Meet Rory Golod

Rory Golod, President of Tri-State Compass, might have been a rockstar. That’s the dream for any Long Island kid, like Golod, who grew up playing guitar, saxophone, clarinet, while listening to Billy Joel’s Cold Spring Harbor, the record named after Golod’s hometown. Golod’s passion for the music business followed him to college in Virginia, where eager to jump start his own  foray into the industry, Golod partnered with his roommate to start a music company of their own. At just nineteen, filled with the entrepreneurial spirit, the two college freshmen subleased a studio in midtown Manhattan, booked recording acts, and even signed their own music producers. They thought they were on their way.


It was the sobering reality of graduating college in 2008, just months before the market imploded, that set Golod on another course. While the dream of his own music production company fell to the wayside, the experience made Golod aware that he was, “enamoured with startups.” He spent the early years of career working at startups and learning all he could about that culture. After a stint at a real corporate-y job, Golod was convinced that he didn’t want to work at a massive organization; he wanted to build something with the potential to grow.


“And then, I met Robert Reffkin,” Golod says—like it’s the part of the movie where the protagonist realizes the hero’s journey ahead. “And I knew he was going to change the world.”


At this point, in 2014, Reffkin had just founded Compass—still called Urban Compass back then. Though the team was small—a mere 40 employees and 50 agents—Golod was impressed with the way Reffkin recruited industry giants like Gordon Golub and Leonard Steinberg to join the company’s growing ranks. “I knew that residential real estate was so massive that if they were just modestly successful, this company has a chance of doing something special,” Golod says of his early impressions. In those days, “modest success” still looked like making an impact on New York City’s rental market. Little did they know, they were en route to changing the face of the entire industry, an IPO, and earning their unicorn’s horn in the process. 


Inspired by Reffkin’s already accomplished career, as well as his ambition and vision, Golod joined Compass. In the early days of his Compass tenure, Golod was responsible for building an agent support team. “So we started recruiting agents, and agents showed up expecting a brokerage, but we didn’t have a brokerage; we just had a collection of really smart, hard working people.” With his work cut out for him, Golod collaborated closely with Golub, Steinberg, and the other industry veterans to really understand agent needs: listing data, marketing, IT support. 


Both Golod and the company understood the most important key to their growth and success was knowing their customer: “Everything else that we did would connect back to that,” Golod explains. “Rather than us make things up—guess and fail—we had the luxury of asking agents in the company ‘what is it that you need? What is it that you want? What is it that you’ve seen others do well, that we can do and build?’ And so we just focused on that.” The work he put into listening and responding to agent needs would come to be what is now known as the Agent Experience Team. 


As the company grew, so too did Golod’s responsibilities. He started working with Reffkin on agent recruitment, and then, like the music producer he once was, Golod took the show on the road: from city-to-city, from the Hamptons, to Washington, D.C., Dallas, and LA, one-by-one, Golod launched Compass in new markets around the country. His success out on the road earned him jobs as Reffkin’s chief-of-staff, and then eventually as the President of Compass Tri-State, which includes New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. 


These days, Golod let’s his agents be the rockstars—he oversees nearly 4,000 of them. True to his production roots, everyday Golod obsesses about giving his agents the best possible experience; he still spends a lot of time trying to understand what matters to agents. As a musician, Golod has a natural ear for listening, but he also spends a lot of time practicing it, personally calling “dozens and dozens” of agents every week. “I always say [it’s much harder to]  stay up all night with a whiteboard trying to sketch up the future, than just intently listening to your customer, and letting them guide you on what actually matters.”


If you ask Golod what matters to him, you can still see the remnants of the dorm room entrepreneur with big hopes and ambitions for the future. “One of the things I often spend my time thinking about is, how do we make a big company feel small?” Golod believes that even though Compass is no longer the same scrappy startup he joined in 2014 it has maintained the essence of the culture he loves. “I think our entrepreneurship principles define [our culture] better than anything,” he says. “We’re a company that dreams big, moves quickly, and always thinks about opportunity…[and we] never lost sight of the fact that personal relationships and interpersonal communication is essentially the cement that built this company. I think no matter how big you are, you can still remain very close to your customer and that’s something Robert does incredibly well.”


Like Compass, Golod has also managed to grow while keeping his same hopeful essence and passions intact. He’s still playing guitar—in fact, he built a music room in his Lower East Side apartment right before COVID hit, which was a lifesaver during the months at home. And he’s still listening to Billy Joel—among many other things, his taste ranges from Sade to Drake, house to rock. These days his playlists might even include renditions of “Baby Shark,” and “Twinkle, Twinkle,” after Golod and his wife became first time parents in the summer of 2020. 


Golod has always had natural talent for hearing when the tone shifts and chords scale. As an early Compass leader, Golod used his musicians’ ear to build a brokerage dedicated to listening to its agents—really hearing what mattered most to them. His ability to listen and respond is  key to the Compass culture, the one Golod loves so much. And though listening and responding to agent needs might seem revolutionary to the industry, to Golod, it still, and has always been, rock ‘n roll.

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Adrianna Nava

Coach & Advisor
Expert in Compass Tools; Business Modernization; Prospecting

The first real estate deal Adrianna put together was unusual in several ways: she was only 17 years old; her parents were the listing agents; and (strangest of all for an agent) she did it for free! Since then, Adrianna has nurtured a lifelong passion for real estate, and learned the value of commissions! Wearing many hats throughout her career, Adrianna spent 20 years managing her own portfolio of real estate properties; 10 years as a licensed real estate agent; and the past four years working with Compass as a Senior Agent Experience Manager. It is in this last role that Adrianna has made her mark on the Compass brand and transformed the lives and businesses of Compass agents throughout the country. 
Adrianna previously worked as a Senior Agent Experience Manager at Compass and has over 8,000 hours of training Compass agents on using the Compass platform, as well as honing their strengths and skills, to grow their businesses. Now, Adrianna is the Hamptons real estate market and transaction expert, founder of, contributes a weekly market update column to Behind the Hedges and is the author of Hamptons Real Estate Showcase’s Market Watch feature.

