One Sotheby’s taps Compass alum Lena Johnson as CMO

Johnson says she’s focused on building internal transparency for agents

One Sotheby’s Names Compass Alum Lena Johnson CMO
One Sotheby’s Lena Johnson (One Sotheby’s International Realty, Getty)

One Sotheby’s International Realty named Compass alum Lena Johnson as its chief marketing officer, marking the firm’s second C-level appointment this year.

The Coconut Grove-based brokerage, led by mother-son duo Mayi and Daniel de la Vega, offered Johnson the role after she started consulting for them earlier this year, Johnson said. In her new role, Johnson will lead the brokerage’s marketing program with a digital-first approach to campaigns and data-driven strategies, according to a press release. 

Johnson, a Utah native, lived a Carrie Bradshaw fantasy in New York City before ever considering real estate. She moved to New York after college, landing a job at the fledgling media outlet, The Daily Beast. After three years, Condé Nast offered her a job with Vogue.

“When Vogue calls, you kind of go running,” she said.

She worked there for eight years as senior director of sales and marketing for the U.S., U.K. and France. 

“That’s where I learned how to sell, how to sell marketing concepts and build strategy,” Johnson said. “Vogue was really like my PhD in all things communication, marketing, management and really, leadership.”

Johnson also watched the legacy media behemoth of Vogue struggle to navigate the rough waters of a new, digital age dominated by Facebook (now Meta). She found herself competing for the marketing budgets of prestigious luxury brands, and wanted to get on the right side of the technological revolution, she said. Early Compass convert Leonard Steinberg encouraged her to consider a pivot to real estate. She joined the startup brokerage as head of marketing and founded its luxury division in 2018.

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Johnson left Compass in June of this year, and started consulting for other luxury real estate brokerages, including One Sotheby’s, she said. Her departure had little to do with Compass’ profitability challenges, she said. 

“I launched and founded their luxury division. For me that was really the endgame,” she said, emphasizing how she wanted to focus on the luxury side of the business. Now, she splits her time between her home in New York and the One Sotheby’s office in Miami. 

“It’s so refreshing, given what we’re seeing –– CEOs who are really dogged about getting everyone back in the office,” she said about One Sotheby’s geographical flexibility. 

Johnson noted one of her first priorities is transparency for agents.

“A lot of people feel that there’s not enough transparency,” she said, adding that she hopes to show agents, “how under the hood, we’re building things.” 

“[It’s about] putting our agents’ needs and what they’re telling us at the forefront,” she said. 

Johnson is One Sotheby’s second C-suite appointment this year, and the second one to focus on agents. In June, the brokerage promoted Taylor Travaglione to chief growth officer, a role dedicated to the recruitment and retention of agents.