AGENT SPOTLIGHT: ELOISE MIDDLETON, HIGHLAND PARTNERS' REALTOR AND RECENTLY APPOINTED BOARD MEMBER OF OAKLAND'S BELLEVUE CLUB
We enjoy highlighting our talented agents, especially when they are doing exciting work in our East Bay community. Eloise Middleton is doing just that! Eloise was recently voted onto the board at Oakland’s prestigious Bellevue Club. The Bellevue Club is Oakland’s premier social and fitness club in a stunning Beaux Arts building located on Lake Merritt. A member of the club for over two years, Eloise is now excited to work on the board to raise awareness about the club within the community.
Oakland is filled with striking architecture. The Bellevue Club is one example, and is on the National Registry of Historic Places. It is a beautiful Beaux Arts building with a gym that has exercise classes, cultural events, and one of Oakland’s largest pools. Eloise is looking forward to connecting the community to the Bellevue Club. “One thing about the Bellevue Club is that people are not aware of it, and if they are, the common misconception is that it is just for elderly people. However, it is for all ages of people. We want to bring more of Oakland to the club.”
The Bellevue Club's 25-yard heated pool is one of the East Bay's best-kept secrets. The fitness center includes treadmills, step machines, stationary bicycles, weight machines and free weights. Exercise classes include aerobics, step, yoga, Pilates and dance. They also offer spa treatments by appointment.
Not only does the club offer swimming and exercise classes, and social opportunities, but it is also a spectacular venue to host an event or party. Prior to becoming a member, Eloise initially hosted her husbands 60th birthday after attending an event at the club. She was impressed with the caterer and the success of her husband’s birthday celebration. She soon became a member, and ultimately a board member. Once aspect she wants to promote is the beautiful setting and social opportunities to be had. It is a stunning location to host parties, weddings or celebrations.
Eloise has been a Realtor for over 10 years, and has been with Highland Partners for over two years. Eloise likes working at Highland Partners, because she appreciates that “…everywhere I go people know the Partners and the agency—we have a great reputation and visibility in the community. I appreciate the marketing and support I get from the Partners.” She has lived in California nearly 30 years with her family, thus is an expert on the real estate market, area schools, and neighborhoods of the East Bay. Eloise enjoys connecting with and consulting her clients, “I love helping my clients accomplish the goal that they set. My clients are not just my clients, they become my family.” Eloise currently lives in Montclair and is located at our Montclair office. “I love working and living in the East Bay. Where I live and work is quiet and I can walk to anywhere in Montclair. I enjoy the diversity of the East Bay and the proximity to San Francisco, the South Bay, and Napa. I love helping my clients explore the area. Most neighborhoods have great weather and great walkability!”
Link here for more information about the Bellevue Club, and see their January calendar below for upcoming events!
Rosie Nysaether is a straightforward, focused and successful Realtor. She has been a top producing, award winning Realtor in the East Bay for years, and she plans to continue to do so for many more. Rosie has roots in our community and a heart for serving it and her clients.
Her determination and grit were skills acquired in her former career in broadcasting and print media and are invaluable to her current ability to help clients make optimal decisions, whether buying or selling a home. In broadcast news, she worked at the ABC-News affiliate in Washington, DC and later as an associate producer for the top CBS News program, "60 Minutes."
Rosie has since fallen in love with everything about California’s East Bay after moving here years ago, and appreciates that it is filled with people who are diverse in their background, culture, and professions. The varied architecture is also something she values. “The East Bay is rich in really interesting people, as well as architecture! I am always just salivating to go and look inside every house. I never get tired of looking at different houses or talking to different people here.”
As Realtors, we have a great life. We sell beautiful homes to families in a beautiful part of the world. However, right in our own city there are many who are less fortunate. I am always inspired to volunteer within our community.
