Seven agents jump ship from ONE Sotheby’s to Elliman

Ceci Samaja, Joan Andre, Rosi Borroto, Kathleen Morris, Marisa Chisena, Rose Harris and Marlene de Cespedes Coconut Grove credit Oliver H
From left: Ceci Samaja, Joan Andre, Rosi Borroto, Kathleen Morris, Marisa Chisena, Rose Harris and Marlene de Cespedes on an aerial photo of Coconut Grove (Credit: Creative Commons user Oliver H.)

Douglas Elliman has brought on seven new hires from ONE Sotheby’s International Realty to join Elliman’s new Coconut Grove office. 

Senior directors of luxury sales Ceci Samaja, Rose L. Harris and Rosi Borroto; directors of luxury sales Marlene De Cespedes and Marisa Chisena; and business partners and broker associates Kathleen Morris and Joan André all joined Elliman. Many of the agents told The Real Deal that they were looking to grow and Elliman offered that support.

Meanwhile, a ONE Sotheby’s spokesperson told TRD that three agents from Douglas Elliman have joined the firm over the last month: Sandra Osorio, Oliver Ruiz and Avidan Edelsberg.

Daniel de la Vega, president of ONE Sotheby’s, said in a statement provided to TRD that turnover in the industry is “pretty common. We see agents leave but we also see many of our agents return. This is what makes real estate so exciting and motivating and I love being a part of it. … I wish all former ONE Sotheby’s International Realty agents well and the door is always open for them to return.”

Elliman’s office at 950 Southwest 27th Avenue is temporary until the company moves into a permanent space at Park Grove, a planned three-tower luxury condo development in Coconut Grove. Ceci Samaja told TRD part of the reason she went to Elliman was because her colleagues had left. “I had been watching and watching [Douglas Elliman]. I liked their energy. I like the marketing,” Samaja said. She also purchased a unit at Park Grove, and is looking forward to her short commute.

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Samaja was with ONE Sotheby’s for six years before she left in December, and was looking for a change, especially without a competing owner-broker, she said. “We pay for our own services here so we are in control of our leads,” Samaja said. “That doesn’t mean that one company is good or one is bad.”

Rose Harris, who focuses on the luxury sector of the market, told TRD she will spearhead Elliman’s Coral Gables office when it opens later this year. Harris merged her firm with ONE Sotheby’s when she joined about six years ago, and said she decided to work at Elliman because of the company’s professionalism and focus on agents.

Jay Phillip Parker, CEO of Douglas Elliman Florida, said in a press release that “they all share a common thread working with ONE Sotheby’s where they thrived.”

In mid-2015, Douglas Elliman executives Gus Rubio, Eloy Carmenate and Mick Duchon all left ONE Sotheby’s and joined Douglas Elliman, as did several agents. When Rubio announced his departure in April, he told TRD that he was joining Elliman because of the company’s substantial growth during its 11 years operating in South Florida. These most recent hires cited Elliman’s explosive growth and professionalism, and were looking to work under Rubio once again.

“I felt like I had a better chance to grow with Douglas Elliman,” Marisa Chisena told TRD, declining to comment further on why she left ONE Sotheby’s. Chisena, who focuses on condos and single-family homes, was with her previous employer for three and a half years, and before that with Coldwell Banker for 10 years.

De Cespedes joined in mid-January along with her business partner Rosi Borroto. “We wanted to offer our clients to be with the best innovative company and the best technology,” she said. “We pretty much knew that Elliman was our choice if we were going to leave Sotheby’s. … [Elliman] helps us get the support we need.”