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The world of luxury real estate grew a bit darker on Tuesday as one of its own — called by many one of the industry’s “brightest stars” — passed from this world to the next.

LA native Jennifer Berman became one of the city’s leaders in luxury and went on to leave an impact on real estate nationwide with her determination, leadership and infectious spirit.

After starting her career at Homestore, Berman took her management skills to Keller Williams, First Team Estates and Hilton & Hyland. She went on to partner with Chris Pollinger on luxury agent consultancy firm Berman and Pollinger and, ultimately, served as chief operating officer at DirectOffer.

Aaron Kirman | AKG | Christie’s International Real Estate

Berman shared her effervescent personality with the world by co-starring in NBC’s Listing Impossible alongside Aaron Kirman. She became known as a “godmother” to many cast members of the first season of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing for the role she played in helping to launch their careers. She also played a pivotal role in organizing Inman’s first-ever Luxury Connect event in Beverly Hills.

In mourning the loss of Berman’s life, several industry professionals shared with Inman her impact, including Kirman, who remembered fondly their long days shooting on set together.

“Jennifer had this larger-than-life energy, and she could command any room while making everyone smile,” the AKG | Christie’s International Real Estate CEO said. “I remember shooting with her on Listing Impossible — even during long days behind the camera, she would always keep us laughing and there was never a dull moment. Her legacy will live on in how many agents in the industry she mentored and the lives she touched.”

Gary Gold | Coldwell Banker

Gary Gold of Coldwell Banker got to know Berman “really, really well” through their time together at Hilton & Hyland, when he bestowed on her the nickname “The Pistol” for what he called her “aggressive enthusiasm.”

“[Jen] seemed to know everyone in the real estate industry,” Gold told Inman in an email. “My fondest memory is the time we were at the Christie’s annual conference in Coronado and she made me keenly aware I was not prepared for a keynote I was going to make the next day. She helped me rehearse until midnight, making me present my talk to her four times in a row until I got it right.

“She knew virtually every aspect of residential real estate from the agents’, brokers’ and vendors’ perspective, and always had an opinion,” Gold continued. “She made our industry fun. I think her best quality was that she championed people’s best assets by making them realize the qualities they already have and leveraging them.”

Chris Pollinger | RE Luxe Leaders

Chris Pollinger of RE Luxe Leaders, in a tribute on social media, praised Berman’s authenticity to be “as rare as a flawless diamond,” while also calling out her “unmatched loyalty” and “golden” advice.

Pollinger also told Inman in an email that Berman concealed her vulnerabilities, including her extended battle with cancer, with her courageous spirit.

“While most just saw the fearless side of her, which was ever-present in public, I got to see her behind the curtain,” Pollinger said. “It wasn’t that she was fearless — she had some very deep vulnerabilities — it was that she was unbelievably brave.

“The public who experienced the force of nature that was Jennifer Berman were inspired by it,” he continued. “But only a few really knew her real story and what really drove her. For those lucky few, we were transformed by it.”

Madison Hildebrand | Compass

Another individual who was offered a window into her struggles was Madison Hildebrand of The Malibu Life at Compass. Hildebrand was one of Berman’s loved ones who surrounded her in her home as she died by way of California’s End of Life Option Act.

The act, which was passed in 2015 and went into effect in 2016, allows Californians with a serious, life-limiting illness to self-administer medications prescribed by their doctor to end their life.

“She was in her own home [in Newport], surrounded by love and her dog, Bibiana,” Hildebrand said. “She just really had a zest for life and it’s sad to see people who really do enjoy life so much get it taken out from under them from a disease they can’t control.”

“A lot of people are suffering, and she found a way to use law to get herself out of that suffering, and it took a tremendous amount of courage,” Hildebrand added. “It was a very peaceful transition and it felt right for her. For those others that are suffering, I think she would want them to know that this is something that [was passed].”

Laura Monroe

Berman is remembered for shepherding women in the industry through her words and actions, serving as their champion. She was a frequent attendee and speaker at female industry events WomenUp! and Awesome Females.

Inman Head of Community Laura Monroe recalled how after she met Berman in 2014 and co-moderated many events thereafter with her, Berman “took me under her wing.”

“[She] support[ed] my endeavors personally and professionally every step of the way, including me and reaching out to exchange advice in life and business,” Monroe said. “After every call, I could hear her famous laugh and [she’d] say, ‘I love you baby girl, miss you like crazy.’

“Years after we met, the ups and downs of life became central to our support of one another. That’s when you knew you had a real friend,” Monroe continued. “Offstage, the rawness of life’s challenges found a new place in her role as a leader in real estate — helping women find and acknowledge the strength they have inside them, and their voice. No nonsense, get on with it, and tell your friends you love them.”

d11 Consulting founder and CEO Debra Trappen first met Berman at an Inman Connect in San Francisco and became closer to her after the pair both presented at an Awesome Females gathering and became “sisters.”

Debra Trappen

“She was a guiding light, a confidante, my angel, and I was hers,” Trappen told Inman. “Through her, I learned the art of unapologetically advocating for myself. I witnessed her navigate her health challenges gracefully and always marveled at her ability to command the room from her tiny frame with that raspy, gravelly voice I will forever miss hearing.”

In Berman’s memory, Trappen said she hoped that those who knew her would remind their own dear ones just how much they care.

“As we collectively mourn her loss, let us honor Jen’s memory by cherishing our loved ones,” Trappen said. “Hold them a little closer and tell them you love them, just as she would have wanted.”

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Email Lillian Dickerson

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