Alison Clay-Duboff 

Alison Clay-Duboff has worked in real estate for 18 years and operates Salty Water Properties as part of RE/MAX Estate Properties in Manhattan Beach. She has lived in the United Kingdom, St. Barts, France, Sweden and Saudi Arabia.

Why are you passionate about real estate?

I maintain that real estate is and will always be a contact sport requiring hands-on, interpersonal engagement to be able to cross the finish line of my clients’ goals—be it the sale of their home (including all of the emotions that accompany such a transaction), the purchase of a principal residence (equally emotion-filled) or investment property acquisitions. My 22 years of living in the South Bay have passed in a flash; I am beyond humbled by the impact I’ve made on these communities I’ve served. 

What inspired you to pursue a career in your field?

To be able to solve problems or to attain people’s goals and milestones, and in doing so change the face of communities for the better—that’s what inspired me to become a Realtor. 

What is the biggest mistake you’ve made in your work?

Not getting into the real estate business sooner. I have value that can be shared to better others’ lives. 

Describe your ideal client. 

My ideal client is one who requires my brand of professionalism, understands my experience and knowledge, and allows me to be the shoulder they may not be aware they need. Lean in, lean on—that’s my DNA. 

Why are you considered a go-to person?

Sweat equity is my currency in my community. I’m always ready with an open heart, a willing hand and time to share with those who need me. 

Have you faced challenges as a woman in business?

I have never allowed the thought of being a woman to interfere or take up space in my career. My sex has never defined how I interact with my clients, and I demand the same in return. Perhaps having that outlook has circumnavigated any biases. 

What are the benefits of having women in leadership?

Women in leadership have an edge. We are hardwired with an intuitive capability to be circumspect and react accordingly. 

What are some key qualities for women in leadership?

Confidence, sense of self and purpose.

What are the key qualities for real estate agents to be successful? 

The ability to listen, integrity, empathy and generosity of spirit. Also ethics, compassion and education are important for success in any field. 

What does success mean to you?

Success means the ability to say “no”—it’s powerful. 

What is the key to building and growing client relationships?

The words are diminished by overuse, but communication, honesty and transparency are the building blocks to deep, effective, lasting business relationships. 

Share a significant accomplishment in your career.

I am most proud or rather deeply honored by my keynote engagement in June 2022 with RE/MAX France. I was on the main stage at Disneyland Paris addressing a packed audience of over 550 souls. It was exhilarating, and being bilingual in English and French allowed me to address the audience in their native tongue for more than an hour. I brought my brand of marketing to share, inspirations to motivate, and I loved every minute of it. 

How do you push for systemic change around ideas that are new or not that popular?

AI is a pervasive and dangerous tech tool. I hold the tenant within me that real estate will always be a contact sport. It’s about what it is to be human. Shelter. Life’s passages. 

In what ways do you make our community and our world a better place?

Betterment of my community and larger global concerns are woven into my work—not simply by financial donations to various charities but by hands-on volunteering. Being a deeply caring individual and neighbor proffers boundless rewards. 

Tell us about a book you love.

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz lends four simple paths toward life success. It has a very special meaning to my life these days. 

What local hot spots do you love?

David LeFevre of The Arthur J, MB Post and Fishing with Dynamite is a dear friend and a hugely talented restaurateur. His restaurants are the very best in the South Bay, so it’s natural to espouse his enterprise. 

Photographed by Shane O’Donnell