Rosie has always volunteered with different organizations that are important to her, each for very personal reasons. A philanthropic cause close to Rosie’s heart is the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Walk, because both of Rosie’s sisters have had breast cancer. “All the research and focus on this disease has helped so many survivors and their families. I am honored to sponsor my friends who walk each year for those they love, and for continued hope.” Her desire to give back began while working at "60 Minutes" with an organization called Smile Train. Smile Train is an international non-profit organization that helps treat facial deformities such as cleft lips and cleft palates in children. One of the stories Rosie covered was to follow a group of doctors to South America where they performed cleft palate surgeries on children, at no charge. “That story left such an impression on me that today, I donate regularly, knowing that somewhere, I’ve helped a child smile.”
She also supports St. Elizabeth House, a transitional program for women with children who have experienced homelessness, violence, addiction, and/or poverty; and her book club delivers gifts to a family through Family Support Services of the Bay Area during the holidays.
Thanks to Rosie, our Highland Partners’ team will be volunteering with Alameda County’s Food Bank this fall! We will be assisting them package and prepare the much needed food products for families and food kitchens. (If you are interested in joining us on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 from 8:30am-11: 30am, please email us directly here.) If you would like to learn more about the Food Bank, or to make a donation, link here. Every dollar coming in to the Food Bank results in six dollars of food being distributed in our community.
MEET HIGHLAND PARTNERS' NEWEST TEAM MEMBERS: KATIE BLATNEY, ANGELA PSUIK, DAN SILVERT, ELISABETH WATSON AND LESLIE WHITNEY.
Recently a dynamic cohort of agents joined Highland Partners. Katie Blatney, Angela Psuik, Dan Silvert, Elisabeth Watson, and Leslie Whitney are now a part of our team!
They range in their specialties within real estate, as well as their experience level within the industry. The new team members' backgrounds are from a variety of different disciplines that deepen our company’s resources as a whole. This group brings a unique perspective to the company and has livened up the Highland Partners' mentoring program. Each person has a unique skill set that they have shared with the rest of the team while they are honing their craft with a seasoned mentor. They're gaining knowledge from the top producers at Highland Partners, while also adding value to the entire company.
We recently caught up with them to find out what they enjoy most about joining Highland Partners and our mentor program, as well as what they love about doing real estate in the East Bay.
JOINING HIGHLAND PARTNERS
At Highland Partners, I love that they let you be yourself and utilize your unique skills. For example, I come from a background in the entertainment industry, so I like to make each open house as glamorous as a red carpet event or an intimate soiree. Angela Psuik
At Highland Partners, we take the process of hiring new team members seriously. We want to make sure that it is as beneficial to them as it is to the company and to our clients. This is why we encourage people to explore different agencies to find the right fit. Leslie agrees, “Interview with everyone! You get certain vibes from different agencies and you’ve got to trust that. There are all sorts of different styles and it’s all about what’s comfortable for you.”
Being that everyone is unique, there were different things about the company which stood out to each new member. For Leslie it was about balance. “I first knew that I wanted to join Highland Partners when I saw that one of the Partners, Heidi Marchesotti, had an amazing work-life balance. I remember she told me that she never missed a Saturday soccer game! Having three children myself, that was very important to me.”
Angela was mostly drawn to Highland Partners for the mentoring opportunities and being a part of a dynamic team. “One of my first times in the office I happened to sit down next to a woman and ask her advice on something. She spent an afternoon with me and was extremely helpful. Later I learned that she was one of the top producing agents. Highland Partners cultivates a group of people who find value in helping people around them. I also like that they’re looking for dynamic people. They’re not just looking for the cookie cutter Realtor!”
HIGHLAND PARTNERS' MENTORING PROGRAM
I like that when my clients are working with me they aren’t just getting one agent. They are getting an entire team. I utilize the other agents and our resources to best serve my clients. Elisabeth Watson
We believe that adding fresh energy to the company is beneficial to even the most seasoned top producing Realtors. As Dan acknowledges, we believe that “…adding value is a two way street.” The new cohort brings their unique skills to the company as a whole. As they all work closely with mentors, it is inevitable that their skill set will shape their mentors and the company as well. The mentoring process is designed to provide ongoing support and encouragement to ensure that every member of our team is meeting their goals and our clients' goals.
