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Fall 2013 • Volume 7 / Issue 2



INSPIRATION How one small decision changed Bill Bacque’s life­—and the lives of hundreds more. IN THIS ISSUE: • From Boardrooms to Ski Slopes • Tech Whiz • Raising the Giving Bar

Fall 2013 Volume 7 / Issue 2

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Letter from the Publisher

You’ve heard the saying, “You learn something new every day.” Publisher Steve Murray learned some new facts about some old friends. Their stories are your stories. Find inspiration in them.


Compassion, Commitment and Change

When Bill Bacque decided to send out a weekly motivational email, he had no idea that it would change his life. Find out how this one deed made an impact on hundreds.


From Boardrooms to Ski Slopes Find out how this agent gave up corporate life to give her kids a concrete-free upbringing.


Raising the Bar When a charitable group called on this brokerage to raise a substantial amount of money for intergeneration housing, these real estate professionals said, “Bring it on!”


Wonder Kid (Well, he’s not a kid anymore!) Find out how a guy in his 20s founded a technology company that has streamlined the buying and selling process.


Letter from the Publisher


s the publisher of LORE, I get the privilege, along with Editor Tracey Velt, to help determine which people and stories to cover each quarter. This issue includes two of my favorite people—Bill Bacque and Joan Tate Allen—and their inspirational stories. I thought I knew them well but found in reading their stories that I didn’t know them nearly as well as I thought. Not only are these leaders a credit to their companies and to their communities, but they are also a credit to all who call real estate their home. The story of Allison Elder will excite anyone who wants to know how to transplant a career to a place of pure personal enjoyment. And, it’s thrilling to see the passion Austin Allison with Dotloop brings to real estate transaction management. You will also find a list of the top-producing individual and team real estate sales professionals excerpted from REAL Trends/The Wall Street Journal The Thousand. This report, produced annually by The Wall Street Journal and REAL Trends, searches high and low to find out who are, in fact, the most productive sales professionals in America. More than 6,700 applicants from every state submitted this year, and all were independently verified. We are excited to present the very top of The Thousand list. It is amazing when one thinks about the effort, the hours, days and years it took to build practices such as those that are presented here. We can only tip our hats to those who have achieved at levels never quite seen before. With LORE we will always provide stories about the lives and events of real estate professionals, whether they are top producers or not, whether they are sales professionals or in management with a brokerage firm. Our industry is filled with people who not only achieve great business success, but who have done so while giving themselves to their communities, facing enormous challenges in their lives or impacting others’ lives to make them better. Steve Murray Publisher Tracey C. Velt Editor-in-Chief David Grassnick Graphic Designer Travis Saxton Webmaster Doniece Welch Advertising 303-741-1000 Lore magazine is published online via Issuu four times a year—in February, May, August and November—by REAL Trends Inc. 7501 Village Square Drive, Ste. 200 Castle Rock, CO 80108 (303) 741-1000 Free Subscriptions: Click Here

Stephen H. Murray Publisher



Lives of Real Estate

or call 303-741-1000

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apply toDay Find out more at or call 855-433-5569 (855-4FELLOWS) The Fellowship of Realty Professionals | REAL Trends, Inc. 7501 Village Square Drive, Suite 200 Castle Rock, CO 80108

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One Man; Huge Heart

An Interview with William Bacque, president, Van Eaton & Romero Inc., Lafayette, La.


Commitment and Change When Bill Bacque decided to send out a weekly motivational email, he had no idea that it would change his life. Find out how this one deed made an impact on hundreds.

William “Bill” Bacque was flying high. In 2011, after he acquired a company, the pieces were finally falling into place and this president of Van Eaton & Romero Inc., a Latter & Blum Company in Lafayette, La., was ready to make the announcement. “It took four weeks to get to this point, and we were finally announcing the acquisition the following Tuesday. We had our last meeting with staff and management Friday evening. I got into my car at 7 p.m. and was high fiving myself,” says Bacque. “I was feeling like the orchestra leader.” Then, he got home. “When I walked in, my wife looked at me like a deer in the headlights. I immediately thought she had cut herself on some glass. I had dropped a bottle on the pantry floor earlier that day. I was in a rush and didn’t even clean it up.” Unfortunately, it was much more serious than that. “She announced that our youngest son, Joel, age 30, had cancer. I didn’t even know he was having problems. I didn’t know he was going to the doctor that day,” says Bacque. At that moment, his world crashed. “I went from feeling full of power to feeling powerless in an instant.” Then, he said, “My son put his arms around me and told me it would be OK. My son became the rock that I envisioned myself to be. I called

