CREA Conference 2019

I’m currently serving my second year in a two year term on the board of directors for Realtors association of Hamilton Burlington. Being a leader in organized real estate brings me to a few conferences a year, including OREA, the Ontario real estate association, and CREA, The Canadian real estate association. I am just on the plane back from Ottawa (a whopping 38 minutes back to Toronto), and I’d love to share some insights to what I learned and experienced in the past few days.

The best part of going to these conferences is making Connections. I enjoy speaking with directors and leaders from other associations across our country about what services they’re implementing in their organizations, what new technologies they’ve grasped, and what’s working for member engagement, governance, data sharing, and so much more!

We have a responsibility to our members to put their association money to work for them.

In organized real estate, there is a 3 way agreement between local municipal associations, provincial, and national. So registered ‘Realtor’s pay dues to 3 levels of organized real estate, and get services like MLS access, lobbying, forms, resources, Education, etc.

We are constantly trying to enhance our value as a real estate board, by listening to members and delivering products and services to enable them to sell more houses and help more people!

We are Volunteers, and we want to better our profession, so we dedicate our time to Learning and Sharing with our fellow Realtors.

Of course, we recognize certain Leaders in our Associations, like Bill Duce, who is the self proclaimed “Lube of the Association”. HAHAHAH BILL YOU ARE AWESOME!

This year at CREA conference, Day one was a leadership summit.

The CREA coffee tent was hot with Realtors at 7:30 am, fueling up with delicious espresso and ready to.. sit down and listen all day 🙂 The Buffet food at the Westin is always great! Thanks for keeping us fat & happy Westin crew!

We had a few amaaazing speakers teach us how to be great Leaders in our profession, and to empower Realtors.

Our first Celeb speaker was from Simon Sineks organization, and yep, you guessed it, it was about finding your WHY.

Why based Leadership is so important, to every level of Organized Real Estate, now more then ever, because we have disrupters like Zillow entering our marketplace and we need to learn how to embrace and deal with them.

The How and What come only after you figure out WHY you’re doing something. What inspires you to do what you do?

For me, it’s helping people grow their wealth through real estate and live in a home they love.

People have choices, and as Realtors, we need to show people why it’s better to work with us then someone else. Because we are a service based industry, we need to start with our why, rather then how or what, (which might be adopted more in commodity based companies). Creating an emotional connection with people, drives long term results.

And that’s the business I’m in! I’m in a long term relationship with my clients. (#noprenup!) I don’t just have a transactional mindset and want to get a deal done and never see someone again. I do things to make people better.

I’m writing this blog so you can get to know me, hopefully like me, and trust me! Loyalty is so important in life and business, and I constantly want to provide value to people, so when they think of real estate, they think of me.

So my ‘Mission’ (aka my why), of helping people grow their wealth through real estate, and having a home they love, is SO important to keep in mind to execute my Discipline of How, and Consistency of What.

If you’re clear about your why, that will guide your decision process, which should lead to the results you want.

Why based leadership in our local, provincial and national real estate boards and associations is what we need. Once we know why were doing something, like lobbying, or data sharing, or increasing professionalism, it will be so much easier figuring out the how and the what you need to do to reach your goals.

Seems straight forward right?

Well, it kind of is!

Make a goal, and work backwards, without getting caught up in processes and rules.

The real estate industry is ever changing and it’s so exciting to see it first hand by being so involved. We need to remember Why we are doing what we do. At the Realtors Association of Hamilton Burlington, our mission is to empower members to succeed. We keep that in mind whenever we are making decisions on behalf of our Members.

The truth is, in real estate, if you don’t blow up your business into something big and brilliant, someone else will.

The ones most adaptable to change are the survivors. Kodak is a great example of a company who revolutionized an industry by inventing the digital camera, only to go bankrupt because they wouldn’t adapt to more change.

I’m not saying change is necessary all of the time, because at the base of any organization there should be Values to live by.

Realtors have a Code of Ethics we work by, and believe in.

