Community//

“Learn how to team build by connecting basic needs of trust, compassion, stability and hope by using each person’s strengths. This will translate into much more effective communication and performance”, With Jason Hartman & Davina Potratz

I read a book called Strengths in Leadership by Tom Rath that can help identify each person’s strengths and how to use them. Mine were Achiever, relator, strategic, connectedness and individualization. Learn how to team build by connecting basic needs of trust, compassion, stability and hope by using each person’s strengths. This will translate into […]


I read a book called Strengths in Leadership by Tom Rath that can help identify each person’s strengths and how to use them. Mine were Achiever, relator, strategic, connectedness and individualization. Learn how to team build by connecting basic needs of trust, compassion, stability and hope by using each person’s strengths. This will translate into much more effective communication and performance because your people feel supported and understood. Overall team morale and positive reinforcement are very important, and I am a strong believer in leading by example.


As a part of my series about strong women leaders of the Real Estate industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Davina Potratz from the Netflix Series “Selling Sunset”.

As a Broker and Director of the New Development Division of The Oppenheim Group, Davina brings over a decade of experience as a highly accomplished leader in real estate development sales.

Originally from Germany, Davina attended the International School of Hamburg and after graduating with her International Baccalaureate, traded in the cold weather to attend Pepperdine University in Malibu.

With a personal passion for real estate, architecture, and aesthetics, coupled with a communications background, Davina used her gift of relationships with various International clientele to develop a highly successful real estate career that began in 2006. Her experience includes having worked with several prestigious developers throughout Los Angeles, including The Ritz-Carlton Residences at LA Live (AEG), The Residences at W Hollywood, The Carlyle on Wilshire, 432 N Oakhurst, 460 Palm (both in Beverly Hills) and Azzurra in Marina del Rey amongst others.

Previous to her career in real estate, Davina was signed under the Ford Model Agency for over ten years, living in London, Milan, and New York. She has traveled to more than 40 countries, speaks fluent German, loves art, culture, and beach volleyball.


Thank you so much for doing this with us Davina! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Real Estate industry?

I got into real estate in 2006 because I was interested in learning about how a transaction works, for when I buy a home for myself. A friend of mine who was on the same path and had also just gotten his real estate license had started looking at properties to buy. One of them was a condo in a high-rise building called Azzura in Marina del Rey. Somehow, he hit it off with the sales manager and was offered a job there. Next thing you know he brought me in and we both started working there. We started working with clients and learning from one of the top new development brokerages at the time, Corcoran Sunshine. I loved meeting various types of clients and also enjoyed learning more about the developers and how to attain their goals. That’s what started my career in real estate.

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occured to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?

One of my favorite experiences was working for AEG at The Ritz-Carlton Residences at LA Live. I had been following up with one of my clients for over one year. He was a Japanese gentleman who didn’t speak much English and typically used his assistants to communicate with me. Our exchanges were very vague and basic, he seemed like a long shot, but I kept in touch none the less. On one day that I called, an assistant let me know that the client would be in LA, so I spontaneously asked if he would like to have a look at some real estate. Not only did this client end up purchasing a $9M two-story Penthouse from me that day, which was a record sale for downtown LA at the time, but I was able to pull some strings with the developers and got him clearance to land his helicopter on top of Staples center so he could take his date to a private dinner at Katsuya. That was a very rewarding and fun experience but also taught me that you truly never know and always need to follow up.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I am working on a few new real estate projects but have also contemplated designing an online real estate course because I get a lot of people who reach out to me about how to get started. Specifically, people ask me if I could offer some kind of mentorship or ongoing guidance, so I am considering a type of virtual internship that inspires, motivates and educates people on how best to start their real estate career and go after their dreams.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

As an associate broker at The Oppenheim Group, I believe we stand out as the dominating brokerage in West Hollywood with the most sales and some of the strongest marketing in the city. Our team is very small, and we work closely together so we are a potent group lead by a founder who was previously an attorney and has a twin brother. Together, we have over 50 years of combined experience. Finally, our Netflix show Selling Sunset has really helped our marketing efforts and expanded our brand throughout the globe.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I have been incredibly fortunate to have worked in luxury new development projects throughout LA for over a decade. Every new position was a referral from a friend or contact that recommended me, to whom I am all grateful. One day, however, I met Brett Oppenheim and his clients, who ended up moving forward on one of my listings. Brett and I became friends throughout the process and three years later he brought me onto The Oppenheim Group brokerage which turned into our Netflix show so, I am particularly grateful to Brett for the opportunity. Become friends with people, you never know when you can help each other.

Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. The Real Estate industry, like the Veterinarian, Nursing and Public Relations fields, is a women dominated industry. Yet despite this, less than 20 percent of senior positions in Real Estate companies are held by women. In your opinion or experience, what do you think is the cause of this imbalance?

Real estate is a highly competitive shark industry. It can be very calculated, tough and numbers oriented. You are also interacting with very strong personalities, so you have to have to be able to hold your own. A senior position at a Real Estate company requires a very levelheaded, rational mindset that operates from a financial perspective and not as focused on nurturing relationships as PR, Nursing or being a Veterinarian. Maybe this is less of a natural fit for the average woman although women are certainly very capable of succeeding in Real Estate, just as they are in the STEM fields. I think that giving women more opportunities to advance and acting on your confidence in them will positively impact not only that woman but also others around her. It is making a statement. I also think that education, such as majoring in real estate in College along with mentorships will positively impact upcoming generations of women as a clearer path to success can be offered.

What 3 things can be done by a)individuals b)companies and/or c) society to support greater gender balance going forward?

Encourage diversity and embrace different perspectives. Proactively ask women for their input. Companies in general should try to have a more or less equal mix of genders in their employee pool.

Finally, as individuals and as a society, I really think that we need to see people for who they are and what they have to offer rather than what gender they are. The best, most qualified person for the job should get the job, regardless of if they are male or female.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women executives that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

I think that one of the biggest challenge’s women face is starting a family, since they are the ones who have to give birth. Starting a family has an expiration date and can take time away from work, so naturally, women have to often make a choice or balance both pregnancy/nursing and work. It’s a natural disadvantage that women have to sort out in any career. I also think that women are underestimated so they sometimes have to overcompensate to establish their position, simply because they are a woman.

What advice would you give to other leaders to help their team to thrive?

I read a book called Strengths in Leadership by Tom Rath that can help identify each person’s strengths and how to use them. Mine were Achiever, relator, strategic, connectedness and individualization. Learn how to team build by connecting basic needs of trust, compassion, stability and hope by using each person’s strengths. This will translate into much more effective communication and performance because your people feel supported and understood. Overall team morale and positive reinforcement are very important, and I am a strong believer in leading by example.

Ok, here is the main question of our interview. You are a “Real Estate Insider”. If you had to advise someone about 5 non intuitive things one should know to succeed in the Real Estate industry, what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each?

  1. Other career overlaps, a previous career in finance or law can be very helpful but it’s important to be well rounded. Often times, having success in a separate career can prior to real estate can be an advantage. This will give you a broader networking pool of people who know your work ethic and will personally vouch for you.
  2. Education, the more you know the better, such as construction, interior design or other investments for example when comparing. Whatever you do, keep learning. Being a good conversationalist is super important. People want to do business with people they like and respect.
  3. Your hobby might be a great way to meet new clients or connect with people, such as playing sports or cooking class etc. I’ve made deals and met clients on the volleyball court and the gym.
  4. Everything you do reflects your brand, even when you are not working. Respect and authentic kindness are vital.
  5. Be creative, try something different, take risks. In marketing, in problem-solving and in starting your own business. Don’t be afraid to fail. It’s at those times that we have the opportunity to learn the most. And sometimes, how we respond to failure and how we creatively handle obstacles can be more appreciated than when everything runs like clockwork.

Because of your position, you are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would love to host my own inspirational talk show about overcoming and surviving adverse circumstances of all sorts and then enormously thriving in an industry. I am interested in showing what odds were stacked against someone and how they felt and then learning about the choices they made that lead them to get out of this situation and into a successful outcome. What critical decisions did they make? Who helped them? How did they do differently than others in their position? What can viewers learn as a take away to feel inspired and what actions can they take to improve their lives? Inspirational success stories of unique people.

How can our readers follow you online?

@davinapotratz IG, Twitter and Linked In

Thank you for your time, and your excellent insights!

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.