Advisor Insight: Our rennie leaders Share the Pivotal Moment that Changed their Career Trajectory

Our 2019 rennie leaders is comprised of 21 rennie advisors who are top producers within both our brokerage and the real estate industry. While each advisor has honed their craft and built their business--some over a few years, others over a couple of decades--no advisor achieved their success overnight. The similarity that every advisor share in this group is their steadfast perseverance to overcome adverse market conditions and to see every circumstance, whether good or bad, as an opportunity for personal and professional growth. 

We asked our rennie leaders to share a pivotal moment that changed their career trajectory. Was there a moment, season, or year that altered the course of their career? How did they overcome career struggles to find success? Here we gain insight on what kept them going, what motivated them to reach higher, and what steered them to the top.

On steady wins the race
Eric Zamora: Before pursuing my career as an advisor, I had a chance to meet with various veteran Realtors to pick their brain. Most of them said that once you make it through your first year, it’s an indication that you made the right decision to pursue real estate.  Then once you make it to your third year, it’s an indication that you’re doing it correctly. Then once you make it to your fifth year, you’ve been able to establish systems that work for you in sustaining your growth.  The housing market was hot in 2016, and it was also the first year that I achieved rennie leaders or any type of award for production.  Coincidentally, 2016 happened to be my fifth year in real estate as well, so it was an affirmation for me that I was capable of achieving these levels of sales. It reminded me that it was the love for what I was doing that got me here and that this was only the beginning. 

On embracing discomfort 
Jason Lai: In 2018, after spending 1.5 years working on the biggest land assembly listing in my career, I was in the final stages of completing. The final challenge I faced was a Supreme Court of BC approval. The circumstances and the process were very demanding, to say the least, and resulted in me feeling very stressed and anxious. In my mind, this deal was a 'make it or break it' moment; either I persevered through this experience or risked giving up my career. At once, my biggest challenge career-wise was also my biggest challenge mentally. In the end, the Supreme Court judge ruled in support of the sale and that's when I knew every decision I made to push the sale through was the right move. This experience was a rollercoaster ride that truly tested my mental state. What got me through it all was to embrace the discomfort and consistently reminding myself that discomfort is the byproduct of growth.

On using rejection as a catalyst 
Jane Chu: When I was a teenager, my parents put their home in Burnaby on the market for sale. Every week, I loved helping my mom prepare our home for showings including vacuuming, displaying decor items that made the home show better, and always paying attention to little details such as lighting a candle, turning on music, and turning on the fireplace. Later in life, I applied for interior design school and got rejected. I ended up doing some soul searching while still attending UBC and decided to leave after my 1st year to pursue real estate studies at BCIT instead. That was how it all began!

On keeping motivated  
Derek Kai: When I was 19 years old, I worked night shifts at Starbucks while attending UBC. Every night at 10 pm, we would have to put away the patio furniture and inevitably we would get hassled by the regulars who hung outside all night. On one particular evening, one of the customers got in trouble for some reason in the store. As I was putting the patio furniture away, I snickered at the situation while he and his friends were talking about it. He looked at me and said,  "What you are you laughing at? Do you know how much money I make a year? $60,000!" A tad shocked, I looked at him straight in the eye and replied, "I'm in school, why don't you ask me in 5 years who makes more money!" Over the years, I used that interaction as motivation, challenging myself to do better! 

On one person making a big difference
Charlie Kim: I was lost at the beginning of my career. Then one of my clients who has been my mentor gave me tremendous advice and taught me how to deal with clients properly through our purchase and sales transactions together. Since she was well known as a successful investor, others were watching her to follow her investments. She referred me to her acquaintances as her Realtor which positioned me as a reputable Realtor of a successful investor. I am grateful and lucky to meet this person who changed the trajectory of my career. 

On finding opportunity in every situation 
Andy Mah: I made a career switch from engineering to real estate about three years ago and I'm loving every moment of it. I remember being very nervous when I began my real estate career because I gave up my comfortable salary day job. But real estate was my passion so I knew it was the correct move. The first six months were a struggle as I was learning the ropes and figuring things out. My first opportunity was working on a project site as a coordinator, standing by a kiosk to help navigate people to the Presentation Centre inside the Mall. I honestly was a bit discouraged at first but it turned out to be a great opportunity to meet people and chat market intel and data. On numerous occasions, I would bump into old friends and colleagues which gave us a chance to reconnect and created opportunities to discuss their real estate needs.

On landing in the right brokerage 
Vivien Ma: Joining rennie was the right decision for me. The people at rennie are very energetic, productive, professional, yet very helpful. In other companies big or small, I've never experienced the kind of generosity shown to me by my new colleagues at rennie. They were so open to sharing their own experiences and their contacts with me. The support from our team of Managing Brokers are phenomenal too, they respond to my questions immediately.

On investing in yourself 
Lorenzo Daminato: From the beginning of my real estate career, I was always part of a larger team that provided support. In 2018, I came to crossroads where I had to leave the security of that team dynamic and pursue real estate on my own. I was scared to leave my former team but when I joined rennie I ended up surrounding myself with an even larger team; the entire brokerage. This move is what elevated my career trajectory and ignited a drive to achieve my own personal goals. In 2019, I persevered through a slow market by investing in myself and my brand. Additionally, by using the tools provided at rennie to further enhance my industry knowledge, which led to positive personal and professional growth. Doing this allowed me to position myself well with clients when the market showed signs of a turnaround. In both my experiences, what could have been perceived as doubtful and uncertain circumstances, actually ended up being the route that led me to career success. 

On true perseverance  
Eric Zamora: 2019 was a challenging year for real estate and likely one of the most challenging years for most Realtors historically. I remember through all of January and February last year, activity was slow for me. It was a true test of perseverance, but it gave me an opportunity to make adjustments to my business where it was needed, while also working on enhancing my level of client service. I found that looking at these challenging times as opportunities are the only way to grow. Finally in March that year, my business began to turn around, and ironically, 2019 finished off being one of the highest producing years in my career.


A big thank you to the rennie leaders Andy Mah, Charlie Kim, Derek Kai, Jane Chu, Jason Lai, Eric Zamora, Lorenzo Daminato, and Vivien Ma for sharing their career experiences with us and the moments that have helped shaped their business and approach.

In performance, in knowledge, in service, in trust. Congratulations to our 2019 rennie leaders. Andy Mah, Artyom Seroff, Brandan Price, Calvin Kan, Charlie Kim, Christopher Boyd, Clarke Mallory, Dal Milin, Danny Chow, Derek Kai, Eric Zamora, Jane Chu, Jason Lai, Hanson Lu, Kim Mallory, Lorenzo Daminato, Ryan Wong, Salina Kai, Shelly Vellani, Simon Lai, Vivien Ma

Our full-service brokerage will help you build your career through a supportive and collaborative environment with consistent mentorship, and the opportunity to align yourself with our reputation for real estate excellence. Learn more here.

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