For Bacque, (seen here with his wife, sons, daughter in law and grandson), family comes first.

children with cancer, lost loved ones to cancer. Despite it all, they were very comforting to me.”

my partners that night to let them know what was going on. I was exposed to the power of humility.” After Bill Bacque had a weekend with family, his wife encouraged him to get back to the office. “The entire office team surrounded me. They started a prayer circle.” That, he says, is when he truly understood what the whole idea of inspiration is about. “It’s a joining together of people who hurt when you hurt. We all have experiences to share. These people understand because they’ve all been there. They’ve survived cancer, had

My son became the rock that I envisioned myself to be. — Bill Bacque president of Van Eaton & Romero Inc., a Latter & Blum Company.

Lives of Real Estate




One Man; Huge Heart

After his youngest son was diagnosed with cancer, Bacque made it a point to celebrate life with the people he loves.

Bacque’s oldest grandchild Grayson.




management during the 10 years he was in the area. Eventually, in 1982, he moved back to Lafayette. “It was during the oil crash and the depression, so the company I joined went under. I decided to get a real estate teaching certificate and started my own brokerage company,” he says. He won a bid to teach for the Louisiana Real Estate Commission and scraped up business along the way. “I had a management brokerage firm that brought dollars in, but it was just about surviving back then. I would hold two 4-hour classes a day, one in the morning and one in the evening. In between, I would do real estate,” he said. Finally, in 1990, Bacque caught the attention of Nancy Van Eaton and Gail Romero, who owned the largest real estate firm in the area. Their manager was leaving, and they offered the job to Bacque. In 2000, they made Bacque a partner owner by awarding him stock in Van Eaton & Romero. They now have five offices and 260 sales associates. “In January 2013, Nancy, Gail and I merged Van Eaton & Romero, Inc. with Latter & Blum Holding Company which operates under four brands: Latter & Blum in business. He married that high Greater New Orleans and the Gulf school sweetheart, and they have two children, Joel and Justin. After Coast, C.J. Brown in Baton Rouge, Noles-Frye Realty in Alexandria and Bacque’s brother shut down the advertising business, Bacque turned Van Eaton & Romero in Lafayette,” to real estate. “My brother’s father- says Bacque. “Nancy, Gail and I are now stockholders in Latter & Blum in-law was a mentor to me. He suggested affiliating with a broker in Holding Company.” His early working town,” says Bacque. At the time, he years didn’t leave much time for was living in Lake Charles, about 70 family. “I had two young children, and miles from his hometown, Lafayette. I missed a lot of what was going on. “It was a struggle to do business in Looking back, I understand the necessity, but it’s a regret of mine.” an area where I didn’t have a Perhaps this regret made the blow of network,” he says. But he his son’s cancer even more severe. managed to transition from sales into Compassionate Leader Spend some time with Bacque, and you quickly see a man who is a compassionate leader and an ardent family man. A self-proclaimed ponderer, he stayed in college during the Vietnam War, “mostly to stay out of Southeast Asia,” and considered joining the Peace Corps. When he graduated, “My high school sweetheart told me it was her or the Peace Corps. I chose her.” He soon took a job with his brother’s advertising

Lives of Real Estate

The Power of the Positive Fortunately, Joel has had surgery, and he’s now cancer free. In fact, Bacque wrote about it in his weekly “Weekend Inspiration” email that he sends to about 460 real estate professionals, 260 from his own company and 200 outside of his company. It was the first time that he truly realized the power of motivating and inspiring others. Bacque started his weekly motivational e-newsletter in 2008 after seeing industry leaders suffering from the market crash. He figured that if these “icons of business” were stressed, then sales associates were struggling mightily. “Initially, I wanted to give [other real estate professionals] stories that could serve as a light to penetrate the darkness.” He regularly reads a weekly column by Tom Tognoli, COO and founder of Intero Real Estate Services in Saratoga, Calif. “I met him and saw what he was doing. My “Weekend Inspiration” is different, but our objectives are the same,” says Bacque, whose weekly email began to go viral right away. “I started with just my sales associates and now I have about 460 people on the list. I receive emails from people I don’t even know who share their experiences with me. [For me, the experience of writing and sending the weekly newsletter] solidified the need that we have as a human species to strengthen each other.” Bacque says the fact that he had been writing the “Weekend Inspiration” helped him “be strong in dealing with what our family went through. I wouldn’t have been as well prepared had I not been involved in a journey of inspiration.”