Dan was initially interested in Highland Partners specifically for the mentoring aspect of our agency. He began utilizing top producer Doug Sager as a mentor. “I found tons of commonalities with Doug. I knew he’d be a great person to learn from. His combination of being a top producing agent coupled with his humility is inspiring.”
Katie explains, “The open dialogue in the office is key. My colleagues are always willing to provide help and encouragement. They want you to succeed. And there is zero pretentiousness."
Partner Adam Betta is well known for being available to everyone. As Dan puts it, “His personal cell number is on his LinkedIn!” The Partners make themselves available to support every agent. Leslie notes that, “I have called all of the Partners at some point during a stressful time; they have always been within reach.”
WE LOVE THE EAST BAY!
Oakland and the East Bay really are unique! Leslie Whitney
Although diverse in their cultural background, career experience, and area of expertise, the new team members all share a commonality--they bring a love for and appreciation of the East Bay. We of course concur that the culture and food are amazing in the East Bay. Katie couldn’t agree more, “the food here is tremendous!” A few of the team favorites? Star Pizza, MUA, Chez Panisse, Make Westing, and Blondie’s Pizza, to name a few.
They each have spent years in the East Bay and understand the school systems, neighborhoods and real estate market. Elisabeth was President of the board of the Berkeley Public Library Foundation during their successful Capital Campaign for the new four branch libraries, is now its Treasurer and Chair of their Investment Committee, and continues to be actively involved in the community. "I have lived in the East Bay for 21 years and have a passion for it. I am invested in my community." This knowledge and passion is imperative for serving our clients.
MEET THE NEWEST MEMBERS OF HIGHLAND PARTNERS
Get to know the new agents of Highland Partners. We couldn't agree more with Dan who told us, “I am impressed with this cohort of agents. There is a crazy amount of intelligence and network of skills here!”
Angela Psuik utilizes her extensive marketing skills, experience and passion to exceed her client's goals.
An East Bay native, Angela graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Communications, and a BA in HR Management from Purdue Calumet. She brings years of experience in marketing and HR. Angela's experience within the entertainment industry also provides a propensity for bringing glamour to real estate. Angela utilizes her experience in the entertainment and event industry to create dynamic open houses!
As a self proclaimed marketing fanatic, she brings a successful track record within the real estate and finance industry. She creates lasting relationships with each client and helps them meet their goals.
Shelly Flynn approaches breast cancer like she approaches everything in her life, with determination and courage. At just 34 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. While living a full life and working in the mortgage industry, this came as quite a shock. Since statistically only 10% of women diagnosed with breast cancer are under 40, it was completely unexpected and daunting.
After winning the long (over 5 year) battle against breast cancer, Shelly believes that for her the key to fighting the disease was having a resolute outlook. Shelly did not let the disease defeat her in any way and refused to decide in advance what the cancer or treatments might prevent her from doing. Instead she was empowered by keeping up the routine of her daily work and personal life. That momentum carried her through. What also inspired her was a call to action to participate in a cause that was much bigger than she. Shortly after being diagnosed in 2007, Shelly’s oncologist recognized her incredible attitude and asked her to speak at the American Cancer Society’s annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in the Bay Area.
Shelly has been participating in this event since 2007. Beating cancer hasn’t stopped her from continuing to volunteer with this worthy cause that is close to her heart. She enjoys the atmosphere of the park while walking and raising funds. For her this is a reminder of her experience with cancer, that she is happy to be here and an opportunity to say thank you to the American Cancer Society. This year she decided to not only fundraise and walk, but to also create a Highland Partners team. Our team plans to make a difference by walking and raising money in the local American Cancer Society event Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in San Francisco on October 25th, 2014. The team’s goal is to raise a collective $10,000 to donate to the American Cancer Society. Link here for more information, to sign up to walk, or to donate to this worthy cause.
Saving lives from breast cancer starts with one team, one walker, and one dollar at a time.
