She grew up in one of the city’s most successful real estate families, but don’t tell Elizabeth Ann Stribling-Kivlan that it was inevitable she would one day run the company.
“I grew up with a very successful mother in real estate, but everybody has their own dreams,” said Stribling, who took the reins of Stribling & Associates, the company her mother founded, in December last year.
“She’s always allowed me to succeed and fail in my own ways. She wanted me to want this for myself and not for her. She’s not a real estate stage mother.”
Young Elizabeth’s dream was to be a chef.
Her mother, ironically, had her eye on showbiz when she arrived in New York City in the early 60s after attending school in Europe.
Elizabeth Ann graduated from the College of the Holy Cross, then packed her bags and headed for San Francisco where she enrolled in culinary school.
She said she very quickly realized, “it was not what I wanted to do.”
With bills to pay and a rent check due, she used her good connections in the industry to jump into the California real estate scene.
“The day I started, was the day I realized there was nothing else I wanted to do,” she said.
Back in 2008 during an interview with this publication, Elizabeth Stribling recalled, “I always wanted to be an actress.ˮ A chance meeting at a party led her into a world recalled then as a time when, “tycoons would call up and I was dealing with incredibly successful people. Real estate seemed like a glamorous business to me. In those days you were the go between with the buyer and the seller, you really had to negotiate the deal yourself. There was something very rewarding and thrilling about that.”
As much as this mother and daughter are different, it seems they are also the same.
Despite an open door to one of the city’s most successful real estate companies, Elizabeth Ann started from scratch, working with a San Francisco broker who taught her the ropes in a city where, she said, she gained perspective on how people buy real estate, on both an emotional and financial level.
“I’m really glad I started out there,” she said. “I was an assistant, it was a lot of fun.”
But New York was home, so she did eventually return to join the family business.
“There’s nowhere else I would work,” she admitted. “Stribling is home and always will be. It wasn’t only logical, but where I wanted to work.”
Her mother was undoubtedly proud when she announced Elizabeth Ann would take on the role of president, saying at the time, “Stribling is more than a real estate company, it’s my home. That’s why it is such an honor to name my only daughter as president of the firm to continue my vision.
“She has proven herself as a remarkable leader within our company, and her forward thinking will continue to establish Stribling as one of the city’s top brokerage firms.”
Stribling credits her mother with being a calm, guiding force in her life. “Growing up New York was magical. It’s an incredible place to grow up. The world is at your fingertips.
“Technically, I’ve been in the business 11 years, but I feel like I’ve been in it my whole life. It was what I was used to and heard about at the dinner table every night,” she said.
Elizabeth Ann started at Stribling as a salesperson in 2003. From there, she became the sales director of the firm’s downtown office and then was named executive vice president of marketing and business development.
Since taking over as president, she has worked on the 1 Brooklyn Bridge Park project, an endeavor she calls a “defining moment” in her career.
“To watch a project from conception to the beginning of the sales process was incredible,” she said. Last year’s overhaul of the firm’s website into a sleek, interactive and personalized site was a success, earning the company a Webby Award nomination for best real estate website.
“We are independently owned, which is great because we can act on a dime if we want to change something,” said Elizabeth Ann. “We were in a meeting and something was bothering me and others about the website. We knew it was antiquated and the time had come to make a change.”
“We ended up with a beautiful, personalized signature as our logo,” she said. “It led to a whole rebrand of our company.”
“It retains everything we are and have been, but it takes it to a new level,” she said of the new site.
With the rebranding success under her belt, she is focused on the company’s newest office on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, which is set to open this spring.
“I want to make it a really show-stopping office and have a high caliber of broker and high level of service,” she said.
Her business philosophy is simple: treat everyone with respect, regardless of status. She recently sold a $300,000 apartment and a $15 million apartment in the same week. “To me there was no difference, both clients are just as important to me,” she said.
“All of our clientele is treated with the utmost respect no matter what price bracket they are in,” she said. “ In a way, it defines what I want my career to be like.
“I’ve grown up in the real estate business, and I know that this is not only something I’ve been raised to do, but it’s something I truly want to do.
“I look forward to continuing to work with my mother and all of the Stribling managers to learn from them and bring Stribling to the next level.”
Back in 2008, Elizabeth told Brokers Weekly, “I always thought my work ethic was old fashioned and corny, but I recently read that it had come back into fashion. Work hard and be honest — that’s what I tell my brokers.”
And, it seems, her daughter, too.