Bacque gets the ideas for his inspirational emails through everyday life. “I have a deadline every Friday, so I’ve found that I’m more open to finding those seeds of passion and inspiration (than I would otherwise have been). Some of this would have passed me by before I started doing this,” he says. What inspires Bacque? “Virtues, love, family, commitment,” he says. “Striving not only to be the best at what you do but also to understand that when you get to what

Bacque and his wife, Stephanie, on a recent vacation. Below: Meet Lily Claire, the newest edition to the Bacque family.

you think you want, you need to humbly acknowledge that you’re still woefully short.” Bacque looks for stories that highlight human triumph. “You get courage from knowing there are people out there who struggle to overcome,” he says. Bacque has found stories from the newspaper and from those around him. But, he says, his emails that have the most impact are those about local heroes and personal triumphs. “I wrote one Photo courtesy of Carly Mac several months back about a Photography

Lives of Real Estate




One Man; Huge Heart New Orleans Saints football player who was diagnosed with a terminal disease,” he says. “I talked about how he approached that disease and instead of letting it burden him, he started a foundation. A friend read that and emailed me that my email had helped him as he struggled with self-pity over his own illness,” says Bacque. He’s also written about being a father, being a grandfather to Grayson (3) and Lily Claire (newborn), highlighted stories from the heroes who helped the Boston Marathon bombing victims and people who are influential in his own life. “[Getting] even one response from a person who read [my newsletter] and gained something from it makes it all worthwhile. I don’t have the answers, but I have the questions, and I find the common ground,” he says.




Lives of Real Estate

Life Changing From that one small decision—to write a weekly motivational email— Bacque says, his life has changed. “I don’t see myself as an extroverted person. It’s not in my nature to be that person, let alone share emotions. But when I write, I can say things that I wouldn’t say if I had to speak them,” he says. “It’s given me an outlet for that emotional side of me and helped me become more prepared to handle life’s obstacles. It’s given me a source of strength.” Not only that, he says, but the support he received from co-workers, friends, family and peers after writing about his experience with his son’s cancer diagnosis truly got him through the experience. “My goal is to leave the world a better place,” he says. “It’s hokey, but if we all just do one small, impactful thing, we can all be on a pathway to change in the world.”

Weekend Inspiration

A Lesson in Humility

Read Bacque’s weekly email about his son’s cancer diagnosis: To My Magnificent Agents, Staff and Friends:

element. I had to know the overall score. I have responsibility for defining and understanding I’m sure you have heard the term “arrogance each player’s part. I must listen to their various of power.” Most often it is applied to political tunes and meld them into one cohesive melody. leaders, but it certainly can apply to a broader If any problem areas develop, I must solve audience than that. I learned this week that it them. Finally, I must lead the orchestra through defines me. the final performance, controlling and directing For more than 30 years, I have been a its tempo and delivery. This is my element— manager, a leader, a mover and a shaker. I have vision, planning, deciding, executing and, most attained financial success and become fairly important, controlling. I am a master of control. renowned as a result of my skills. I didn’t make The short period available between the it on luck. I made luck happen. I’ve invested all agreement and the public announcement made my fiber and being into becoming the best at for long hours and a lot of stress, but this only what I do. I’ve helped build the largest, most fed my ego. At the inception, the number of successful real estate company in our region. I details that needed to be attended to seemed am known locally, statewide and even nationally insurmountable. However, as that date drew as an authority in my field. Without a doubt, in closer and closer, I became confident we were my mind, most of the importance in my life going to pull it off. On the Friday evening I’ve attained through my business prowess. My before the Tuesday morning announcement corporate, or business, self has pretty much event, I was driving home exhausted, but defined who I am. And as that success and convinced that all the wheels were turning in stature have grown, so has my ego. Interestingly, the right direction, and I was smug in that I’ve never seen myself as self-centered or familiar feeling that I had everything under egotistical. At least that’s what I told myself. control. Little did I know, as I walked into my Recently, a grand opportunity to test all my home, that all those wheels that I had guided so skills arose when our company became a party expertly throughout my life were about to in the acquisition of another real estate come flying off. company in our marketplace. In mid-December, As I entered the door and my wife’s eyes met we began those negotiations. This culminated in mine, I immediately knew something was a general agreement being finalized on wrong. My first thought was that it was a bottle December 30. Over the next three weeks, I that I had accidently knocked off a shelf at was involved in all the planning details for the lunchtime and left on the floor of our pantry announcement and subsequent assimilation of with no note of explanation as to “who” or the company agents and staff into our “why.” I had just been too busy to clean it up. organization. There was a very short timeline Surely, she would understand. I immediately and so much to do. As it has been throughout began my defense. “I’m sorry about not my career, I did not, nor could I, handle all the cleaning up the mess,” I said. Strangely, her details. My competent, dedicated staff would response was not normal. Instead, her eyes had carry most of that burden, assisted by the the look of the proverbial “deer in the wonderful management team of the company headlights.” Her voice cracking, she replied, we were acquiring. My role was more akin to “That’s not it. They found cancer in Joel.” that of an orchestra conductor. That’s my Joel is my younger son. He’s 29 years old and Lives of Real Estate




