Behind the Scenes at Intero

The Extraordinary Leaders and Values that make us more than Just another Brokerage 

After Joe Brown joined Intero as the Vice President and Managing Officer of our Willow Glen office, it got us all thinking – we really have impressive leadership! In addition to Intero founders John Thompson (COO), Brian Crane (Vice President), and Tom Tognoli (CEO and President), our team is comprised of industry heavyweights and true real estate veterans, coming from places like Coldwell Banker, Pacific Union, Century 21, NRT, Realogy – the parent company of Century 21, ERA, Coldwell Banker, and Sotheby’s International Realty – and more. It’s undeniable that our leadership team is stacked with high profile industry names and some of the most experienced and brightest minds in real estate. And that isn’t bragging, it’s just fact.

So what exactly is it about Intero Real Estate Services that brought all of these exceptional people together? What makes Intero so special?

To gain some insight, I sat down with members of our leadership team to hear their thoughts. Although everyone had different things to say, there were a few points that were universally agreed on.


Larry Klapow worked at Coldwell Banker for 15 years and even served as a regional President and COO before he left and joined Intero as the Vice President and Managing Officer of our Saratoga office. “I came to Intero not just to work for a powerful local company, but someplace that has a heart,” he says.

Tom Tognoli, Intero’s President and CEO, also speaks to Intero’s unique culture. “Our offices, our brand, our tools, our reputation is all important, but what really makes Intero special and different than all the rest is the culture of the company. Intero has a heartbeat.”

So what exactly does that mean?

Joe Brown, who also served as a regional President and COO of Coldwell Banker, is brimming with excitement about his new transition to Intero when he speaks with me. Having been in real estate since 1980, his unwavering enthusiasm is impressive. “There’s a synergy here, a real sense of teamwork,” he says. “Everybody wants to see everybody succeed. Everybody’s walking around here having fun.”

Larry emphasizes the importance of caring about agents as individuals, and attributes Intero’s success primarily to that very philosophy. “Our agents and employees can come to us for anything and we’ll help them solve it,” he says, mentioning that it doesn’t matter if the problem is work-related or personal. “Management cares about its agents and employees like nothing I’ve ever seen before, and that makes me proud to come to work every day.”

Tim Murray, former President and CEO of Pacific Union, joined Intero as the Vice President and Managing Officer of our San Francisco and Napa Valley regions. “After 35 years in San Francisco and Wine Country real estate, I’m positive that Intero is the best place to be,” he says confidently. “Intero gives our agents opportunities and support that I haven’t seen anywhere else.”

Joe completely agrees with this sentiment. “At Intero, we educate our agents and teams, and we work with them. It’s not competitive, it’s collaborative,” he tells me, emphasizing how unique he’s found that to be.

“Every business has unique products and services. Our unique product is the quality of our people,” says Tom. “It’s our job to help and coach people to be the best they can in every equity of their life, so they’re empowered and inspired to provide an unparalleled service to their clients.”

Alain Pinel, a global real estate leader, founded Alain Pinel Realtors and ran several of the leading real estate companies in California, Massachusetts, and Western Europe before ultimately deciding to come back to Intero as the General Manager of Intero Prestigio International. “Being with Intero is refreshing, stimulating, and inspiring,” Alain says. “Intero has a team of brilliant, dedicated, and entrepreneurial leaders, united around the same principles of trust, respect, generosity, and integrity.”

Alain’s point about Intero’s principles is spot on, and can be seen in the way Intero interacts with its community.


Bob Moles, currently Intero’s Chairman (formerly the President and CEO of Contempo, Century 21 Worldwide, and Realogy) gives a perfect example of the nature of Intero’s personnel: “A reflection of our personality is the Intero Foundation,” he says. “Millions of dollars have been donated not only by agents but also our employees and management.”

The Intero Foundation is Intero’s way of giving back to the community, and it’s absolutely a testament to the quality of people the company attracts. The Foundation has raised over $3 million since its inception in 2002, benefiting over 130 local non-profits. Agents and employees alike contribute money from their own pockets and countless hours of their own time to provide grants to various non-profits spread across the valley, all of which benefit the underprivileged of the community.

Of course, culture and community is important no matter what business you’re in, so I asked to hear more about the industry aspect of Intero. When it comes to real estate, what sets Intero apart?


Among all of Intero’s great leaders, they universally agree that Intero is unique in its ability to grow and innovate.

“A lot of other big companies feel like slow moving ships,” Joe tells me. “At Intero, we adapt. We embrace the change that technology brings to us, and everything else that contributes to the evolution of this industry. Nobody is treading water, there’s no stagnancy. Everybody is always growing and moving forward.”

Bob speaks to the entrepreneurial spirit of Intero. “One of the key things about Intero is where it was born: Silicon Valley. It’s a very unique and special place and market, and it’s the land of entrepreneurs and innovation,” he says.  “Our company and our people reflect that.”

“We have a reputation of being one of the most innovative real estate companies in the industry,” Tom adds.

And it’s the people behind the company that give it that reputation. Intero and all of the intricacies of how it works are defined by the experienced minds behind the curtain.

“If you look at other big real estate brokerages in the valley, their leadership didn’t come out of the trenches of real estate,” Bob says. “The leadership at Intero are all real estate veterans. It’s very unique in firms like ours.”

Larry wholeheartedly agrees with this sentiment. “I’m working with the best in the business here. We’ve pulled the best talent from every company and then some. That’s why we’re number one.”

Alain points out why having people experienced in real estate is so important: “All executives, starting with the chairman and CEO, have been and still are real estate professionals at heart. We do not sell real estate, our agents do, so we know who the real bosses are.”

So What?

All of these things distinguish Intero from other brokerages, but why should you care?

For a lot of reasons!

Intero’s culture, generosity, and approach to the real estate industry creates a truly unique experience for employees, agents, buyers, sellers, and all members of the community. Unlike many perceived images of brokerages and realtors, Intero is bursting with innovation, creativity, and compassion. Our agents are supported and supportive, which is a win-win for both agents and buyers. Our commitment to giving back has helped countless underprivileged families and youth.

Whether you want to be part of our team, sell houses, buy a house, or are just in the vicinity of Intero, these three things are always true: You are appreciated, considered, and valued. It’s just the Intero way.

As Alain says: “We don’t work for Intero. We ARE Intero.”