The American Cancer Society is the leader in the fight to end breast cancer. One in every two women newly diagnosed with breast cancer reaches out to the American Cancer Society for help and support. They hold events all around the country to raise awareness and money for groundbreaking research, to provide free information and services for women diagnosed with the disease, and offer access to mammograms for women who need them.
Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is one such type of event. But it is not only a about fundraising; it is also a celebration of breast cancer survivorship. The donations raised from these events helped more than 2.9 million breast cancer survivors celebrate another birthday this year!
Everyone’s journey is unique and Shelly’s path was not easy. After much thought and consultation with her doctors, Shelly opted for a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation followed by five yeas of Tomoxofin. At a recent check up she was reminded of this experience and that she is free and clear of cancer! This entire experience reinvigorated Shelly to incorporate healthy lifelong habits of exercise into her life (she is now an exercise junkie!), has made dietary changes and has regular checkups. Most importantly it inspired her to give back to an organization that provided so much support for her.
“Screen! Screen! Screen! It is important for women to get regular breast exams and mammograms.” –Shelly Flynn
Shelly’s journey reinforced her confidence and strength. “I am a fighter not a victim and I see things through: in cancer, in my career and in my life in general.”
Shelly is an experienced real estate broker who does much work in Adams Point and throughout Oakland representing clients selling or purchasing property from condos to multi units. She enjoys supporting her clients in one of the biggest investments of their life. Her experience with financing, originating and brokering real estate loans has provided her with an excellent foundation for her current success as a broker. Shelly is licensed with the Bureau of Real Estate as both a salesperson and a broker. She has earned an AA in real estate, a designation with the Graduate Realtor Institute, both the certified New Home Specialist and Residential Construction Certified designations, and short sale certifications with Five Star Institute and Titanium Solutions. Shelly is a recipient of Highland Partners’ esteemed Top Producer Award of 2013. She is also a member of the Oakland Association of Realtors, the California Association of Realtors, and the National Association of Realtors.
Oakland is Shelly’s home. She loves the people, the diversity, the weather, AND the real estate. She has lived in different parts of Northern California including Ukiah, San Francisco, and even in Antigua, WI for a while with her mother when her mother was dying of cancer. But Oakland has her heart, and she happily lives here with her 3 year old boxer, Lucy. Since having Lucy, she has come to appreciate the East Bay even more because of the many amazing parks we have. Shelly rescued Lucy from the West Coast Boxer Rescue in Alameda and she is an avid supporter of this great organization. She also volunteers with our annual Boys and Girls Clubs of Oakland Day of Giving.
Not surprisingly, Shelly was initially drawn to Highland Partners because of our company culture of giving back to the community. “Highland Partners has a nurturing environment and a philosophy of giving back that speaks to me.” Shelly was excited to share this experience with her Highland Partners team and was overwhelmed at the response to this walk.
Our support is not only in encouragement of Shelly but for all of our staff who have been personally touched by cancer in some way. Partner Debbi DiMaggio is a survivor of thyroid cancer; she is grateful to be alive and have the opportunity to support others who are battling cancer. At just 30 years old, recently married and with her first child, Debbi was first diagnosed. She acknowledges that, "Cancer can hit you at anytime. It is so important for both men and women to have annual exams with their physician to screen for all types of cancer and other diseases." At Highland Partners, and in our community, almost everyone has been affected directly or indirectly by breast cancer or another form of cancer. We are honored to help this worthy cause and are providing support and team building through making the team’s T-shirts and promoting their fundraising efforts.
Join us during the event as we cheer on the Highland Partners’ team!
Donate to this worthy cause: Link here to help Shelly and the Highland Partners’ team raise funds for the American Cancer Society.