the father of my 10-month-old grandson. We knew he had been experiencing some urological issues earlier in the week. He had consulted with my father-in-law, a retired physician, and subsequently, with my brother, a urologist. We knew all this. But everything up to this point indicated that this was nothing to worry about. It was just an infection. IT WASN’T CANCER!! Suddenly, I felt my wheels starting to come off. That night, Joel, my daughter-in-law, Melanie, my grandson, Grayson, and my other son, Justin, came over. We talked a little about the “elephant in the room,” but very little. We just wanted to be together. I could not find my self-assured, in-control persona. My wheels were still coming off. Later, my brother, Frank, and my sister-inlaw, Miki, came by. Frank assured us that he was confident that he could remove the Want to receive Bacque’s tumor “Weekly Inspiration”? Just completely and that Joel email him at bbacque@ would be, and cured. He was so he’ll add you to the list. confident, so self-assured. It was comforting, but not for me. My wheels were still coming off. That night, though exhausted from work and emotionally drained, I couldn’t sleep. I found myself in a completely foreign world—one where I had no control, no power, no solution, no ability and no confidence. I was involved in the most significant situation of my life and I was useless. My wheels were totally off. Joel’s surgery was scheduled for Wednesday. The announcement of the company acquisition was Tuesday. I was operating on a business level on Monday and Tuesday, but it was totally by autopilot. There was no ego tripping. I was just going through the motions. Everything went off

Get Inspired!




Lives of Real Estate

as planned, but not because of me. My partners, staff and agents were conducting the orchestra. I was no longer leading the train. I was just along for the ride. Cargo. My wheels were nowhere to be found. On Wednesday, my wife, Stephanie, and I got to the hospital at 6:30 a.m. Joel and Melanie arrived shortly thereafter. He got dressed in his garb. We talked. The chaplain came in and we prayed. I prayed. It was a prayer of one who feels helpless. Not hopeless, but helpless. Justin arrived with Melanie’s mother, Martha. Finally, around 10:00 a.m., Joel was wheeled out to surgery. His wheels were still on. Mine where long gone. Throughout the next two hours, Frank sent us reports that the surgery was going well. We felt more confident with each communication. We also felt a palpable warmth and peace envelop us. It undoubtedly was the hand of God summoned by the scores of friends who were holding all of us up in their thoughts and prayers. I began to feel that the wheels were back on and turning in my life. They just weren’t my wheels anymore. The surgery was successful. My brother got all that evil cancer out of my son. His thoroughness initially discovered the tumor and his skillful hand exorcised it. He saved my son! Thank God for guiding him. Thank God for all who held us up in prayer. Thank God! His wheels were securely in place and turning smoothly. And, thank God for humbling me! “The reward of humility and fear of the Lord is riches, honor and life.” — Proverbs 22:4 Have an awe-full weekend! I promise you that I will. Bill L


ongratulations to the individual and team real estate sales professionals who qualified to be part of this year’s REAL Trends/The Wall Street Journal The Thousand. In an industry that has nearly one million people involved in residential real estate sales, the fact that you have achieved the level of sales it takes to be in this esteemed group is outstanding and rather incredible.

Following are the top 5 in each of the four categories: Individual Real Estate Professionals by Transaction Sides 1.

