Laurie J. Lustig was a low-level broker at CB Richard Ellis (then CB Commercial) in 1993 when, determined to get noticed by her superiors, she wrote an internal business plan concluding that the multi-family housing market on the Westside was due for an expansion.

That market had been largely ignored by the company, and Lustig was given the opportunity to prove whether her theory was correct. She was; over the past six years she has been a consistent high performer, handling $90 million in sales last year and leading to her recent promotion to senior vice president the highest-ranking position for a broker at CB.

Lustig, 35, handles apartment-building sales from downtown L.A. to Santa Monica and LAX all the way to Mulholland Drive. CB officials have tentative plans to form a new team of two to three brokers to be supervised by Lustig.

"My plans are to get the team up and running," she said. "We have some new target/revenue quotas that we want to achieve, and I want to concentrate more thoroughly on the Westside."

Lustig acknowledges that she has benefited from a seller's market for apartments. Also, low interest rates have increased the cash flow from building sales. Lustig predicts that rents will continue to rise, especially since there has been very little development of new apartments over the last 10 years.

Lustig graduated from USC in 1985 with a B.S. in business administration with an emphasis in entrepreneurship. She planned to follow in her father's footsteps as an entrepreneur, but took his advice to get some practical experience first. She was hired first by Baxter Healthcare, and later by CB.

Lustig survived three weeks of interviews and an eight-hour aptitude and psychological exam to determine whether she was right for the job. Then she worked as an associate with one of the nation's top-selling brokers. When her mentor left the company, Lustig stayed behind and began to excel on her own.

She no longer dreams of starting her own company, being quite content with her position at CB. "I really enjoy it," she said. "It's a real passion for me."

Lauren Hollingsworth

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