Leesa Harper Rispoli grew up in a family that valued hard work and never had different expectations based on gender. Living in San Antonio her entire life, Leesa fondly recalls spending every weekend at her family's ranch. Leesa and her sister could ride horses and work cattle as well as any man on the ranch. She loved her childhood, learning to drive tractors at eight years old and having her grandparents and parents instill a strong work ethic in her from an early age. She smiles as she recalls area ranchers saying to her father, "Oh you have a cattle ranch and no sons?" To which he would reply, "I've never had to."
Leesa's mom, the legendary D'Ann Harper, brought that work ethic, grit, and determination to the real estate industry in San Antonio in 1986 when she became a broker and opened a Gallery of Homes franchise, During the next two years, Coldwell Banker salesmen kept calling on her wanting her to purchase a Coldwell banker franchise. D'Ann's response was, "Why would I buy a franchise when you have company-owned offices in this market? I'm not interested in buying a franchise, but if you're interested in selling your corporate offices, I'll buy them." Two weeks later she received a call from California asking her to come in and discuss buying the offices. Leesa recalls her mom thinking, "Oh my gosh, now I've got to go home and tell Herb (Leesa's father) what I've done." Leesa says her dad was D'Ann's biggest cheerleader. His response was, "So what's the problem, let's get on a plane and go."
That began the legacy of the Harper women being the “first” in the San Antonio real estate market. D’Ann Harper was the first broker in the U.S. to purchase corporate owned offices from Coldwell Banker. D’Ann Harper went on to win every national award available from Coldwell Banker. She believed in the industry and was willing to take risks and invest in her industry and market area. She is iconic in the San Antonio business world. If she did something, it was going to be the ethical way, the right way. From having the first fax machine in a real estate office to bringing the centralized showing system to the San Antonio market, she pioneered many endeavors, leading the way for the industry. That is the work ethic she modeled and instilled in Leesa.
Leesa learned these lessons well. Continuing the family tradition of hard work, Leesa had a successful career in public education before joining Coldwell Banker D’Ann Harper, REALTORS®.She began her career as a teacher, then an administrator, and ultimately an Academic Dean for Northeast Independent School District (NEISD). In September of 2005, Leesa decided to join her mother, D’Ann Harper, in the family real estate business. She held the position of Executive Vice President of Property Management Services. During Leesa’s tenure, the property management department, Harper Property Management, increased its portfolio from 400 properties to over 1,500.
After her success in property management, Leesa became President of Coldwell Banker D’Ann Harper, REALTORS® in 2016 and continues to carry on the CBHarper family legacy. She has taken the company that her mother D’Ann Harper started in 1986, and renovated it, pushing it to the next level.
As a mother, with two daughters and one granddaughter, Leesa recognizes the importance of mentoring future leaders. She has opened the doors for numerous interns aspiring to solidify a path to their career. Several of them have continued to remain on staff, continuing to cultivate their skills and become a part of the CBHarper family. Locally they have nine offices that consist of over 447 Real Estate agents and 100 employees.
Her passion for education and coaching has carried her through several strategic initiatives to develop the managers, employees, and sales agents at CBHarper. Leesa describes CBHarper as an “agent-centric” brokerage. It is very hard for Leesa to take personal credit for any accomplishments at CBHarper. She stresses that every accomplishment is a “team” victory. CBHarper operates as a family, and every employee and agent are part of that family. Leesa feels that it is her responsibility to provide the tools, education, support, and systems to agents so that they can be successful at selling real estate.
Like her mother before her, Leesa is willing to take the risk and make the investments necessary to ensure the success of her agents. Leesa likes to say, “Everything we do is for ONE agent, multiplied by 447. They deserve the very best support from us. It is a challenge for agents to stay up with all the trends, changes to legal requirements, and maneuvering the industry disruptors. It is my responsibility as a broker to equip my agents to be the best trained, highly ethical, and most competitive agents in the market.”
An example Leesa likes to use is her huge investment in technology like the state-of-the-art hyper-convergence virtual server cluster and in-house IT support staff. She explains that people outside of the CBHarper family thinks she is nuts to have four in-house IT staff, but if one agent comes in and says, “I love you so much because instead of going to the Apple store, standing in line, getting an appointment, and coming back, I came up here, spent an hour, they fixed it, and oh, by the way, it was free.” To Leesa, that’s worth the investment she makes and helps the sales agents win in the marketplace..
Leesa continues to innovate and lead. She launched the Global Luxury Division of CBHarper and opened the first Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Office nationwide. She continues to receive national recognition for being one of the top 3% affiliated companies of Coldwell Banker. One of her offices was recently recognized as the Number One Top Producing Coldwell Banker office in the state of Texas two years running.
In January 2018 Leesa invested in the first of a series of Ninja Installations. The Ninja program is a researched methodology that provides a predictable plan for success in sales agents and professionals.
At the 2018 Cartus Broker Network Conference in Boca Raton, Florida CBHarper came home with outstanding achievements and recognition for overall performance. The Cartus Broker Network Excellence Award for Prestigious Platinum was earned by CBHarper and is the highest achievement available to all the members nationwide. Additionally, at this same conference, CBHarper received recognition for Excellent Service from both USAA Real Estate Rewards Network and Navy Federal Credit Union Realty Plus programs.
Leesa Harper Rispoli continues the legacy. The San Antonio Business Journal recently announced Leesa Harper Rispoli as one of the winners of its 2018 Women’s Leadership Awards.