Corporate Group

Blair Brandt

Co-founder & CEO
Letter from the CEO

Featured on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 at the age of 23, entrepreneur Blair Brandt is the co-founder & CEO of the real estate brokerage, Next Step Realty.

Brandt often appears or has been featured on multiple business news networks including Bloomberg TV, Fox News Live, and with Cheddar TV at the NYSE. Brandt has been profiled extensively or contributed to The New York Times, Business Insider, New York Observer, California Real Estate Magazine, and The Real Deal. In addition, he visited The White House during The Obama Administration to collaborate with The White House Business Council, as a small business expert.

In July 2011, CNN and Fortune featured Brandt and Next Step Realty in their list of “The Top 6 Dorm Room Start-Ups in The U.S.” In 2012, at the age of 23, Brandt was highlighted in the first ever Forbes Magazine “30 Under 30” list, as the most notable young real estate entrepreneur in the world.

In April 2014, Brandt was named one of “10 prominent real estate figures under 30” by The Richest. In 2015, Brandt was again named to be one of 10 “real estate superstars still in their 20’s”, this time by industry magazine BisNow.

Brandt is a graduate of Deerfield Academy and the University of Richmond. He spent several years in his native Palm Beach, Florida, working as an assistant to one of the town’s premiere luxury real estate brokers. During this entree into the market, he learned the values of integrity, efficiency, and professionalism in the high-end sector of the industry. Brandt observed a lack of emphasis on these values in complex urban residential markets and, particularly, the problems this posed to recent college graduates, entry-level professionals, and other millennials moving to New York City as first-time renters. As a response to this deficit, Brandt co-founded Next Step Realty in New York City, to provide this demographic with a seamless, trustworthy, and one day home search experience.

The company’s mission is to guide millennial renters and new residents with a high level of simplicity, ease, and transparency, in an otherwise complex marketplace. Next Step executes this mission through a highly vetted customer service and brokerage team who exemplifies Brandt’s ideal and unique combination of honesty, expertise, and compatibility. To this day, Brandt spearheads the broker admissions committee and has built the company’s roster to include an impressive list of Manhattan’s top up-and-coming rental agents.

Brandt is hands-on in almost all aspects of the organization, however is primarily responsible for the firm’s institutional relationships, which include many of the largest employers and brands around the world, who recommend Next Step as the premier apartment search provider for all of their entry-level employees relocating to New York City.

With Next Step helping thousands of clients per year find their first homes in New York City, Brandt recently formed a new partnership between Next Step Realty and North Shore Animal Rescue League. Brandt and his team join Animal League in their no-kill mission to rescue nearly 20,000 homeless, abused, or neglected animals every year, and place them into loving homes through a comprehensive adoption process. The partnership includes events, fundraisers, and donations throughout the year.

Through this partnership and other political initiatives, Brandt has become a staunch activist for animal rights, particularly advocating for dog breeds who receive particularly punitive discrimination from landlords, municipalities, and in some cases entire countries. Brandt is collaborating with local, state, and federal officials to change policy and improve the plight of companion pets – particularly canine’s facing systematic neglect, abuse, fighting, or homelessness.

Follow Blair Brandt on Twitter at @BlairBrandt and Instagram at @blairbrandt.


Jason Briggs


A native of Philadelphia, PA, Jason Briggs also spent much of his childhood in Nantucket, MA. He attended the Fay School during elementary years and ultimately graduated from Tabor Academy in 1989. Briggs continued his education as an undergraduate at Oxford University (Keble College) in the U.K., where he achieved national deans list.

After receiving his diploma from Columbia University in 1994, Briggs worked as a portfolio manager in Smith Barney’s wealth management division until 2005. During his 11 years at Smith Barney, Briggs made substantial, quick, and prompt progress, improving his rank to Senior Vice President by the age of 24.

Since leaving the finance industry in 2005, Briggs has pursued his passion for real estate through a number of development and investment projects across various markets. His ventures since 2005 have included 8 successful development deals in Manhattan and Nantucket, MA, where he realized sales of over $26M. One notable project, in particular, took place at 6o West 9th street, a 7,000 square foot townhouse development, which sold for $12M in 2011.

In his role as Chairman at Next Step, Briggs serves as a special advisor to Co-Founder & CEO, Blair Brandt, frequently consulting the company on major strategic initiatives. His contributions include locating and securing Next Step’s new flagship location in Manhattan, playing a lead role in the development of our London office, and personally vetting many brokers who have applied to join the Next Step organization.

While not working with Next Step, Briggs currently has $12M of ongoing residential development projects in Miami Beach, Fl and Nantucket, MA.


Jason Briggs




Erin Wilson

A New York native of Westchester county, Erin is a graduate of Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich, CT and the University of Richmond, where she earned a B.A. in Communications with a minor in Business Administration.

After graduating Erin immersed herself in the Manhattan Real Estate market, working for one of the city’s top luxury residential real estate brokerages, Brown Harris Stevens. As a licensed real estate agent and the Client Relations and Transaction Coordinator for one of Brown Harris’ highly esteemed brokers, she facilitated the sales of nearly $10 million of real estate in well under a year. Erin is now working as a Client Relations Specialist at The Next Step Realty, where she interacts with hundreds of clients a week to ensure that each client is matched with the perfect Next Step Broker for them, and booked for their own personal Next Step Apartment Tour.



Tess Szymanski

Tess grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and began attending the University of Michigan at age 16. An active member in her sorority, Delta Gamma, Tess graduated in 2012 (after just three and a half years) with a B.A. in Biopsychology Cognition and Neuroscience. She then moved to New York City to work in TV production for NBC Sports, focusing on NFL, college football, and the Winter Olympics. Following NBC, Tess worked in a client-facing role at Equinox, including working on many important Equinox Chelsea partnerships such as their primary relationship with Google whose headquarters is nearby. These experiences, especially in production and corporate partnerships, along with her strong work ethic and positive attitude, earned her a role on Blair Brandt’s team at The Next Step Realty, where she’s excited to be a part of a rapidly growing company.



Kristina Cullinane

Kristina Cullinane

Kristina, a San Francisco native and Saint Ignatius alumni, recently graduated from the University of Arizona in 2016, earning a degree in Communications and a minor in Psychology. Throughout college, she spent her summers working at SC Properties, a Bay Area residential and commercial real estate developer. In Summer of 2016, Kristina interned at Guest of a Guest in Montauk, writing articles and covering New York City based events, as part of their editorial team. This inspired her relocation to New York as Guest of a Guest’s Hampton’s Correspondent where she was in charge of selecting and reporting on featured events and products, including hosting Facebook Live and other interactive social media efforts. Joining Next Step in September of 2016 as a Communications and Social Media Specialist, Kristina is responsible for brand management, Client Hospitality, events, strategic partnerships, public relations, and social media. Kristina also contributes to all event planning and campus outreach priorities.