That’s what makes us different then real estate agents that aren’t a part of Organized Real Estate. They have no code of ethics and therefore where does their fiduciary duty start and end? Do they have any values to abide by?

Your Ethics and Values leads into your authenticity, which leads to what you say and do. What you say and do and basically the decisions you make, are what will lead people to trust you.

Safety equals trust. I cannot force someone to trust me. Trust needs to be given. And I am grateful for those who have trusted me helping them buy and sell the largest asset they may ever own.

As a leader in organized real estate, we have to give first, and go first.

What are we doing to do to make the people around us Better? How are we empowering our members to succeed?

We need to respect them, and engage them. We need to ensure people feel valued, because what they do and who they are matters. And we must be the ones willing to go there first.

What Contribution are you making, rather then taking away?

I learned in this session that I need to be the leader I wish I had! And I hope to be that for all of you reading this right now. I want to do everything in my power to make my fellow Realtors look good! I want to help people grow. It’s about more then money. It’s about making people better, leading them to their WHY, and having a vision. It’s about having joy to see people rise up.

As a director on the board, we lead. We don’t manage (that’s what our employees are for) Leadership is different then Management. We need a vision of the future, and we need to be willing to do first.

The choices we make should make the people around us get better; our fellow directors, our management staff, and of course our Realtor members.

Leaders in our profession need to have an infinite mindset. Because it’s better. It lasts. It’s our legacy.

How do we make our industry better? What should we apply and implement? How do we play the infinite game?

By sharing the vision.

By helping people live richer and infinite lives.

If you want to be a leader, then lead with a vision, and the how and what will guide you there.

Surround yourself with positivity and never stop changing, learning and be clear about WHY we come together. Discipline consistency and you will get everything you want in life. Well mostly, Put your vision out there and you’ll see who wants to follow you!

“Leadership is not about being in Charge, it’s about Taking Care of the People in your Charge!”

Meanwhile, outside the conference room doors, there were bustling Realtors visiting booths like MPAC, Geowarehouse, and other industry affiliates who help Realtors preform the best they can, by providing information and technology to enable us to succeed. And, they give us free mints and pens 😉

I visited CREA’s ‘Living Room’, which was promoting the AWESOME new Realtor Blog! Visit The Online Realtor Living Room


Our Next Speaker was a really unique marketer, who used some great examples to help us with marketing and connecting with our Clients, and attracting new ones.

She spoke about Lady Gaga and how she got such a massive following!

Those ‘Followers’ are her Advocates. She focuses on the 1% of her client base (The ‘Crazy 1%er’s). She connects with those people who engage with her, that are kinda crazy about her! They love her in a crazy, irrational way, and sometimes these 1%er’s love the brand more then the one who started it! Lady Gaga is a perfect example of sooo many great lessons us self employed people should remember. Most Importantly, She Leads with Values.

She focuses on something bigger then her products, and creates an emotional connection with people. She helps Youth at Risk, She believes in Transgender rights etc.

From Gaga Leading with her Values, Subsequently people may buy products (for more $), with their emotions, rather then functional benefits (Another example…do you really NEED another leafs jersey?!). The point is, people connect with something BIGGER then just the transaction.

We (Real estate Salespeople, and leaders in our real estate industry), need to Lead with Values.

It needs to be what I do. All the time. In the Community, with Customers, I need to Show through Action, and Lead with Purpose. Why? Because it helps people connect with me and Learn what I stand for.

In real estate especially, there are BIGGER reasons why clients are doing a transaction. It’s my job to learn what that is, and connect that to what I stand for.

By continually creating this Blog, starting my Podcast, and connecting with you all on social media platforms, I want to build a community! A community of learning how to grow your wealth through real estate, living in a home you love, and enjoying an educational real estate experience. By building this online platform, I really do want to connect with people who are aligned with the same things that I am, like Real Estate, Learning, and Being the Best Person you can Be!

