Coldwell Banker Warburg's New Regional Vice President Kevelyn Guzman Talks Future NYC Trends, Secrets of Success and More

As Kevelyn Guzman takes the reins as the new Regional Vice President for Coldwell Banker Warburg in January 2024, it will mark a new chapter for the Manhattan-based brokerage. Coldwell Banker Warburg (formerly Warburg Realty) has been at the forefront of New York City luxury real estate for more than 100 years.

The real estate industry veteran and NYC native has spent over 16 years at Coldwell Banker Warburg, most recently as COO, steering the firm through several ups and downs – the financial crisis of 2008-2009, a rebuild of the company’s IT infrastructure, the pandemic and in 2021, the rebranding of the firm under the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury program. (Coldwell Banker Warburg was the first Coldwell Banker company to be fully branded under that Global Luxury brand.)

Kevelyn Guzman | Photo Credit: Coldwell Banker Warburg

“I’ve been privileged to witness this company's growth and evolution,” said Guzman, who plans to build a new leadership team in the new role. Guzman has been at the center of many of the company's changes, but she has perhaps been most influential in building agent relationships and setting them up for success in the hyper-competitive Manhattan real estate market. Frederick Warburg Peters, who founded the company in 1991 and now serves as President Emeritus in his new role, called Guzman "brilliant" and "innovative," and hailed her 21st-century approach as a natural evolution of Coldwell Banker Warburg. “Kevelyn’s intelligence and creativity leave no doubt that she will continue to lead our company at the forefront of New York’s luxury brokerages,” he said. “I will be there in the office, counseling agents on their deals and cheering Kevelyn on every day.” Kamini Lane, President and CEO of Coldwell Banker Realty, also praised Guzman as “a natural leader who has a passion not just for supporting her business and agents, but also the industry at large." 

Guzman recently spoke with the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury editorial team about what drives real estate success in New York City and her future plans for Coldwell Banker Warburg.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryCongratulations on the news of your promotion to Regional Vice President of Coldwell Banker Warburg. As you reflect on your time with Warburg, what have been your proudest moments?

Kevelyn GuzmanReflecting on my time with Warburg, I'd say my proudest moments have been successfully navigating through challenging times like the financial crisis of 2008-2009 and the recent pandemic. It is never easy closing offices and laying people off. We believe that our people are the core of our business. Additionally, driving innovation and growth by enhancing our IT infrastructure, launching WarburgU, transitioning to Coldwell Banker Warburg in 2021, and rebranding CB Warburg under CBGL were all significant milestones. But truthfully, I am proudest of the relationships I've built with our agents and staff over the last 16 years. I've always believed in creating a culture where people feel heard, respected, accepted and included.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryYou flipped the brokerage model by viewing agents as the clients. Can you talk about why that was such an important switch to make, and the impact it had on company culture and agent morale?

Kevelyn GuzmanIt was crucial to view agents as clients because it shifted the focus to prioritize the agents' success. This change positively impacted company culture and agent morale by fostering a sense of support, empowerment, and partnership. We did this by coming up with innovative marketing campaigns that set our firm apart by elevating the white glove service. We also consistently assure them that they'll have someone they can reach out to for answers in person, as opposed to relying solely on remote support. In that way, we set ourselves apart from other firms, where agents often don't even know the name of the person assisting them or if that person truly understands the local market they operate in.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryYou have an open-door policy with your agents. What was the last piece of advice you dispatched?

Kevelyn GuzmanThe last piece of advice I offered to an agent was: “Always prioritize building strong relationships with your clients. Trust and rapport are the foundations of success in real estate.”

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryWhat is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Kevelyn GuzmanThe most valuable advice I've ever been given is to prioritize a healthy work-life balance that places importance on family and nurturing healthy relationships. Taking breaks and having time for personal pursuits can boost productivity and creativity when individuals return to work. A well-rested and content person is often more efficient and innovative. A balanced life contributes to better physical health and long-term happiness and this can have a positive impact on one’s personal life and career.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryWhat originally drew you to a career in real estate?

Kevelyn GuzmanI interned at a property management company at the age of 21 and that sparked my interest in real estate. I’ve been on both sides of the table. I was blessed to have a great agent when I bought my house, and I couldn’t have done it without him. I know the importance of having an agent who cares about what they do and is knowledgeable. That’s what our agents at Coldwell Banker Warburg embody. Our agents are finding someone a home, a place for them to build a family or create a sanctuary. Real estate is a relationship-based business, and I love building and sustaining those relationships.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryWhat is your mantra for life?

Kevelyn GuzmanMy life mantra is "Empower and Elevate." I believe in empowering individuals to reach their full potential and elevating their success, both personally and professionally. I like to see everyone win. I know how I feel when I know I am surrounded by people who support me and want to see me win.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryYou spearheaded the introduction of New York City’s “What Moves Her” chapter, an initiative that focuses on fostering unity, providing support, and creating opportunities for women. Can you talk about why this advocacy group is so near and dear to your heart? What does it mean for CB Warburg to play a pivotal role in this organization?

Kevelyn GuzmanThe "What Moves Her" chapter is close to my heart because it aims to foster unity, support, and opportunities for women in all industries. Coldwell Banker Warburg's involvement is essential as it demonstrates our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion while helping women advance in real estate. Times that stand out to me were when I was starting a family and experiencing those changes and then going through a divorce, and once again, treading uncharted waters.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryHow do you see this group’s efforts playing into the luxury sector, with more affluent women accumulating wealth and wielding purchasing power in recent years?

Kevelyn GuzmanI see this advocacy group's efforts as a great fit for the luxury sector. With more affluent women gaining wealth and making significant purchasing decisions, it's essential to have a strong presence and support system for women in real estate. By doing so, we not only embrace diversity and inclusion but also tap into a growing market segment. It's a smart move that aligns perfectly with the evolving landscape of luxury real estate.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryWith NYC’s longstanding status as the global epicenter of luxury, what are some local market trends you’re seeing that could eventually make it to the rest of the country and world?

Kevelyn GuzmanNew York City sets many trends in the luxury market. Currently, we're observing a growing demand for eco-friendly and sustainable luxury properties, as well as a preference for smart homes and wellness features. These trends could eventually influence the broader real estate market in the country and worldwide.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryAs we move into 2024, what is your vision for Coldwell Banker Warburg?

Kevelyn GuzmanColdwell Banker Warburg will continue to lead the industry and set the bar for others. But my vision extends beyond maintaining the status quo. While preserving our heritage, I bring a forward-thinking perspective that is vital in today's dynamic business landscape. So, my primary mission for the year ahead is to create more business opportunities for our agents. Their achievements are integral to our overall growth and success, and I am devoting myself to actively exploring new avenues, forging strategic partnerships, and implementing innovative strategies that will directly benefit their business. In addition to our internal efforts, I am also focused on expanding our presence and overall impact within the community we serve. While we will continue to build strong business relationships, we will also strive to give back and advance the well-being of the people and institutions around us. Finally, I am dedicated to embracing new technologies, strategies, and opportunities to ensure that we remain at the forefront of innovation. And further, to upholding the high standards of quality, integrity, and a culture of excellence innovation that defines our legacy.


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