Ben Caballero

Addison, TX


Ayoub Rabah

Great Street Properties

Chicago, IL


Jeff Perry

Prudential Results Realty

St. Cloud, FL


Joe Kadaf

RE/MAX Leading Edge

Dearborn Heights, MI


Michael Balsitis

Bellabay Realty LLC

Caledonia, MI

Individual Real Estate Professionals by Transaction Volume 1. Ben Caballero

Addison, TX

2. Serena Boardman

Sotheby’s International Realty/NRT

New York, NY

3. Mauricio Umansky

The Agency

Beverly Hills, CA

4. Kurt Rappaport

Westside Estate Agency

Beverly Hills, CA

5. Jade Mills

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage/NRT

Beverly Hills, CA

Team Real Estate Professionals by Transaction Sides 1. John Murray Team REO

Key Realty

Rockford, IL

2. The Minnesota Real Estate Team

RE/MAX Advantage Plus

Lakeville, MN

3. Team Rasmus

Rasmus Real Estate Group

Atlanta, GA

4. The Creig Northrop Team

Long & Foster

Clarksville, MD

5. Ronnie & Cathy Matthews’ Team

RE/MAX Legends

Spring, TX

Team Real Estate Professionals by Transaction Volume 1. The Jills-Jill Eber and Jill Hertzberg

Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate/NRT

Miami Beach, FL

2. The Creig Northrop Team

Long & Foster

Clarksville, MD

3. Carrie Chiang/Janet Wang

The Corcoran Group/NRT

New York, NY

4. Mary and Brent Gullixson

Alain Pinel Realtors

Menlo Park, CA

5. The Deborah Grubman Team

The Corcoran Group/NRT

New York, NY

JULY 2013

For a complete listing of the 2013 The Thousand CLICK HERE



How I Got My Start

From Boardrooms to Ski Slopes Find out how this agent gave up corporate life to give her kids a concrete-free upbringing.

With a love of the great outdoors, it’s no surprise that Alison Elder and her family love living in the Tahoe area. “We love to ski and love the resort area,” says the sales associate with Chase International in Truckee, Calif. Like most real estate professionals, though, Elder took quite a circuitous route to get there. “It took a while, but I finally transitioned from the fast-paced corporate world to a much more family-oriented lifestyle working in real estate,” she says. The Early Years After spending some time during college as an intern in Washington, D.C., Elder thought she wanted to be a lawyer when she graduated. “After some personal reflection, I decided I didn’t want to spend my life in a law library,” she says. Instead, she “accidentally ended up in healthcare administration” due to a family connection with the CEO of French Health Plan. “I loved the business and the people. I was impacting people’s lives in a positive way selling staff model HMO plans,” she says. In fact, she loved the healthcare business so much that she spent the next 12 years in the industry with several different companies, doing large-group brokerage sales for both HMOs and benefits administration. “As things started changing with Lincoln National Life, which moved out of large-group health insurance and started offering a small-group model that I felt wasn’t strategically aligned to the business, I decided to start my own company,” she says.

Small Business Owner Capitalizing on the loyal following she had with insurance brokers and consultants, Elder took on two partners and started a small administration company that went from 9 employees in 1993 to 65 by 1997. “We had a sales organization in the Bay Area (San Francisco) and another in the Bellevue, Wash., area. We had clients like Oracle, Stanford

and Netscape, who all liked what we were doing because we had a tech aspect to our business,” she says. In fact, her firm, BeneSphere Administrators, was the first online benefits administration company for this type of product. “This was in 1993, during the boom in high tech. My husband is a tech guy and helped build the online system. It was pretty exciting to employees, who could get online and file claims and enroll in tax-free healthcare and daycare payroll-deduction programs; today, she says, it’s “normal and expected.” In about three years, we had almost

Elder and her family enjoy being outdoors.

Lives of Real Estate



How I Got My Start Transitioning into Real Estate Not to mention that her corporatelearned skills were extremely transferable to real estate. The trick was helping her husband, who had finished his career at Netscape, plan for a slower pace. “He bought a branch of Pacific Mortgage Consultants and built his own business in Truckee, leveraging all our Bay Area contacts and local ones too,” she says. That was in 1998, and Elder has been thriving ever since. She was named Chase International Real Estate’s Agency Realtor® of the Year for both 2011 and 2012. She’s on the board of the local chapter of the Excellence in Education Foundation and a member of the local Sports Ortho Council, a developing holistic surgery and rehab center for elite and weekend athletes. She’s also on the Cancer Advisory Council, which partnered with UC Davis, supported a successful community bond initiative and is a national rural model in cancer care.

Elder’s son Andrew is an Alpine racer who participates in the Super G, Giant Slalom and Slalom.

