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

Director of Client Relations

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 dozens of rental and sales deals in under a year before joining the Next Step team. Erin is now working as the Director of Client Relations, 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

Director of Finance & Operations

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.



Theo Cohen

Theo Cohen

Chief of Staff to the CEO

Theo is a recent graduate from Franklin & Marshall College with a B.A. in Economics. Previously working in business development and research, Theo wanted a more hands on experience and was immediately drawn into Next Step’s team environment. She joins us full time on the Corporate Team after previously working as an intern here at Next Step in 2016. Native to Connecticut and the greater New York area, Theo has always known that she wanted to work and eventually live in NYC! On the weekends you can find her trying new brunch spots and exploring different neighborhoods. When she’s not out and about you can often find Theo reading a new book curled up on the couch with her dogs close by. Theo is extremely excited to be back at Next Step working on the corporate side of such an exciting company in a fast-paced industry.



Macy McNair

Macy McNair

Client Relations Associate

Macy is a recent graduate of Clemson University (Go Tigers!) where she studied Finance and Brand Communications. During her time there, Macy consulted with many start ups and small businesses on their corporate strategic plans, marketing plans, and client retention and expansion. Her passion for new ventures and brand management led her to Next Step. She joined Next Step as an intern for the Summer of 2016, and has returned full time to the Client Relations Team. Born & raised on the North Shore of Long Island, Macy has always loved Manhattan and is excited to now call it home. In her free time Macy can be found strolling museums, searching for the best happy hour, and of course watching college football. Macy’s experience and her perspective help her serve both our corporate team and our clients as they too find their homes in NYC.