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Real Living

SAWIB08 Winner

Company: Real Living, Columbus, Ohio
Company Description: Real Living is the first national women-focused real estate brand with more than 4,000 agents in 20 states.
Nomination Category: Individual Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Best Entrepreneur – Service Businesses - Up to 100 Employees

Nomination Title: Kaira Sturdivant Rouda, President, Real Living

1. Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated entrepreneur during the eligibility period (up to 500 words):

Kaira and her husband were faced with the decision to sell the family real estate business to a giant Wall Street corporation or take a huge risk and grow. In 2002, they merged HER Realtors with two successful real estate companies to create Real Living.

Kaira was the brand steward. She knew women were the key decision-makers in
nearly all consumer purchases, and represented the fastest-growing segment of
homebuyers and 70 percent of the real estate workforce. Yet no one was paying
attention to them. She changed all that by creating the first women-focused brand
in real estate, from the font and logo treatment on up.

2007 was a tough year. But even in hard times, Real Living continued to grow.
Managing the franchise division, Kaira and her team continued signing new
franchise agreements, taking the total count to more than 170 offices in 20 states.
The key to her success? A dynamic brand and a creative, open culture. That’s
what put her on Entrepreneur magazine’s first Top 50 Fastest-Growing Women-
Led Companies list.

In September, Rouda re-launched In addition to layout
adjustments, upfront property, agent and office searches; detailed maps; and
enhanced property pages were added to enhance the customer’s experience
online. In December, Real Living was named “Most Promising New National Brand”
by the Swanepoel TRENDS Report.

Later that year, Kaira launched the company’s first green program. Offices
committed to consuming less paper, recycling and saving energy. Online, she
added a carbon calculator, green resources and checklists for buyers/sellers on
how to go green.

Passionate about helping women and girls, Kaira created the Real Living Women’s
Circle to present new opportunities for the women of her company to get involved
and enrich the lives of others. The group meets quarterly with local organizations
like the YWCA, the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio and the American Heart

Inspired by all of the women in the real estate industry, Kaira published Real You
Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs (RYI) in February 2008. And
what better time than now for a book about empowering women to arise? RYI
provides insights for women on how to discover and love their personal brands and
bring them into the market as real, unique businesses. Part branding and part
business inspiration, RYI includes case studies of real women entrepreneurs that
bring the book to life. Kaira has created a Web site, for women to express their fears and successes,
ask questions and get answers. She’s also started a blog and writes a weekly
advice column for women entrepreneurs.

Most recently, Kaira partnered with Glam Media, No. 1 in reach for women online.
Real Living is now providing content for Glam’s living channel and is the first and
only real estate company in the Glam ad network. While other real estate
companies are focused on joining real estate vertical networks, Kaira is forging
ahead and working with companies that know our target audience—giving her the
online experience she’s looking for.

2. List the URLs (web addresses) of any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that you would like the judges to see that support your nomination. IMPORTANT: List each URL on a separate line, begin each URL with http://, and enclose each URL in square brackets. For example, []:

3. Provide a brief biography of the nominated entrepreneur (up to 100 words):

Kaira Sturdivant Rouda is a small-business marketing expert. She’s author of
Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs and president and
creator of Real Living—the first national women-focused brand in real estate. An
award-winning marketer and entrepreneur, Kaira built her career by advising top
national brands and writing for numerous publications on marketing to women,
emotional branding and work-life balance.

She is a weekly columnist for, a marketing-to-women blog.
Kaira was recognized in Entrepreneur magazine’s Top 50 Fastest-Growing,
Women-Led Companies list. She resides in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband and
four children. To learn more, visit