Ethan Leifer

Coach & Advisor
Real Trends Top 100; Expert in Team Building; Lead Generation; Client Outreach

It’s fair to say that Ethan Leifer is something of a Compass fanatic. Ethan joined the Compass family in 2017 after being blown away by a combination of the firm’s incredible suite of tech tools and its obvious dedication to its agents. Ethan left the brokerage he was at, signed up with Compass, and hasn’t looked back since. But fresh starts are nothing new to Ethan. His first career was as a cantor singer in Jewish worship. But after falling in love with the real estate business, Ethan decided to radically switch gears, first making a stab at being a Long Island agent before finally settling down in Manhattan.
It’s in NYC where Ethan has truly made his mark, dominating the city’s luxury real estate market and presently leading one of Compass’s most successful agency teams. According to Ethan, the secrets to his success are as follows: relationship building; tremendous focus; and a certain type of chutzpah (he is a ‘cold calling’ master, after all). As one of our 360 Mastermind coaches, Ethan specializes in leading weekly role playing exercises with agents.

Haneen Hayder

Coach & Advisor
Real Trends WSJ #212; Expert in Property Flipping; Farming; Lead Generation

Compass agent Haneen Hayder began her real estate career in 2012, and quickly rose to the top 3% of all realtors in her brokerage nationwide and internationally. She attributes her success to excellent negotiation skills, which she considers her client’s biggest advantage.

Before becoming a realtor, Haneen earned a masters degree in Chemical Engineering, and gained international corporate experience in the field of engineering. With extensive access to off-market listings, Haneen offers buyers a multitude of avenues for achieving their real estate dreams. Her technical background is particularly advantageous in this market, helping her provide innovative and unique marketing strategies to engage potential buyers.
Haneen strives for unparalleled customer service and commitment to both buyers and sellers, giving her clients an extra edge in competitive markets. Haneen is renowned for her dedication, integrity, and first-class customer service in the Bay Area real estate market. No detail is overlooked utilizing her full-service sales approach, impact marketing campaigns, and powerful local, national, and global networks.

Amit Bhuta

Coach & Advisor
Expert in Marketing; Social Media; Brand-Building

Amit Bhuta loves his job; his passion for Compass and Miami’s luxury real estate market is contagious—just ask any of his nearly 80,000 social media followers. As the leader of the All in Miami team, and a nearly 16 year industry veteran, Amit has a deep understanding of the sales, communication, and marketing skills it takes to succeed in this business. Brand-building and storytelling are Amit’s specialties; and as a coach, regular fixture on Workplace, and co-host of “Ask Me Anything,” Amit is committed to helping his fellow agents grow their own brands, and earn more money by doing things they really enjoy. His goal is to help each realtor love their jobs too.

David Severance

Chief Learning Officer & Coach
Expert in Leadership; Team Building; Business Strategy

As the son of a Westchester real estate agent, David Severance was exposed to the world of sales at an early age. He witnessed first hand the dedication, grit, and relationship-building skills that go into the job. Around this time, David also developed an interest in psychology, specifically the way our perceptions influence our choices and outcomes. When he eventually moved to Japan during college, David really started thinking about many of his own beliefs about relating to others and the makings of a life well-lived. David believes that success comes from our ability to profoundly connect with and influence those around us.
For 15 years David rose through the ranks of one of the world’s biggest airlines, where he applied his psychology background to studying what makes teams effective and how they get derailed. His work inspired international companies to find new ways of working together, both internally and publicly.

In 2005 David became a certified coach and started working with leaders in Fortune 500 companies, where he’s been at the cutting edge of leadership theory and practice. Now David brings his expertise to small teams and startups, and teaches leaders how to relate more effectively with teammates and clients.

As a coach at CSC, David runs our Leadership Mastery program, as well as leading GCI Accelerator sessions each week and working with individual clients. He looks forward to working with agents who want to grow as team leaders and find more fulfillment in their lives and jobs.

Chirag Shah

CEO & Founder

By working with Chirag Shah you can expect effective, results-driven coaching, or as one of his clients said, “you can learn more from three months with Chirag than you can in three years on your own.” Whether it’s creating systems, structures, and processes that help you grow your business; building out your team, or learning to enforce healthy work/life boundaries, Chirag wants to help you bring your vision for your future to life. As a life-long learner, people-person, and curious problem-solver, Chirag has been a student of real estate coaching since he got his realtor’s license in 2007.

In fact, Chirag is a self-described ‘real estate training seminars obsessive,’ because he loves innovating ways to help agents maximize their potential.

Chirag’s drive to inspire transformation in his colleagues made him a natural fit for Compass’s Director of Coaching and Training, a position he held for two years. While at Compass, Chirag spent over 5,000 hours training Compass agents; he created Pitching Compass, which became the gold standard for agents’ pitches, and developed both regional and national trainings that helped share Compass’s value proposition—and not just what Compass does, but how they do it.

“The How” is big for Chirag, who believes if you’re going to tell someone to do something, you need to give them steps on how to do it. This coaching philosophy guides the work he does with his clients, which include teams and agents that are featured in Real Trends Top 100 lists, and rank amongst the top 1% of realtors in the country. Chirag spends time understanding what is most important to each individual, the direction they want to take their businesses and lives, and then he creates a custom roadmap, with step-by-step processes to help get them there.