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by G. Sax, Director of Growth Management, RESO

Welcome to “Three Questions,” an interview series that introduces you to real estate industry professionals, their businesses and how they interact with real estate standards with a goal of humanizing the tech side of the industry, fun included.

This week’s interview is with Katie Smithson, a long-time friendly face to the industry at W&R Studios who enjoyed a stint at Lone Wolf before recently landing at Zillow Group as Director of MLS Relations.

Q1: At the end of the brilliant run by W&R Studios, you became the “industry relations” face of the company at both CMLS and RESO as a board member. Was that a natural progression of your role at W&R that led to that and will it continue under the banner of Zillow? 

Katie: Yes, it was a natural progression of my being a Senior Account Manager working with brokers and agents, then focusing on conversations with MLSs about providing our Cloud CMA product as a member benefit. Over my last three years at W&R, I was managing the outside sales team – still selling to MLSs but managing the broker sales side. All these experiences allowed me to engage with so many people with different perspectives, so it was such an honor to serve both CMLS and RESO as a board member. I love this industry, and I’m so thrilled to continue to be able to work with the people in it in my new role under the Zillow banner.

Q2: Your W&R staff videos were, for me, legendary in that they seemed to truly gather up an enthusiastic crew together for some general silliness with excellent visuals, snappy dialogue and fun interactions. Is that sort of thing even possible at larger organizations like Lone Wolf or Zillow?

Katie: It’s possible. Obviously, at W+R, we had a lot of flexibility because it was a small, independent company, but there was bound to be a cultural shift. Lone Wolf, for example, embraced parts of W&R, but you can’t expect to take all of that small town feel to the big city.

Q3: In the age of social media oversharing, I have developed an unpopular opinion: Babies are overrated. Agree or disagree?

Katie: Totally agree. Obviously, I love Ellie, but I will be more impressed when she can fill up my wine glass. 😉 

(Note: Katie had her first baby, Ellie, on April 24, 2021.)