Join us in cheering on Shelly and the Highland Partners’ team at the event:
Making Strides of San Francisco
Saturday, October 25, 2014 8:30am
Hellman Hollow in Golden Gate Park: 50 Overlook Dr. San Francisco, CA 94122
If you know Doug Fuller, then you won’t be surprised to learn that he was voted East Bay and Oakland’s Best Realtor of 2014 in Oakland Magazine. Doug Fuller is that Realtor who you invite over for dinner just to catch up, months after you’ve purchased your home and settled into the neighborhood. He initially presents as an extremely successful and top producing Realtor (which he is), but he ends up being your friend. The friend who you call when you’re trying to find the perfect restaurant for a specific occasion and need a recommendation, or where to get the best craft cocktail in the area (his favorite is Oakland’s Bar Dogwood, if you’re wondering). Basically he is just a really great guy who excels at what he does, and who happens to be extremely cool.
It’s no surprise that he is well revered in the East Bay real estate industry—he knows it well after living here since the early 1990’s. Doug has experienced the many changes that have occurred in Oakland’s real estate market, and the community as a whole. He loves the excitement that the foodies, restaurateurs, and beer/cocktail enthusiasts have brought to Oakland. While he is often exploring the East Bay’s burgeoning restaurant scene, he also enjoys spending time with his family in their Montclair home. Doug invites family and friends over to have beer he brews himself, and cocktails shaken with his homemade bitters in his “Clown Bar” tucked away in his basement.
Doug first arrived to the Bay in 1990’s by way of Texas, Alabama, New York and Los Angeles, respectively. Although he doesn’t readily admit it, upon arrival, Doug first lived in San Francisco before realizing the bounty of the East Bay. Swayed by it being “…sunnier, more beautiful, better parking, and having better bread,” Doug quickly realized the East Bay was where one should purchase a home and build a life. (He loves Acme bread, for the record.) Doug bought his first home in Oakland’s Laurel district. He now lives in Oakland’s Montclair with his wife and their 10-year-old daughter, where they moved for “…the schools and the view!”
We were very nervous about starting the process of buying our first home in the hectic Bay Area market. From our first meeting with Doug to long after the close of our escrow, Doug was patient, informative, honest, and good-humored every step of the way. His thorough knowledge of the market coupled with his integrity and professionalism made what could have been a very stressful experience an exciting one.--John Teixiera and Kerry Gudjohnsen, Oakland
Doug has been with Highland Partners since our inception. In fact, he was one of the very first Realtors hired at Highland Partners. “I enjoy being at Highland Partners because I can be myself--I can be as unique as I want to be!” jokes Doug. “I also like that Highland Partners is a large, active office. We are communicating with one another when there are pocket listings. I have great resources to offer my clients through Highland Partners’ network.”
Like many Realtors, he had a successful career prior to discovering his passion for real estate. In a former life Doug excelled in the non-profit community. He was a housing advocate who managed low-income housing for a non-profit. This background gives Doug incredible insight into the market and the way in which communities are affected by housing trends. In 2003 he was inspired to pursue his career as a Realtor, and has been a successful agent ever since. Doug has been awarded for top production at Highland Partners in 6 of the past 7 years. His biggest year yet was 2012, when he closed 12 million in sales. This year he closed his most successful sale ever at $1.995m.
When he is not spending time with his family or a being top producing Realtor, Doug finds time to serve on the board of Oaktown Square Dancing, brew beer, and DJ lounge music. See? We told you he was cool—no wonder he has been selected the Best Realtor in the East Bay & Oakland!
To connect with Doug visit his website.
Agent Spotlight: Kristen von Bargen “LIVING, LOVING AND WORKING AS A REALTOR IN THE EAST BAY HAS BEEN A BEAUTIFUL EXISTENCE.”
Kristen von Bargen is a woman of many talents and interests. Although you may spot her piping around our office in snappy tartan heels - and she even had a stint playing her bagpipes as Piedmont High's Highlander LaCrosse team's mascot - it's the real estate industry that has stolen Kristen's heart. She blends these worlds with ease, having found her real estate home at Highland Partners, where she is a top producer.
Kristen had an idyllic existence growing up in Carmel with her family with the aspirations and determination to attend an Ivy League School. Then, it being the ‘70’s and an end of an era, “with no lifeguard on duty,” as she puts it, she found herself on her own instead of college bound as planned.
