7-24 * Wisdom from Judi Keenholtz


Hello WomanUP!® Community!


Our Friday show kicked off with some virtual event announcements from Debra. Did you hear we are having a WomanUP!® World built on our own private "virtual" island?


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Next, Leslie shared her economic update. (See below!)


After the updates, our leaders dove into a WomanUP!® WaveMaking Wisdom chat with Judi Keenholtz, Founder and former President, CEO, CFO, and Chairman of the Board of Empire Realty Associates, now named EC2002.


Click the image below to watch the replay.

Prefer to watch it on YouTube? Click here.

Leading In Times of Crisis Series Q+A


Judi Keenholtz has an extensive and varied resume as a top-level executive in the real estate industry. Her expertise in starting, building and operating successful companies in all related markets has resulted in long-term shareholder returns and increased company value. She is consistently committed to creating, among her colleagues, an environment of trust and respect, and a passion to innovate and learn.


After founding Empire Realty Associates in 2002, now named EC2002, Judi held the positions of President, CEO, CFO, and Chairman of the board. Empire was uniquely self-capitalized with 35 shareholders. She then spearheaded the sale of the company to Pacific Union International in 2017. Prior to her tenure at Empire, she served as executive vice president and director of SOMA Living real estate, with GMAC as venture partners (2000 –2002), started and presided over Pacific Union Residential Brokerage of Contra Costa (1989 –2000), and was Senior Vice President at Coldwell Banker (1984-1989).


In recognition of her intuition, creativity and skill in negotiating corporate contracts, start-ups, mergers and acquisitions, her responsibility as a fiduciary, her role as a strategic advisor to independents and originator of the artisan group, she has been honored with the “Woman of Distinction” award by the East Bay Business Times. Judi was also named “Woman Entrepreneur of the Year” by the Woman’s Initiative.


Judi is a graduate of New York University and Queens College, where she was named to the dean’s list and received the founder’s day award for academic excellence.


Judi is married and resides in Orinda, California and Incline Village, Nevada. She enjoys traveling, reading, hiking and the performing arts. She continues to look to the future, contributing to the growth and prosperity of new leaders in this dynamic marketplace.



Q1: What do you believe is the biggest opportunity for leaders right now?

The leadership model has evolved, and now more than ever, and for real, it's not just about your Executive team. Now more than ever, this is about inclusive decisions reaching to the edges of the company. Now more than ever, culture is an investment, and the value of collaboration impacts daily strategy and execution. As our landscape changes, work with your team to set objectives for competing today and tomorrow. We are in a perfect industry for hope and the American dream!



Q2: How about the biggest CHALLENGE?

Being authentic and vulnerable at the same time is not easy for leaders who are BOLD. The tendency is to be stoic and "in charge." There is a power in vulnerability. It's OK to make mistakes. Emotionality is part of our new workplace. Be authentic like never before. Fears are amplified. Now is the time to lean into your values and those your share with your company.



Q3: What advice and resources are you sharing the most?

Be a perpetual learner and connect with your peers regularly. Stay abreast of everything you can in the real estate space and the news. I enjoy checking into other industries to see how they are dealing with employees, bricks and mortar, SBA loans, and forecasts for the future. I just revisited one of me favorite books entitled "Servant Leadership" by James Hunter. He speaks of needs vs. wants, and what's necessary for the well-being of a human being.


My best advice is to share information openly and be a constant reader yourself.



Q4: What tips do you have for leaders on how to communicate effectively right now?

Be flexible and work with your team to create a new exciting action plan for this new world. Give attention, appreciation, and encouragement. Report discoveries. Communicate often by using the technology available to all of us. Continue social events on-line. Have some fun! I can't stress the importance of authenticity and humility. We are in an unsure time. Express openness. Create new arenas for success. Great ideas come from many.



Q5: What is your advice for leaders who are struggling?

Check in with your bankers and accountants. Understand your numbers and obligations. Carefully make financial decisions and reduction of expenses, while keeping growth in mind.


Develop momentum for today and for the future with guiding principles and the values of your culture. Culture is not a cost item. Develop a positive path for naysayers, by working around obstacles.


Look for opportunities and different ways of engaging and creating value. Keep recruiting and understand that culture and a vision of the future are key attractors to you and your company. Keep your team close.


Additional Words of Wisdom

It's OK to make mistakes. Make the best decision you can at the time. Making tweaks is not a weakness. Celebrate short term wins. Continue to be BOLD, and AGILE. Over communicate and listen. Empower individuals to act. Engage with your team for solutions, respecting their emotions and dignity. Challenge yourself to find creative solutions. Take care of your physical and mental being using all the resources available to us. Be well! Read. Workout. Share information. Find opportunities. Take care of your people. Use judgement, not old rules. Recognize humanity.

Did you miss a past episode of our Weekly UPdates + Wisdom show? No worries, we've got them all HERE.



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