When I’m not learning about real estate, you can find me playing softball or a game of ice hockey with my friends, sailing on Lake Ontario, Eating and Drinking at my favourite places in Hamilton, doing Yoga and hanging out with my cat (and yes, houseplants) 🙂

I’m one of those people who actually enjoy getting out of my comfort zone (hence my 9 month solo trip abroad!), so I really enjoy going to conferences like CREA and interacting with strangers in my profession, who become friends, acquaintances and mentors.

What’s your Story?

What are you a Student of?

Sports? Clothes? Netflix and Chill?

I would love to hear your story in the comments section below!

I have made so many amazing connections in my local community with people who have similar past times as me, and I truly appreciate the quality of relationships I have with them. Especially with my past clients who laugh (and sometimes cry), and who I go on a spectacular home buying/selling journey with.

I would encourage you to get out there and meet the 1% of people who are passionate about the same things that you are. An instrument? an Art? What is fun to you?

Connecting with people is great in so many different ways, so Be Brave! Be Bold! and Think Differently.

This next section I will write as an accountability segment, to myself 🙂

This speaker was from Havas, who is an international branding company. She was teaching us how to Brand ourselves, and the bigger picture, our Realtor Brand.

Branding is obviously important to Realtors.


Because if we have a great Brand, we can make a meaningful difference!

Did you know that 77% of brands could disappear tomorrow and no one would care?

The difference between brands, are those that live up to their promises, and actually make a meaningful difference.

Look at green products! The cleaning product company, Method has been around for a while, people recognize that brand, and even pay extra for it (myself included), because consumers  know that the company wants to make a meaningful difference by reducing pollutants. When Clorox and other large brands tried green products, they failed because the customers know the brand only cares about their bottom line, not saving the planet.

We all have expectations of how companies should behave.

What I want to concentrate on, is OVER DELIVERING on people’s expectations.

I constantly ask myself… am I uplifting?

Do I uplift my clients to make the best decisions?
Uplift my colleagues to be better real estate professionals?
Uplift people who have never done a real estate transaction to learn everything they can about what they’re doing?

Yes, yes yes!
I want to be your real estate hero!

So I will continue to start conversations about what I care about.

Are you a business owner?

Creating a more meaningful brand to some people could be….

  • Partnering up with someone in the field you like
  • Donating to Charity, or starting your own!
  • Giving back to the community through volunteering etc
  • Community Advocate
  • Fight for Safer Neighbourhoods
  • Work with Law Makers to Protect Property Rights
Realtors should be continually closing the gap between expectations and reality. WE set the standard for how the public views Realtors. We have a Code of Ethics which we abide by. THAT is our Brand Edge! No one else has the integrity of a Realtor that abides by the code of ethics.

Meaningful brand keep their promises.

The Realtor Ethics Code is our Differentiator.

What should be ingrained in every Realtor, is


That is our code, and we should live up to it Every. Single. Day.

So for all my fellow Realtors and Business Owners reading this…

  • What’s Your Story? Who are You? What do you Stand for? Why Should People Care?

Learn what truly motivates you and your impact will continually reach farther.

To help people understand you, create a social campaign, or create a Hashtag!

If you want people to propel YOUR Story, they need to feel proud and excited to be a part of it!

(Shout out to RockStar Real Estate Brokerage who does an awesome job of creating a community spirit).

I know that my Brand is constantly evolving, as I do.

Part of that Brand is upholding Customer Service, Continue to Invest in Quality Products & Experiences, and most importantly, don’t align with current trends that I lose emotional connection with.

Values aren’t just words on a page. It’s how I work and conduct my Business.

As a Local Leader in the Real Estate Industry, I need to Set & Maintain the Standard for our Profession. We all do!

We have an opportunity with all these new tech companies coming into our industry, to be STRONG at our core, with our Code of Ethics.

Guys, let’s keep the promise of the profession.



Our next Speaker was an Ex-Olympic Female Athelete, Catriona La May Doan. She won a handful of Olympic medals over her career and boy did she have a great message for us!

