FOR THIS 34 YEAR VETERAN OF THE REAL ESTATE BUSINESS, SETBACKS ARE JUST A COMPANION TO SUCCESS
BY AMANDA McCOY • PHOTOS BY ROBERT NUZZIE
Even a cursory glance at the resume of Lisa Poggi, the broker of record and manager of the Douglas Elliman office in Hoboken, would showcase the successes and recognition she’s attained over the course of a 34 year career. She’s worked with high profile clients, including Eli Manning and Geraldo Rivera, has sold more than $1.3 billion in real estate, and has closed record breaking deals, including a $6.5 million home sale in Weehawken, a $3.5 million condo sale in Hudson Tea, and another for $3 million at W Hoboken. In 2004, Poggi was named Marketing Director of the Year by the Community Builders Association, and most recently, she and her team was presented with the Platinum Award at the 2020 Ellies Conference (for being in the top four percent of performers at the company). Today, there’s a long list of industry greats who will sing her praises, and though she’s built a career any young agent would dream of, that doesn’t mean her journey to the 9th Floor at 221 River Street wasn’t without its challenges.
A New Jersey native, Poggi grew up at a time when it wasn’t routine for women to pursue higher education. She developed her work ethic at a young age had her first job when she was 12 pumping gas at her father’s station. After high school, she got a job with a local law firm. It wasn’t until the mid-1980s, though, after a push from her parents that the young professional decided to pursue a path in real estate.
“I was working as a paralegal in the real estate division of a leveraged buyout firm at the time, and my parents, who had recently relocated to Florida, decided to begin their third career, in real estate,” explained Poggi. “It was a time when everyone was making money in the industry. They told me I should get my license. With so many people moving from New Jersey to Florida, they knew I could make money on referrals.”
Poggi started on this new pathway as a part timer. She and her first husband got their licenses at the same time, but when she gave birth to their first child in 1991, she decided to stay home and work with her husband as a member of his team. “This was way before the concept of a real estate team existed,” she said.
Two years later, Poggi, now a mother of two, was working part time for Denise Flanagan, one of the top producers at Coldwell Banker. Her responsibilities were mostly clerical composing flyers, coordinating open houses, and doing a host of other back office duties. Then in 1994, Poggi’s boss, impressed by her assistant’s aptitude, offered to bring her on as a full time agent.
“In this industry, you can’t make any money as a part time agent,” she said. “So I knew this was an opportunity to grow my own business. And that’s exactly what I did.”
From there, things developed quickly. The hungry young agent successfully began to build her business in residential resales, and in 1998 was approached with an opportunity to lead the sales department for a new collection of luxury properties with one of Coldwell Banker’s builder clients, Roseland Property Company. Just four years after becoming a full time agent, Poggi was leading an entire division as the director of sales and marketing. “I went from working with a team to supervising that same team,” she said.
Early in the new century, new construction projects began winding down, and sales were coming to an end. Moving forward, Poggi’s job duties would involve mostly rentals, and the experienced resale broker needed to decide what her next move would be.
“I remember having a conversation with my boss, Carl Goldberg, and he said that while I could stay in rentals, he would support me if I wanted to find a job in the for sale market, because that’s where my experience was.”
Poggi was professionally conflicted, but a 2000 trip to an active adult conference in Detroit cleared up any confusion regarding where her passion resided.
“I was so impressed with one of the speakers, Cheryl Palmer from Del Webb [the leading builder of active adult communities for those 55 and older],” said Poggi. “She spoke about these communi ties and the impending wave of baby boomers, including how to market them. On the plane ride home, I thought to myself, ‘I’m a trailing edge baby boomer, I understand this market. I should listen to Carl’s advice and see what else is out there. This business gets me so energized, and I just don’t know if I could get that same challenge from the rental market.’”
Poggi was hired by Pulte, an active adult home builder, as the director of sales and marketing. As fate would have it, her new employer acquired Del Webb only six months later.
“I’m now a part of the operations team, flying all around the country to tour Del Webb communities. I even got to meet Cheryl Palmer, the woman who inspired me.”
There, she was given the opportunity to complete the Pulte Top Gun training program (at a time when only one to two candidates per year were accepted), and in 2003, when Pulte was absorbed by a larger New Jersey division, Poggi was made a vice president of sales and marketing and moved from Pulte Lifestyles to Pulte Metro. One year later, there was a change in management, and Poggi was relieved of her duties.
Next, she managed the sales and marketing department at Beazer Homes in Trenton for a couple years, traversing the state three days a week to visit her developments. A call from a recruiter one she tried to ignore for months put her back in touch with Carl Goldberg, her former boss. The Roseland Property Group had recently partnered with Lennar, a large public builder, and he wanted Poggi on the project at Port Imperial. She accepted.
There was another management shakeup in late 2008, and Poggi’s position was collateral damage, but by the end of that year she had found a home with Douglas Elliman’s Sroka Worldwide Team, and has been riding a wave of success ever since. Today, the broker of record primarily works in residential resales her first love in real estate. She oversees the residential sales team and any new development projects for Douglas Elliman New Development Marketing in New Jersey.
Looking back on this journey, Poggi said she feels humbled, and grateful to the numerous people who helped her along the way, like Goldberg, her parents, and her former boss with Pulte, Ken Simons. One of the most rewarding aspects of her current spot at the table, she said, is that she’s able to provide the same mentorship to the next generation of agents.
“What I enjoy the most is the ability to train and mentor new people in the business, people who come in with open eyes and are just as hungry as I was. It’s so motivating to be able to pass on the right way to do business.”
Still, even after three decades in the industry and with the onset of new technologies, the real estate veteran’s most salient advice hasn’t changed.
“This business is about building relationships, and all the technology and social media is certainly a part of it. But I don’t believe you can build a 34 year career based on your social media posts. I just don’t.”
The Lisa Poggi Team
Douglas Elliman / 221 River Street,
9th Floor, Hoboken 201.721.8610 /