At Highland Partners, we believe that having an interesting life story makes for an amazing Realtor. Luckily for us, Kristen’s journey got even more interesting. She settled in Alameda and worked in the travel industry. She enjoyed being “on vacation for 18 years,” but always considered the East Bay her home. As Kristen puts it, “the Bay Area has so much juice--the incredible restaurants, the diversity, the weather!” No matter what remarkable area she visited around the world during her career, she always returned home.
“Kristen was the only agent who really listened to what I wanted. She made the whole transaction smooth and easy, explained options as we progressed, and negotiated diligently as we progressed. We never felt as if it was moving too fast or that we were not in the driver’s seat. We love our house, and would recommend her to anyone who needs someone who’ll take the time to truly listen to what they’re after, then have the ability and local knowledge to help them to get the place of their dreams!” – Mark and Heather T.
Kristen was the first person in her family to graduate from college. She graduated with top honors as a resuming student at age 33 from all women's Mills College. "It was easier to concentrate without any male distractions!" Her degree was in journalism, and she likens the real estate process to that of a story, gathering and compiling information to get her clients into their forever home. Kristen was also the first in her family to own a home, igniting her passion in matching people up with the right homes, and helping them to become homeowners as well. She was impressed with her agent's initiative, who told her not to be "intimidated by the asking price". Kristen knew, "I can do that!” and now she helps her clients do the same.
She is a natural at the intuitive negotiations necessary to achieve her clients' goals. She attributes it partly due to her international travel experiences and connections. “I was a natural when haggling in the markets while on holiday. I am a great bargainer.” After years of customer service in the travel industry, Kristen was also a natural at making clients feel at ease.
While working for another agency, Kristen admits that she was drawn to Highland Partners since our founding in 2009. “I used to think of Highland Partners as ‘the other man’. I enjoyed the agency that I was with, but I longingly looked at Highland Partners as an agency where the grass was greener.” Our international network, and the team-driven atmosphere appealed to Kristen. “I loved that everyone seemed to be a group of balanced people with well-rounded lives.” And well-rounded, she is. Not only does Kristen excel in her career as a top-producing agent, she also plays bagpipes, volunteers, writes screenplays, and enjoys spending time with her family.
It turns out that the grass was greener because Kristen joined us at Highland Partners. She enjoys being here and we love having her. “Everyone is very gracious and available. No one is stingy with their knowledge. While we have good-natured competition that pushes one another, it is collaborative and encouraging.”
“Although comparable homes were not selling, we were able to secure a solid offer in short order due to Kristen’s marketing strategy and her intimate knowledge of the real estate market. She is extremely familiar with the unique charm and quaintness of the homes in the area, and she knows how to make things happen.” – Jeff V.
Kristen truly enjoys real estate; she likes tending to people, guiding them through the often intense situation of buying or selling a home. She helps them to clarify all of the information in order to arrive at a successful outcome with as little strain as possible. She is conscious of this important responsibility, and is thoughtful and deliberate throughout the process. "I am very determined, and know how important getting into the right home was for me. I will find your home!"
She recently found what seemed the right home for buyers, but it wasn't on the market. She approached the owners with tact and care, and discovered that they wanted to sell, but without the usual rigmarole. She brought them an offer and a match was made - with both sellers and buyers having an ideal outcome. She attributes her success to her humility. We attribute it to her moxy and skill.
“Living, loving and working as a Realtor in the East Bay has been a beautiful existence. I love being around like-minded, forward thinking people. I love being able to play my bag pipes down the street of Montclair on St. Patrick’s Day with a cocktail in hand while my neighbors say hello and yell out requests! I think of Oakland as a person, there is just something about it that keeps me coming back. Although I have traveled the world, Oakland has my heart.”
Her heart is also with her family, children and animals. Kristen volunteers with her daughter’s school and the SPCA.
To connect with Kristen, visit her website and follow her musings on Instagram @KVB1.
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