Yana Chernov

Chernov Team, owned and operated by husband-and-wife Dennis and Yana Chernov, works in luxury real estate throughout Los Angeles and has achieved more than $3 billion in sales volume throughout 12 years in the industry. Yana, as the head of marketing and operations, manages personnel, accounting, brand strategy, digital media and event production. She has a background in business development and has worked in real estate since 2015.

How has your professional performance exceeded your expectations?

When I started in real estate, the industry felt very boring to me. Every video looked the same, every photo looked the same. Coming from a marketing and branding background, I knew I could add a different twist to real estate marketing and how people looked at videos. We try to bring fun, energy, life and personality into the industry. Ultimately, this approach has helped us engage with a lot more people and grow our brand.

Tell us about something you have learned that surprised you.

One of the things I have learned during my real estate career and in running a business and managing a team is how many people I have the opportunity to positively impact. I have people reaching out to me daily and expressing their gratitude for my positive outlook on life, as well as my ability to balance being a mom, wife and business owner running this entire operation. I just love the fact that this industry has given me a platform to inspire and motivate other women, girls and moms.

Describe your leadership style. 

My leadership skills have changed and improved over the years. When I started working in this industry and we were just starting to grow our real estate team, I was a lot tougher and my expectations were a lot higher—which may have led to people being unhappy in their positions. I’ve come to find that organic and positive energy in the team and people being happy in their positions are important because that leads to a happier overall environment for the team to thrive. I have definitely changed my ways and could not be happier with the outcome of our team today. 

How do you encourage honest, open employee dialogue?

I always say the same thing I’ve said in my marriage: If you’re not happy to be with the person you’re with, you should not be with that person. The same goes for managing a team. I don’t ever want to convince anyone to be a part of our team. I want people who work with us to realize the opportunity that is in front of them. At the end of the day, I don’t need you and you don’t need me, but I want you to be here and I hope you want to be here as well. If you don’t want to be where you are, you should probably find a better path for yourself.

How do you balance work time and playtime?

I don’t just balance playtime; I make it a priority. Life can get stressful and busy, and it is so important to be able to enjoy it. I make a conscious effort to make sure we enjoy life and have fun, and thankfully I have been blessed with many positive, amazing friends in my life who help me do so.

What role does your family play in your career?

My family plays a huge role in my entire outlook on life. We immigrated to the United States from Ukraine when I was just 9 years old. At the time I didn’t understand why my family made that move, but I now know they chose to sacrifice their entire lives, careers and friends and leave everything behind to give us a better life. Starting over in a different country, watching my family struggle and face barriers like learning another language—amongst many other challenges—definitely shaped me into who I am today. It made me realize how important it is sometimes to make sacrifices. In an alternative world I could be back in Ukraine today possibly seeking shelter and safety. My family taught me to appreciate everything I have but never be scared to make a significant change. You never know how things could end up. 

How do you find time to fit it all in?

It’s all about balance. It comes from organization and most importantly holding yourself accountable for every single goal you set for yourself. My entire life is a checklist. I have a checklist for my morning and night routine, for every position on our team, down to my exercise, eating habits, water intake, and even for follow-ups with friends and family.

Tell us about your biggest passion. 

My biggest passion is self-improvement. I believe you have to love yourself for who you are, but you should never stop improving yourself while doing so. It is very important to not only put yourself first in everything you do, but you must invest time, money and energy into always improving as well. As I get older, I realize that my energy and health are everything. Without them, I can’t be a good mom or a good wife or continue to run a high-volume business. 

Tell us your favorite quote.

The best quote I have ever heard was: “She needed a hero, so she became one.” I have been asked who my hero is, and I realized that there are so many people in my daily life who inspire me. However, I truly believe you have to become your own hero.