Baird & Warner
120 S. LaSalle St., #2000
Chicago, IL 60603-3404
Phone: (312) 857-9555
Fax: (312) 592-7555
Jennifer Alter Warden
Jennifer Alter Warden is president of Baird & Warner Residential Sales and executive vice president of Baird & Warner Real Estate. She reports directly to Steve Baird, owner and CEO, and leads operations for the $80 million company, including 24 offices and 1500 broker associates. Baird & Warner is the number two brokerage in the Chicago area, the leading independent broker in Illinois and the 12th largest in the country.
Jennifer is an officer of the company, and a member of the five-person executive team that sets strategy and policy for its brokerage, mortgage and title divisions.
She joined Baird & Warner in 1995 as vice president of marketing. During her tenure she started several businesses, including the title and e-business divisions. She conceived and continues to oversee the Baird & Warner Goodwill Network, the company’s charitable endeavor, in partnership with the Chicago Community Trust.
Between 2008 and 2013, Jennifer successfully led Baird & Warner through the worst and most prolonged real estate downturn since the Great Depression. This involved overseeing the consolidation and rightsizing critical to financial health, while maintaining the optimism and focus needed to help homeowners through exceptionally challenging times.
Jennifer’s passion is innovation, and at the 157-year-old company her personal mission is to ensure the company is on a path of continual reinvention. By applying start-up principles and culture to a legacy business, she and her marketing and technology team are re-engineering the service delivery model, pioneering concepts that merge the on line and local worlds.
Through outreach into the technology community, Jennifer has partnered Baird & Warner with innovators in the real estate space. By offering counsel and the opportunities to beta test new applications, she has solidified Baird & Warner’s position as a national leader in on line innovation.
Bairdwarner.com, now in its seventh iteration, has won numerous awards, including the “Best Overall Website” by Leading Real Estate Companies of the World.
At the industry level, Jennifer is an active participant in The Realty Alliance, a national consortium of the top 60 regional brokerages. In 2010, she twice co-chaired forums for managing executives as they sought to stabilize their businesses.
Locally, Jennifer served for five years as a board member of MAP, a regional multiple listing service, and helped lead the organization through a merger creating Midwest Real Estate Data, one of the largest listing services in the US.
She is a frequent speaker to local industry groups, including the Chicago Association of Realtors. In 2005, she presented to Northwestern University’s Kellogg School’s Conference on Family Business.
In 2009, Jennifer co-founded the Joanne H. Alter Women in Government lecture in conjunction with the Chicago Humanities Festival in honor of her late mother. She remains actively involved with speaker selection, including to date: U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, Elizabeth Warren, Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and current U.S. Senate candidate, and U.S. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi.
Jennifer’s community involvement revolves around education and employment.
She has been a member of the President’s Advisory Council at Oberlin College since 2010, and she co-chairs a task force on expanding career opportunities. Recently she has been invited to join Northwestern University’s Council on 100, a group of women alumni who mentor female students and graduates.
She is a member of the Women’s Board of the University of Chicago, a member of Vistage (formerly TEC), and a former member of the University Club. She served on the board of the Francis W. Parker School for nine years, including a three-year stint as co-chair of the enrollment committee, and was a founding member of the Donors Choose Chicago Advisory Board. She also served for many years as president of the board of STRIVE Chicago Employment Service, a job training and placement service.
In recent years, Jennifer has become involved with the charter school movement. She works closely with local leadership of the national charter network KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) on their Chicago growth plans, and co-hosted benefits for the organization in 2010 and 2012. Currently she is working with KIPP on plans to start a new school in the Austin neighborhood in the fall of 2012.
Jennifer is a lifelong resident of Chicago’s North Side, where she and her husband Rob have raised two sons. She actively supports Rob’s work as director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at the Northwestern University School of Law.
An avid cyclist, Jennifer enjoys biking the Chicago lakefront loop and exploring the roads surrounding her second home in Sawyer, Michigan. She has participated in several distance rides, including RAGBRAI, which traverses the state of Iowa.
For seven years, prior to joining Baird & Warner Jennifer ran a marketing communications firm which she founded in 1989. She was president of her family’s wholesale distribution company from 1983 to 1989.
She holds an AB degree from Oberlin College (1976) and an MBA from Northwestern University’s J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management.