By Connie Adair
With COVID-19 restrictions cooping up young, vibrant agents, the time was right for Re/Max Integra to unveil its Young Professionals Network (YPN).
“Real estate, as we all know, is a very gregarious business that requires high levels of socialization and engagement. As a result of isolation, when you shut that socializing aspect off, it creates challenges. We used the Young Professionals Network to diffuse some of those challenges and leverage opportunities for growth and engagement” among agents in the 20-40 age group, says Simon Schneider, Re/Max Integra’s director, business growth.
Schneider, John Dowbiggin (senior director, business growth) and Katy Robinson (director, events, learning and development) are spearheading the YPN initiative, which kicked off in April with a virtual CIBC Patio Launch Party featuring Juno award-winning artist Hawksley Workman.
Team leaders (the youngest 24 and the oldest 39) were named at the launch.
In order to apply as a volunteer team leader, young agents with two years with the Re/Max brand were asked to submit a video about themselves and tell why they would make a good district leader. Their peers and brokers were also contacted.
Schneider says, “We were very happy from a head office perspective to see the number of young Realtors wanting to step up as district leaders for their various regions. This is a clear indication of the entrepreneurial and leadership component of the Re/Max brand.”
The initiative came about through “conversations with our younger Realtor demographic. We saw a need to bring a group of Realtors under the age of 40 together,” Schneider says.
The company saw the COVID-19-related restrictions as an “opportunity to bring like-minded young professionals together across a large landscape.”
Team leaders will lead, motive and inspire other young professionals.
Schneider says that pre-COVID, some companies tried bringing young people together virtually but found the concept didn’t gain traction. People preferred to get together in person.
Re/Max Integra’s YPN already has between 400 and 500 members sharing best practices, experiences and tips. For example, North Bay is experiencing more multiple-offer situations, so local YPN members are reaching out to their Toronto counterparts, who have more experience with those types of offers.
And the dynamic group enjoys the chance to socialize, although just virtually for now.
Once government restrictions are lifted and large in-person meetings are approved, Schneider says plans are for in-person training, brainstorming and social events.
YPN gives agents a chance to socialize with like-minded individuals. Group leaders will act as mentors, offering a young, fresh approach to the business, he says. The ones who will do best, Schneider says, are those who are the most engaged and capitalize on referrals.
“We’ve always maintained that the strength of the Re/Max brand lies in our network,” he says. “YPN was created to help our younger associates foster meaningful and lasting connections, share referrals, learn best practices from one another and step further into leadership roles in the network and the industry.”
The district leaders are:
- Metro Central (Aurora, Toronto, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Thornhill, Markham, Aurora and King City): Victoria Zhang and Christina Kroner, Re/Max Hallmark.
- Metro West (Oakville, Mississauga, Brampton, Woodbridge, Bolton, Etobicoke, Vaughan, Milton, Georgetown, Erin, Concord, Acton, Orangeville and Caledon): Jessica Botelho and Taleen Mirzayan, Re/Max Professionals.
- Metro East (Ajax, Whitby, Pickering, Markham, Stouffville, North York and Oshawa): Dylan Cherry, Re/Max Jazz.
- Ottawa (Renfrew, Cornwall, Perth and Brockville): Chelsea Hamre, Laura Keller and Trevor Clark, Re/Max Affiliates.
- Hamilton/Niagara (St. Catharines, Stoney Creek, Grimsby, Ancaster, Port Colborne, Waterdown, Dunnville, Burlington and Hamilton): Jordan Zalter and Phil Golfi, Re/Max Escarpment.
- Northern Huronia (Orilla, Midland, Parry Sound, Sudbury, Barrie, Collingwood, Gravenhurst, Sault Ste Marie, Thunder Bay, North Bay, Huntsville, Wasaga, Bala, Bracebridge, Timmins, Collingwood, Halliburton, Minden, Kenora and Manitoulin Island): Drew Macintosh, Re/Max Hallmark; Marissa Arnold, Re/Max Crown; and Ashten Hughes, Re/Max Legend.
- Central East (Port Perry, Peterborough, Belleville, Trenton, Lindsey, Wellington, Bowmanville, Kingston and Courtice): Jacqueline Pennington, Re/Max Hallmark.
- Southwest (Waterloo, Cambridge, Kitchener, Stratford, Sarnia, London, Simcoe, Grand Bend, Guelph, Paris, Brantford, Windsor, St. Thomas and Chatham-Kent): Stacey Chaves, Re/Max Twin City; Mark Pedlar, Re/Max Bluewater; and Brady Thrasher, Re/Max Preferred.
- Atlantic Canada (Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI): Corey Breau, Re/Max Professionals Saint John and Adam Cooper, Re/Max Nova.