:We call it being part of – we call it the Diva board sometimes.

Chavi:Yeah, this Diva Land.

Kim:Brand for us is all about community, but it’s also about, “What do we want to accomplish on a business standpoint?” Not everyone’s business goals are the same. We have a business goal that’s really focused on awesome houses, awesome people, and making sure that community is part of everything that we do; building strong communities, improving the communities in Seattle, and supporting the communities. 

Teri:It sounds lovely. It really does. It sounds really pretty and really nice, and I feel really good about that but, oh my God, you guys are really super-savvy business women. 

Kim:Well, yeah. 

Chavi:Community is houses. When you buy a house, a small – like a first-time home buyer buy a house, or if you – 

Kim:You’re building – you’re improving the community. 

Chavi:If you help someone who’s condo hasn’t quite recovered from the market, but it’s been six years now and they just need to move on, that’s community. We’re doing advocacy work for these people. 

Kim:People lose track of the fact the home ownership is not just about buying and selling a piece of property. It’s about bringing people into a community that they’re now part of because they own that house on that street in that block in that neighborhood. Everything that’s part of that neighborhood now, they’re a part of. 

That’s what home ownership is about for us. When we were looking at the recession and working in this tough market of 2008 and beyond until things started to transition, one of the things Chavi and I really talked about is you know what? People don’t want to talk about buying and selling houses, but they do want to talk about making their community a better place. They do want to talk about supporting their local businesses. 

Teri:Or their own livelihood. 

Kim:Or their own livelihood if they’re a local business. They do want to hear about how they can help a nonprofit or if they work for a nonprofit, what we can do as a community to support that nonprofit. That’s a broader issue that helps us translate into home ownership is about this community. 

Chavi:From a production level, like right now, our team is the highest producing team in the Coldwell Banker BAIN network in the city of Seattle. 

Teri:Amazing. Say that one more time. Highest producing team.

Chavi:Highest producing team – and individuals and/or team in the city of Seattle. We’re not talking about the larger BAIN network but definitely in the city of Seattle right now. 

Teri:That’s really remarkable.

Kim:I think one of the reasons why we’re able to have that production is because we are so clear in who we are and what we represent. 

Teri:It’s about – which I wanted to get to that. Who are you? What do you represent? Do you have those values laid out?

Kim:We do. We have values laid out. Obviously, we’re a lesbian couple. Obviously, we’re supportive of that community, but it’s not beyond that. 

Teri:It’s a very large differentiator. 

Kim:It is. Maybe in Seattle, it’s not as large but other places, it would be really large. For us, it’s not so much about that we’re a lesbian couple, or that we’re a gay couple and we support the gay community. It’s more about that fact that we are really urban-focused. We’re really clear on our brand image, not just our brand culture. We have a very clear, defined brand that we represent out in the community as Team Diva. 


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