• Michael Valdes

Valerie Fitzgerald, "No is the opening of a conversation"

Very rarely do I interview people I don't know well. However, we shared a mutual friend who recommended we speak, and I had met Valerie in the past through my days at Realogy and admired her career from afar. When we finally connected, the conversation flowed beautifully as though I were speaking with an old friend.

Her humility with which she recounted her humble beginnings of being a single mother and needing to "figure it out" was inspiring. The story of coming to a developer meeting with her infant daughter in tow, diaper bag, briefcase, and rushing into the meeting with her heel breaking, and then getting the listing because she said it just proved how tenacious she was has become one of my favorite stories of perseverance.

"No" is the start of a conversation.". This has always been a mantra of mine, and when Valerie said it, I knew we were kindred spirits. If someone is still talking to you, the deal is very much alive. Someone is exploring options in their mind. Unless they walk away or hang up on you, they are engaged.

Her vision of building a team organically is a great template for those wanting to grow in the business. Make a list of those things you don't want to do or don't have the time to do, and that becomes the job description for the role you need to hire. Such a simple formula ensures that the team is growing at the pace it needs to and is destined for greatness.

Valerie is a celebrated mentor and public speaker. She also was the star of "Selling LA", and as her career and brand grew, she always found time to give back. Not only to others in the industry but through her charity work. She was the co-founder of "Children Uniting Nations" which is an organization that helps place foster children in permanent homes, and she works tirelessly with Cedars Sinai Hospital.

Thank you, Valerie, for an inspiring conversation.

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