Her main message was:

It’s better to lead from behind then in front.

Leaders aren’t always the head of the organization, or the people you see. It’s the coaches and support staff behind the scenes that help the big shots get to where they are. Coaches are soo important!

Let’s face it, in real estate, there are a LOT of setbacks. As Realtors, I can’t even count them all, and Buyer’s and Seller’s have their own struggles.

In order to overcome setback it takes COURAGE!

There are no guarantee’s in life. Change happens. And as leaders in organized real estate, that have a ton of disrupters to our industry, we need to Embrace change! Embrace change to be more Efficient, and make us Better.

Us Realtors can be the change! We don’t have to wait for disrupters to come to town and shake up our business models.

People have trust and faith in us (as their Realtors, and as leaders in our local real estate organizations), because we have Courage.

If you’re a Realtor reading this, you know that sometimes the toughest deals are the BEST!

If you’re at the top, competitors will mimic you and overtake you. We need to Evolve how We, and our Industry and our Team is approaching things.

We Cannot be the Status Quo. We MUST exceed the Status Quo! (Again, to prevent disrupters and keep our clients happy!)

This is a Team Effort. At the Board level, we are a team who serves our Realtor members. As Realtors, we serve our clients. And none of us would be in business if we didn’t have a strong team of people providing us with the service and products we need to run an effective business. Go Team! That should be ingrained in every element that we do.

Ask yourself, how can each team member help me? Learn from your people!

What I have learned, is that I need to be willing to be a little bit different. I know I need to Stand Out in this busy world of Realtors! YES Attention is intimidating, and YES it takes Courage to Stand Out.

I know I need to pave the way.

Pave the way for other Realtors and amazing people in this profession that are coming after me.

I need to lead from behind, and I have learned that Leadership isn’t the people being Acknowledged, it’s those that have the courage to step up. So here I am, taking on this role of writing this blog, to influence you.

Influence you to adapt to change, to be BETTER, and to have Courage!

I step up to this Volunteer position every day, knowing that I have a lot to gain, in personal and professional development.

If I put limits on anything I do, it will spread into my work and life. I have never lived like that (and those of you who know me, know that I’ve always ran to the tune of my own bell, or whatever that old saying is LOL).

There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and we must not stay there. We need to learn to Deal with Change, to Accept it, and not resist it.

We have the Opportunity as a member on the Board of Directors, to be a Role Model and Mentor, and I plan to continue to push the limits.

I pushed the limits last night at the bar, yet somehow I was still thirsty, so being the leader I am, I led myself to the Westin lobby bar, The Shore, to catch up with some new friends, which is a fabulous place to get a cocktail and talk business.


Monday night our Board of Directors got together for an AMAZING meal at Vittoria Trattoria, and indulged in some wine, which seemed appropriate because we were in the wine cellar! A private room with wine bottles galore and a feeling of the Old World in Italy… (for my fellow board members reading this, no I am not calling you old lol!) *Insert you get better with age, like wine joke*

This is an especially important photo for a few reasons, and one of them is because at the time of me finishing writing this, the restaurant is ON FIRE! Yes, literally… it is burning down and it is horrific. An absolute tragic day that I hope and pray Ottawa gets through it safely. We come to this restaurant every year at the CREA conference and we always enjoy sharing funny stories, board business, and anything else inspiring we picked up at the conference through conversations. Bless you Trattoria Vittoria! I hope to see you again next year.

After our amazing meal (and service, thanks for the great recommendations!), we all headed back to The Shore Club in the Westin hotel where the conference is (our home away from home). There are a ton of Realtors drinking, conversing, and having some truly pivotal conversations. One of my favourite parts of these conferences is listening and learning to other boards and associations about what they’re implementing on the board level, what has worked, and what hasn’t. I LOVE IT!

The rest of the night was spent with some of my new friends from boards across the country, visiting a pub with live music, and another bar just to push our limits.

So, Tuesday.

Tuesday was conference Day 2.

