Meet Ethan Leifer

What does a real estate agent have in common with a cantor? A lot more than you think, according to Ethan Leifer, of Compass NYC. In 2011, Ethan took a leap of faith when he left his full-time job as a professional cantor in pursuit of a career in real estate. “I felt there was a lot of crossover,” he said, “[there are] similar trends and skill transferability between being a cantor and realtor. It’s a lot of relationships.”

And relationship building—between his clients, team members, and brokerage—is central to Ethan’s work as a realtor and team leader. After a few years of successfully working in the Long Island market, Ethan, a New York City native, felt drawn to Manhattan. He remembered thinking, “well, if I can build a business [on Long Island], I could do it in Manhattan. So I dropped everything…and [started] a brand new business in the city, from scratch.” He paused for a moment, considering just exactly how he built a new business from scratch (for the second time in five years) and then added: “cold calling.” For Ethan, each call, conversation, and new relationship represents a piece of the business he has built.

After a brief stint at another brokerage, Ethan was looking for change, again. He wanted a brokerage that prioritized agents, and invested in the business and brand of each team. “I was blown away by Compass,” Ethan said, remembering his first meeting with them three-and-a-half years ago. In addition to the tools and the technology, which allow for so much more creative marketing and brand-building, Ethan recognized that Compass put their agents first. This was the support and relationship with his brokerage Ethan had been hoping to find.

Ethan has had tremendous success at Compass; each year his business and GCI has grown exponentially, and last year his team was named a Real Trends Top 100. It was also at Compass, when Ethan began working with Chirag Shah Coaching, that he began tackling his greatest challenge, and learned a critical lesson about real estate, relationships, and team building. “The biggest challenge for me was figuring out how to combine the skills needed to run a business and the skills needed to be a real estate agent,” Ethan said. “They don’t always mix together; they’re not generally the same person in any business.”

After working with his CSC coach, and attending the CSC Leadership Mastery series, Ethan’s approach to leadership and team relationships drastically changed. So what’s different? Previously, Ethan focused on hiring team members based on their talent—houses sold and transactions made. But now? “Culture is my top priority,” Ethan said. “Everything else I believe I can train and teach, like role playing.” He’d rather hire someone “that is going to collaborate without ego, as we like to say at Compass, instead of someone who may already have all the skills in place.” So if you want to build a big team, and have some longevity and loyalty, culture has to be top priority.”

With the help of CSC, Ethan rehauled his team earlier this year, and he couldn’t be happier. Each morning he starts his day by meeting with his team: they role play common scenarios, problem-solve, and “we even do a team book club, where we read a business-related book, and meet once a week to discuss, and learn from it,” Ethan said. After their 2021 business planning retreat The Ethan Leifer team is focused on growing in different New York and New Jersey markets, being named a Real Trends Top 100 Team again, and continuing moving up the ladder to become the top team in New York City. “I’m a very competitive person,” Ethan said.

And what does Ethan insist his team does NOT focus on? “ I tell everybody on my team: do not focus on the money. Just focus on the work. And if you focus on the work, and do the things you’re supposed to do, everything else will take care of itself.” Ethan also advises his team members “not to get too excited with the ups, and don’t get too down with the downs. Just stay even keeled,” he said—a lesson he wished he learned when he was starting out as a realtor. “You acknowledge [your victories], celebrate it, and move on to the next one—the same thing for deals that fell apart. Okay, it fell apart, let’s move onto the next one.” Ethan says not lingering on the ups and downs will help you stay focused on the work, “and if you want to accomplish your goals, focus on the work. That’s it.”

Unlike many agents, you won’t find Ethan at an open house on a Saturday morning. Instead, he’ll be at Temple Beth El of Cedarhurst, where he still holds a part-time cantor position, which he loves for the community and relationships it brings into his life. As a cantor and Compass team leader, Ethan has learned how much he enjoys mentoring and teaching, which is why in 2021 he has joined the CSC coaching staff. In addition to working with one-on-one coaching clients, Ethan will be leading the CSC Role Playing Accountability Program, where he hopes to foster a community with his fellow Compass agents—a place to collaborate without ego, build skill sets, and, as always, great relationships.

Want to learn more about The Ethan Leifer Team? Follow them on Instagram, and join Ethan on Tuesday mornings to practice role playing and level-up your skills.

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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.