…with Elizabeth Stribling
By Stephanie Jones
When Elizabeth Stribling became President of Stribling and Associates in 2013, she knew she had an uncompromising legacy to uphold. Having worked as Director of Marketing and Business Development for many years, Stribling already had a comprehensive understanding of core values, including the number one axiom handed down from her mother, company founder, Elizabeth F. Stribling: Work hard and be honest.
Growing up in a family that nurtured ambition of the most sophisticated nature, Stribling spent her formative years frequently engaged in dinner table conversations that would later shape her into a professional listener and role model for self-possession. Her mother taught her the importance of personal accountability while she was still in grade school, a lesson she has carried with her throughout her career. “I think the first thing you have to do is accept the fact that you may fail,” she says.
“Failure can happen, and failure isn’t as bad as people think it is. I don’t have all the answers. No one does. Life is a continually changing process. I have learned to be able to say, ‘I don’t know, but I will find out, and I’ll work to find out.’ And to the people who think they know everything, and are quick to the make answers, and are often too hasty- that’s when real mistakes are made.”
A true New Yorker, Stribling has observed the dramatic developments in her native city over decades of change, and works to imbue each burgeoning real estate market with energetic ideas that preserve the company’s essential ideals. “New York is always changing and we must change with it,” she says, “but [we have to] hold on to [our] core beliefs, and that’s ‘work hard and be honest.'”
“New York has changed so drastically. You can’t have the worst apartment on the best block because there is no best block anymore; everything is the best block. You have to be able to work with the times. Luxury is a continually evolving concept, and you have to be able to continually evolve with it.”
Stribling’s depth of understanding within the changing market comes from her ability to observe herself and interpret each observation as it relates to her work as a luxury real estate professional. “You have to fully understand who you are, and I think that very much involves understanding your weaknesses,” she says.
“You have to look at the world around you and [figure out] what makes you relevant, and what makes you still have a place at the table. But, how do you have a place at that table in five years?”
One way in which Stribling ensures her enduring success is by truly serving the customer. Though the market fluctuates, the conception of luxury Real Estate as a client-centric business remains the same. Stribling’s incomparable dedication to customer service comes directly from her mother. “One of the greatest pieces of advice my mother ever gave me was, when you look at negotiating, you always have to see the other side; if you can’t see the other person’s perspective, you’re going to hit a deadlock.” She maintains the nuance of negotiating comes down to one key component: “I think it’s imperative to listen,” she says. “I listen, and I think it’s really important to listen, and really think about your response. You have to think before you speak, and I think that’s something that just doesn’t happen enough.”
Because her company ideals fuel the way she runs her business, Stribling takes care to select agents and associates who possess the same vital work ethic and integral qualities of honesty and accountability. “A Stribling agent is going to be onboard,” she says.
“The ‘right broker’ is someone who is ethical, who stands up for what’s right. We work very much as a round table here; it’s my mother, myself and seven or eight managers. We really value other people’s opinions. You’re not going to work here by meeting just the head of HR; you’re going to meet with a lot of people. When you walk in the door, you’re getting a card that says my name on it, and you’re going to become a part of that family pretty quickly.”
While company branding is important, in such an evolving industry as luxury real estate, company rebranding is imperative. Though the Stribling name may be known for the ‘trophy apartment’ on Park Avenue, and the elusive 5th Avenue co-op, the brand itself has expanded beyond the Upper Eastside, serving a greater luxury community that reaches into Brooklyn and, more recently, Queens.
Stribling attributes her talent for effective rebranding to her background in marketing, a foundation that includes a strong sense of loyalty, and a desire to meet every customer’s unique needs. Specific price points matter far less than sincere service to the customer as an individual. “I want to learn everything,” she says. “The more I know, the more I can provide.”
Ever the urban entrepreneur, Stribling possesses a steadfast New Yorker approach to problem solving. “I don’t want someone else solving all my problems; I’ve got to solve them myself, with some assistance.” A market as turbulent as luxury real estate demands a special brand of poise and determination, and Stribling continues to rise to each extraordinary occasion.