As Chief Executive Officer of Brown Harris Stevens, Bess is not only a real estate leader, but also a champion of social change, philanthropy, and building a culture-first brokerage for agents, staff, and clients.
Under Bess’ leadership, Brown Harris Stevens has grown into one of the largest and most successful privately-held real estate companies in the United States with the highest average sales price per agent in the country. Bess oversees 50+ offices and nearly 3,000 agents across New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Florida.
Named CEO in 2018, Bess draws upon her law background and passion for helping drive change within Brown Harris Stevens and the larger real estate industry. A year before Juneteenth was fully recognized by the federal government, Bess declared it a company-wide holiday. She was also the first head of a major NYC-based brokerage to make Election Day a paid day off. Bess partnered with the Human Rights Campaign’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act to support legislation for the protection of LGBTQ+ rights, and offered financial assistance to Brown Harris Stevens workers impacted by the Supreme Court’s overturning of the Roe v. Wade decision. Her insights on the intersection of real estate, politics, and culture are sought out by major media outlets, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Fox Business, Bloomberg, Forbes, The Real Deal, Inman, and more.
Bess is an active member of the Real Estate Board of New York Board of Governors. An advocate for social change through her work with several organizations, she received the organization’s Kenneth R. Gerrety Humanitarian Award in 2021 for outstanding service to the community. She is on the Board of The Bridge, an organization focused on the needs of homeless and housing-insecure, and is an advocate for Sanctuary for Families. Bess also supports the mentorship program at YJP (Young Jewish Professionals), the Leadership Now Project, and the Kalief Browder Foundation.
Before entering real estate, Bess practiced law as an Assistant State’s Attorney in Montgomery County, Maryland, and worked at Legal Aid as an attorney fighting for the rights of underserved youth in NYC. She is a member of the Florida, Washington, D.C. and Maryland Bar and worked in New York pro hac vice.
Bess is the proud mother of a son who attends school on the Upper West Side and a daughter who attends college in Boston. In her spare time, Bess enjoys being with her family and friends, music, reading, knitting, weekends in Rhinebeck, NY, and regular meetings with her Mahjong group. Bess is fluent in Spanish.