900 clients,” she says. ProBusiness, a payroll and human resources company, bought BeneSphere and went public shortly thereafter. “ProBusiness, which was later purchased by ADP, wanted to buy my company because in 1997, integrated benefits (health, benefits, payroll and human resources administration) was launching. I had the benefits piece,” she says. By then, Elder felt that she had outgrown the job and was looking for a new experience and opportunity. She was recruited by a large payroll service that wanted her to build its business. “I was there for a couple years, but the workload and travel schedule were superheavy. I did consulting for a few years, but the national travel, four or more days per week, was too much,” she says. By then, she had small children and wasn’t keen on leaving them. In addition, her then-15-yearold son, Andrew, had some health issues. “We had a second home in the Tahoe area, it just seemed a good fit and Andrew was so much healthier in the clean air,” she says. “I had a goal to raise my kids off the concrete, and I determined that real estate was the vehicle to help me reach that goal,” she says.

I had a goal to raise my children off the concrete, — Alison Elder Chase International




Lives of Real Estate

athletes. Her 12-year old daughter, Angela, is a Sugar Bowl Academy student-athlete as well, who runs track and cross-country and is an avid equestrian. The entire family takes advantage of the Tahoe summers, spending a lot It took me three of time on their boat, Knot Again. “Our years to re-engineer downtime is spent enjoying my life, but I’m there the solitude of our natural environment, attending ski now and loving every races all winter, spending minute of it. summers boating on Lake Tahoe and just hanging out — Alison Elder with family,” says Elder. Chase International That’s a far cry from the hustle and bustle of corporate life. “I lived that corporate, fast-paced life in San Francisco,” she says. “It took me three years to re-engineer my life, but I’m there now and loving Elder’s daughter, Angela, every minute is an avid equestrian. of it.” L

As with her career in healthcare services, Elder is focused when it comes to real estate. “Everyone gets million-dollar service, no matter if they’re buying a $200,000 condo or a $5 million second home on Lake Tahoe. My service model honors every client’s needs,” she says. She also believes in “making sure my vision is clear. I want to know about my clients’ day-to-day experiences and whether or not they’re buying this property as a legacy property. Then, I take their vision and help sculpt it, based on their needs while honoring their budget.” About 75 percent of Elder’s business is with second-home buyers in Lake Tahoe. “The vast majority of my clients are high-net-worth individuals from San Francisco, Carmel Valley and even Los Angeles who are looking for the next passion in their lives.” It appears Elder has personally found that next passion. Both of her children are winter athletes. Her son is now an Alpine racer who participates in the Super G, Giant Slalom and Slalom as a full-time student-athlete at Sugar Bowl Academy, a prep school for competitive

Lives of Real Estate




The 2013 REAL Marketing and Tech Summit

“Collaboration with the Best” • Trends in Technology and Marketing in the Brokerage Industry • Effective Mobile Strategies —Drawing Consumer Interest and Generating Leads • Pros and Cons of Integrated Technology • How to Grow a Business from Online Marketing • Where the Best Sources of Leads are Found • How to Build a System to Increase Lead Generation and Capture • The Risk and Rewards of New Technologies • Larry Kendall on Leadership

October 16-18, 2013 JW Marriott Cherry Creek 150 Clayton Lane Denver, Colorado 80206 303-316-2700 • 866-706-7814


Daniele Stufft, Conference Manager Email: Phone: 303-741-1000

Attention: Marketing Directors, Technology Directors and Broker/Owners handling technology for your firm Join Us in Denver This Fall—Get REAL Marketing & Technology Solutions

“Collaboration with the Best” Conference Agenda

Wednesday, October 16 4:00PM-5:00PM Opening Session: Travis Saxton and Bob Bill, REAL Trends Conference goals and objectives, introduction of panelists, trends in technology and marketing in the brokerage industry. 5:00PM-9:00PM

11:00AM-12:00PM Work groups tackle Integration/ Work group share ideas 1:30PM-2:00PM

The Business of Leads: Ben Kinney, CEO, Keller Williams Bellingham A foremost expert will reveal how to grow a business from online marketing, where the best source of leads are found and how to build a system to increase lead generation and capture.


Work groups tackle the Lead Business/Work group share ideas


The Secret of Agent Adoption: Jodi Dines, CIO, Real Estate One A leader of one of the most productive realty firms in America will share his experience in vetting technologies and gaining agent adoption of technologies. The risk and rewards of bringing new technologies will also be addressed.


Work groups tackle Agent Adoption/Work group share ideas

Networking Reception and Dinner Interview with two key technology leaders about Amara’s Law: “Most will overestimate the impact of technology in the short run and underestimate the impact of technology in the long run.”

Thursday, October 17 8:30AM-9:00AM Effective Mobile Strategies: Wendy Forsythe, EVP/Head of Global Operations, Atlantic & Pacific Real Estate, Inc. How brokers can make best use of mobile strategies to draw consumer interest, generate leads and close deals for their agents. Plans and policies that have worked for others (and those that don’t work). 9:00AM-10:00AM

face when attempting to integrate the front end with the back end of the firm’s operations.