Tuesday was the ‘meat and potatoes’ of our conference. (I’m sure my Realtors reading this will chuckle as that’s usually how we explain Schedule A on an Offer).

We started the day with a tribute to an amazing man.
I cannot go on until I show my appreciation for Andrew Peck.

Andrew has been a member of organized real estate for so long, and as made a positive impression on everyone he’s met.

He was contagious in his high spirits and getting along with people. A true leader in our profession.

He passed away over a short period of time late last year, and the room was solemn remembering this truly amazing man.
His husband Paul was there to celebrate Andrew’s life accomplishments with us.

Oh man I just got a shiver writing this. We need more Andrew’s in the world. Funny, caring, and inclusive. We all miss you.

Thank you for everything you’ve done for organized real estate, and watching over us as we try live up to you.

The morning was very special to be a part of.

We recognized the Realtor Cares CREA Committee, who raised a HUGE amount of money to go to Canadians in need. BRAVO to the Realtor Cares Committee of 2018!!!!!

Sharing in that accomplishment is a really special part of being a Realtor.

That Realtors, competitors really, are amazing humans who know how to team up, and give back to the people in our communities. #blessed

Some people think Realtors are just rich people who drive nice cars and don’t care about anyone but a big pay cheque.

Ohhhhh myyyy goshhhhh how wrong they are!
Sure, there might be some of those, there is in any industry.

Seeing the hard work and persistence that these Realtors have and do to give back to the communities they live and work in is truly inspiring, and I am SO grateful to be part of an industry that has such a big heart. <3

Thank you all for your Service.

Next up was John Smaby, President of NAR in the States, who gave us an uplifting speech about working together to better the consumers experience with the public, by living by our Code of Ethics.

After a very long day of voting, CREA Past President Barb Sukkau told us about her and CREA’s accomplishments in 2018, which are included but not limited to:

  • SOLD Data on
  • Improvements for consumers and Realtors, to
  • Lobbying Efforts at the Federal Level
  • “Living Room” on which is a great blog with homeownership tips! LINK
  • CREA’s new Realtor ad campaign, which is quite hilarious! LINK
  • I’m probably missing a lot of great things she did, sorry I didn’t take notes Barb!
    • What I have taken note of in the past couple of years on the conference circuit, is how well put together Barb is. She is approachable yet firm, and truly cares about making positive changes, and fostering great relationships with Realtors across our country. She wants to move forward, and has taken the steps in 2018 to get ‘there’. As a young female in organized Real Estate, she has inspired me to put up with all these old guy whites (haha I love you guys!), and be the change we want to see. Thank you for your service Barb.

We also voted for our new CREA Board of Directors for 2019.
This is what took so long.

It’s probably a good thing, so see so many qualified professionals put their name forward for the highest leadership role in organized real estate in our country. You are all an inspiration!

I was ecstatic to have a few inspiring young men run, like Tim Ayers and James Maybe. Although Tim didn’t make it to the table this year, they are both known in our Realtor community to be leaders and working towards a great future of organized real estate in Canada.

I met James last year at the CREA YPN event. He is a young broker owner of an office in Edmonton of almost 100 agents, and he still finds the time to dedicate to volunteer on a National level.

Being the Chair of the CREA tech committee makes me excited about what he will bring to the table, among a table of old white guys hahah. I’m sorry, I cannot resist, the OWG’s paved the way for us, and I’m grateful to see more diversification on every level of organized real estate, including a few females serving on the CREA board.

Congratulations to everyone who made it to the CREA Board table!

Here are a few great faces I’m excited to see more of in 2019



Our President’s Gala was Tuesday night, and after a great meal (was that pork belly? omfg so good..), CREA hired a professional comedian and we were all dyyyying of laughter. It was a really fun night to wrap up the conference and meet more great people in organized real estate.

I came out of this Conference refreshed and invigorated, and looking forward to making positive changes in our Local Real Estate Board and Community.


If you got this far, THANK YOU FOR READING!!!

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