Former C&W Exec Liz Trocchio Smith Launches Her Own Company

Elizabeth "Liz" Trocchio Smith

Ten months after being ousted as executive vice president at Cushman & Wakefield, Liz Trocchio Smith has a new gig: running her own firm. With The Trocchio Advantage LLC, she’s segueing into executive coaching and motivational speaking, focusing initially on women in commercial real estate and CEOs in all industries.

Trocchio Smith said she made the decision to launch her own firm “at the 11th hour,” after coming close to signing on with another firm. “When I was negotiating the contract, and it started getting into the minutiae, vacation days and things like that, I decided that wasn’t what I wanted to do,” she said. “I walked into my home office and shredded the contract.”

Cushman & Wakefield terminated Trocchio Smith’s employment in October of 2011, 12 years after she joined the firm and 20 months after she was promoted to a regional post. In Feburary 2012, Trocchio hired powerhouse attorney Gloria Allred to help negotiate her severance agreement.

Trocchio Smith declined to comment on the specifics. “That’s in the past,” she said. “I’m looking forward.”

In April, C&W selected former Jones Lang LaSalle exec Steve Everbach to lead its North Texas operations. Earlier this month, C&W added 6 million square feet to its local property management portfolio by acquiring the third-party client services operations of Cousins Properties.

Trocchio Smith is on track to be certified as an executive coach by November. She’s planning to launch a series of quarterly seminars next spring, starting with “Women Helping Women” and “Teaching Men the Secrets of Working With Women.” She’s also working on a book that’s slated to debut in early 2014 called, “Gender Does Matter: Women in Corporate America.” Along with telling her own story, Trocchio Smith is interviewing other women business leaders across the country, including Allred and Billingsley Co. chief Lucy Billingsley.

She has already secured endorsements from Allred, Billingsley, Roger Staubach, and one ironic fan: former Cushman & Wakefield CEO Arthur J. Mirante II. Mirante left C&W earlier this year; he now heads the Manhattan office of Canadian brokerage Avison Young.

In the end, getting fired has turned out to be a good thing, Trocchio Smith said.

“I would have never left Cushman & Wakefield on my own,” she said. “I loved the company, I was a big fan of it, and I was committed to it. I was devastated, but as I was walking out the door, the day it happened, I thought to myself, ‘I know God has something better planned for me.’

“I’m not making Day 1 what I want to make,” she said. “But I absolutely have no doubt that within a year, I will be.”

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