Work Groups: Mobile strategies/ideas

10:30AM-11:00AM Pros and Cons of Integrated Technology: Alex Cramer, CFO, Prudential Tropical Realty and Travis Saxton, Director of Technology and Marketing, REAL Trends The benefits and drawbacks of integrating different information systems and technologies in a brokerage system. It will focus on real world issues that brokers will

Friday, October 18 8:30AM-11:00AM General Session: Larry Kendall on Leadership 11:00AM-11:30AM Closing Comments: Travis Saxton, Bob Bill and and Steve Murray

Community Giving

Raising the Bar When a charitable group called on this brokerage to raise a substantial amount of money for intergenerational housing, these real estate professionals said, “Bring it on!�

Sometimes it takes a little challenge to raise awareness and push the envelope when it comes to charitable giving. Not that giving back to the community is a foreign concept to Windermere Cronin & Caplan Realty Group and its nonprofit arm, the Windermere Foundation. “We give to the community; it’s part of what we do,” says Joan Tate Allen, owner and vice president of the Portland, Ore.–based brokerage. “In a good year, we have $25,000 donated to our foundation. Agents donate a percentage from each single closed transaction,” she says. Despite that, when a 2005 startup asked the Windermere Foundation to become a partner in its building project, the board just wasn’t sure it was doable. “It required a $50,000 donation,” Allen says, “It was beyond anything we had done.” Plus, the foundation was committed to several other organizations, including the YMCA and several charities related to helping the homeless, women and children. However, the idea was intriguing. The project, Bridge Meadows, is a three-generation housing community consisting of homes for adoptive families and apartments for adults aged 55 and older. Parents and children who live at Bridge Meadows are provided a lifeline of support throughout their journey of adoption. The older adults at Bridge Meadows act as surrogate grandparents and mentors to the children and families who live there. They each also volunteer 10 hours per week teaching arts and crafts, giving music lessons

and taking the kids to the park during the summer. “We loved the idea and vetted it carefully,” says Allen. After all, this project perfectly expressed the basic tenets of the Windermere Foundation. “The work we do in the community is an extension of our business focus— finding people a place to live and caring for the people in our community. This project fit neatly into that,” she says.

Bridge Meadows was delayed, and then in 2007, it was back on the table, but this time the request had increased to a $250,000 commitment from Windermere. “We thought this project was the coolest thing ever,” says Allen. But every charitable activity done by the brokerage is agent driven. She knew that she and the board needed agent buy-in to get this project off the ground. Agent response was beyond anything Allen and the foundation board had ever expected.

Joan Allen, (left) co-owner of Windermere Cronin & Caplan Realty Group, Inc. and co-chair of the Windermere Foundation, and Teri Beatty, Windermere Foundation agent representative, scoop ice cream for the New Avenues for Youth Scoop-a-thon.

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Community Giving recession, which speaks to our agents’ commitment,” she says. Bridge Meadows officially completed construction in 2012, with 32 subsidized units. Allen is on the Bridge Meadows board. “They call us their Windermere angels,” she laughs. The whole experience brought the entire company together because people were working toward a common goal. Because of this, the Windermere Foundation decided to take on another challenge: raising money for Providence Portland Medical Center Housing, a guesthouse for families who need a place to stay while a family member is in the hospital. “We made a commitment to them in 2010 to raise $100,000. We gave them $50,000 in 2011, and we’ll give them another $50,000 in 2013. They’re

“[The agents] came up with all sorts of ways to raise money. Some put out the word that they would donate $5 to Windermere Foundation for every agent who showed up at their broker’s open. One agent had a talent show,” she says. With 15 acts, the entertainment ranged from dancing and singing to playing musical instruments and doing comedy. “It was amazing,” Allen says. Another agent raised $25,000 with a golf tournament. “He’s still doing the golf tournament,” says Allen. “He just had his fourth annual one.” The best part of these activities, she says,

We do these things because we believe in them and hope we can be an example for others. — Joan Tate Allen Windermere Cronin & Caplan Realty Group

Bridge Meadows presented the first ever Bridge Builder Award to the local chapter of the Windermere Foundation. Joan Allen (center), proudly displays the award. Also pictured: Derenda Schubert,(right) executive director of Bridge Meadows and Shannon Mackey (left), chair of the board of directors for Bridge Meadows.




