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 July 1, 1999

Bernardi takes the cake second year in a row

BOULDER — Oh that Karen Bernardi!

A way-out-in-front chart-topper two years in a row, the pint-sized powerhouse leader of Century 21 The Bernardi Group took No. 1 this year in The Business Report’s residential “Heavy Hitters” team ranking with almost $106 million in sales and 480 sides closed in 1998. Bernardi’s sales count her own and those of her 17 licensed assistants.

“She’s a great Realtor and a fun person,” says Tom Fowler, leader of Fowler Real Estate/Better Homes & Gardens, who was No. 2 in team sales with five licensed assistants and more than $29 million in sales.

Bernardi recently was nominated Rocky Mountain Region Entrepreneur of the Year, an award sponsored nationally by Ernst & Young and locally by The Citibank Private Bank. But she gives credit to the on-fire market for her strong 1998 showing: “Listen, we have a lot of people moving here,” she says.

What’s been a boost is relocation business because Bernardi hired “a really great relocation person” and because she herself is a go-getter: To drum up relocation business, she visits companies — such as Sun Microsystems and Level 3 Communications — to give slide presentations on “how wonderful” the area is “and what we can do for them.”

“The Internet, of course, has been a really big boost for us,” she adds. “We have a really great Web site.” That’s www.bernardigroup.com.

What always has worked for Bernardi is her approach to the business: Assistants who get more and more efficient the longer they’re with her. And she hasn’t had to add employees often because of the longevity of her people. Most have been with her since she opened Century 21 The Bernardi Group in April 1996.

“We try to have fun and do things a little differently,” she explains. “And I just think we treat each other well and that helps. We do have profit-sharing plans, health insurance, retirement plans that normal companies do. But I just have great people.”

Dynamic woman’

When fans talk about Bernardi, they’re not finished until they’ve mentioned the high energy and dynamic personality.

Her executive assistant, Ann Mardick: “I get to shadow and be around this dynamic woman and get paid for it.”

Mardick, who began with the company in early February as a receptionist, says within the first hour on the job she and Bernardi connected. “With a hand on her small hip,” Mardick remembers, Bernardi had asked her, “So what do you want to do with the rest of your life?” Mardick’s answer: “I want to be as successful as you are.”

That was the correct answer; Mardick did the front desk job for about six weeks until her current position opened. “It feels like an honor to me because she is just so dynamic and passionate,” Mardick says. “And her integrity is awesome.”

Home-buyer Helen Dorsey: “It’s very unusual to see someone with such a high level of energy. The enthusiasm that she brings to life buoys people up when they’re around her. Not only in business but in the community.

“There’s also a sense of depth about her.”

Outstanding service’

Boulder resident Dorsey bought a house with Bernardi when she moved to the city nine years ago and later sold the house with her because “her service was so outstanding,” then purchased a condominium with her.

Dorsey remembers her first meeting with Bernardi, when she had only five days to find a house. “She showed me everything in the city. Even after I made up my mind she said, I want you to look at two more so you’re sure.’ Most people would never do that.”

She also cares deeply about her community, notes Dorsey.

She’s serving as co-chairwoman of the 1999 I Have A Dream Foundation of Boulder County benefit luncheon, and she recently donated $3,000 to the Colorado Business and Professional Women’s Foundation, which gives women scholarships.

Says Dorsey: “She is always looking at ways to help.”

BOULDER — Oh that Karen Bernardi!

A way-out-in-front chart-topper two years in a row, the pint-sized powerhouse leader of Century 21 The Bernardi Group took No. 1 this year in The Business Report’s residential “Heavy Hitters” team ranking with almost $106 million in sales and 480 sides closed in 1998. Bernardi’s sales count her own and those of her 17 licensed assistants.

“She’s a great Realtor and a fun person,” says Tom Fowler, leader of Fowler Real Estate/Better Homes & Gardens, who was No. 2 in team sales with five licensed assistants…

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