The mastermind behind the expansion

The team’s first CEO, Julia Spillman, is credited with whipping the back office into shape and plotting the team’s moves to LA and Miami

September 01, 2019 01:00 PM

Julia Spillman (Photo by Guerin Blask)

Before there was Julia Spillman, the Eklund-Gomes universe was, well, a little disorganized.

Spillman joined the team in 2016 as the sales director for the 98-unit condo 1 Seaport and quickly began combing through the team’s project database. “It was really messy,” but the team was “sitting on a gold mine of data,” she recalled, noting that she wanted to use it to target former clients who might be ready to trade up.

Read the full story: The Eklund and Gomes roadshow

It worked. More than 75 percent of the tower’s units were pre-sold, she said. And in 2017 — after taking on more and more jobs for the team’s two leaders, John Gomes and Fredrik Eklund — she was named the group’s first CEO.

In the time since, the Kentucky native — who started her career in the residential lending divisions of HSBC and Merrill Lynch in Tampa before relocating with her husband to New York and joining Ariel Cohen’s team at Douglas Elliman — has been credited with getting the team’s back office into shape.

She is now a partner and oversees daily operations, budgets and hires. Oh, and she’s also the mastermind behind the team’s current national expansion plan.

“I call her a superwoman and genius,” said Fredrik Eklund. “Without her, we could never, ever have done this.”

And Spillman is clear about her role: “John and Fred have basically made me the queen of Eklund-Gomes,” she said.

When she took over, her goal was to push the team to crack $1 billion in annual sales nationally — a target that she says it exceeded.

To get the team organized, Spillman tapped her network of web developers and consultants from her banking days and outsourced the creation of a custom CRM (aka customer relationship management) system. She also streamlined the team’s database to feed leads to its resale agents.

At the time, Eklund and Gomes were separately gearing up for newborns — they each now have twin toddlers. Spillman did much of the legwork preparing to pitch their expansion plan to Elliman Chair Howard Lorber.

Like Eklund and Gomes, she is compensated based on commission splits from the team. And the three say they all must agree on major decisions.

Hunie Kwon, an agent who’s worked on the team since 2010, recalled how high the team turnover used to be.

“What Julia brought was that structure,” she said. “Now it’s essentially a business within a business. And it’s run very much like a corporation.”


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