is that they build camaraderie among agents and even give the agents a reason to contact customers. “It’s a win-win for the community and for the agents,” she says. And, in the case of most events, the agent did all the organizing. “We did provide help if an agent went down this path, especially labor, but many took on the work themselves,” she says. In addition to the big events, the company held events such as a pizza lunch or Friday soup. “In 2011, we gave Bridge Meadows a check for $250,000,” says Allen. “We raised this money during the

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naming the kitchen and dining room after our foundation,” says Allen. “We do these things because we believe in them and hope we can be an example for others,” says Allen. “When Bridge Meadows is ready to expand, we’ll continue with them as well.” And, Allen is quick to point out, it isn’t the foundation or the brokerage doing all this—it’s the agents. “The people in our company are busy people who do really well in the marketplace. More importantly, they’re involved in the community and believe in giving back. It’s who they are,” she says. L

Austin Allison, CEO and president

Wonder Kid (Well, he’s not a kid anymore!)

Find out how a guy in his 20s founded a technology company that has streamlined the buying and selling process.

Our business’ success is the result of the people of Dotloop and those surrounding the company. We fundamentally reinvented the way people work and that’s not been done in our space [market niche]. — Austin Allison

At an age when most 17-year-olds focus on sleeping in and hanging with friends, Austin Allison was busy buying a home. “I first became interested in real estate when I bought my first home at age 17,” says Allison, CEO and president of Dotloop, a technology company that aims to make the real estate transaction more efficient. “I felt the process was antiquated and inefficient,” he says. “We used fax machines, and everyone was running all over town coordinating the terms of the deal.” That was a mere 10 years ago, and now Dotloop is a force in the real estate market, with more than 120 employees in offices in Cincinnati and San Francisco. In 2012, the company received $7 million in investor funding from Trinity Partners.

Young Innovator After that first home-buying experience, Allison “got the real estate itch” and earned his real estate license at age 18 while he was a student at the University of Cincinnati. “I sold real estate all through college, then went on to law school,” he says. In his final year of law school, despite being in the top 20 percent of his class, he dropped out. “I learned it’s hard enough to do one thing well, much less multiple things, so I had to make a choice,” he says. That choice was to focus on building a company that would revolutionize the way real estate transactions are completed—Dotloop. “Selling real estate, I became more and more frustrated with the inefficiency of transactions. I was inspired to make a change.” Allison founded Dotloop in 2009 at age 24. “My vision for Dotloop came from this belief that paperwork doesn’t sell real estate but that people together do. I wanted to bring people together in one place, which is the loop.” It’s that concept that’s differentiated his company from other transaction-management systems in the marketplace.

Age Doesn’t Matter How does a guy in his 20s persuade the mostly over-age-50 real estate leaders to take him seriously? “Many of the leaders I was presenting to were older and more experienced than me,” says Allison. “I have to believe my age went through their minds when I walked into the boardrooms, but I was passionate about the reason I was there— to help them run a better business,” he says. And what serious businessperson wouldn’t be open to learning how to do that? It’s this passion that has made Allison a recognized leader in the real estate technology market. “I want to change the way people in business work. I believe we’ve entered a new era as a society—the people-work era. This is an opportunity for people in business to work differently than they have in the past,” he

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Austin Allison, CEO and president says. Of course, the Internet made the world much more connected, but it’s also enabled “a new level of collaboration that we haven’t seen before,” he says. “I’m passionate about driving the movement to change the way people work. Ten years from now, people won’t be attaching PDF documents to email; they’ll be working on a collaborative platform.” Play Time While Dotloop keeps Allison busy, it’s not all work and no play. “My life priorities are family, fitness and Dotloop,” says Allison, who is married to Angela. “She is the Dotloop office enthusiast. She comes in once a week and focuses on company culture. She

We didn’t focus on paperwork; we focused on people work. — Austin Allison



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works to make Dotloop a fun place to work,” says Allison, who also has a Yorkshire terrier named Paris. “All of our family is in Cincinnati, so I enjoy spending time with family,” he says. Allison is also serious about fitness. He’s an avid runner who competes regularly in marathons and triathlons. Angela also runs, but is much more casual about it than her husband. “I believe in health and fitness as a priority, but Dotloop is my passion,” says Austin. And, that passion is what he says is special about his company. “When you find your passion, work doesn’t feel like work— it becomes your hobby, and everything else in life revolves around it.” L

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Lives of Real Estate (LORE) Magazine August 2013  

Lives of Real Estate Magazine August 2013

Lives of Real Estate (LORE) Magazine August 2013  

Lives of Real Estate Magazine August 2013