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#OakwynAtHome

In this time of unprecendented change, people across the world are learning to connect remotely. For Oakwyn, the last few weeks have reinforced the power of community. Now more than ever, it’s important that we support each other (from a safe distance). From online fitness classes, to exciting webinars, and home delivery services that keep you healthy, we’ve compiled a list of the best this city has to offer while we all #StayHome.

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Webinars and Education

With all of this extra time at home, why not learn a new skill or develop one you already have. Here are a few great ways to keep your mind fit at home:

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Health and Fitness

Navigating this crisis is all about innovation! Luckily, some of our favourite studios have moved their classes online. Keep your motivation up with these awesome at-home workouts.

Delivery Services

Etiquette is important! Help keep your community safe by using cards instead of cash, ask the driver to leave your delivery outside of your door, and wash your hands before and after you pick up your groceries from the doorstep.

  • Dogwood Brewing is blowing out their current supply stock so that they can repurpose their brewery to make hand sanitizer to aid the global crisis. You can order their product through Uber Eats, Skip the Dishes, and Foodora. Oakwynites are eligible to receive 3 mixed flats of Organic beer (that’s 72 cans of beer) at 50% off! Email andre@dogwoodbrew.com to get on the list.
  • Body Energy Club is doing home deliveries of vitamins and supplements in Vancouver and Burnaby, plus live workouts via Instagram Live.
  • SPUD, Save-On Foods, and Instacart are all delivering groceries during this time (see websites for availability).
  • Joseph Richards Group is offering delivery and pickup, promising all of the proceeds to their staff who have been laid off during this time.
  • Fresh St Market is offering personal shopping, pickup services, and delivery to locals during COVID-19. Please see their website for availability.
  • The Real Canadian Superstore is also offering grocery delivery during this time. Please order well in advance as wait times may be longer than usual due to the high volume of requests.

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Keeping Busy

Life isn’t all about work! Make sure you take some time to do things you enjoy during this time. Relax, take it easy.

  • Find a new series to watch on your favourite streaming platform.
  • Download the House Party app to connect and play games with friends and family.
  • At home with your kids? This blog will teach you “easy, fun, and interesting ideas for adults and children to explore together.”
  • Scholastic is offering “Learning Journeys” for kids from preschool to grade nine. Your kids can do these activities alone or with the whole family.
  • NASA is offering virtual space station tours along with other fun, family-friendly activities that you can do with your kids at home.
  • Using this time for learning? Check out the Business in Vancouver podcast for regular news updates and education.
  • The Busy Toddler website offers a diverse range of activities that you can use to entertain your toddler while you practice social distancing.

Curated Playlists to Keep You Moving

Nothing brings us together quite like music. We’ve created these great playlists for you to relax and work to.

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Some Good News

  • Join Oakwynite of the Year Celine Bacani, owner of Lee’s Donuts, in supporting the morale of Metro Vancouver’s frontline workers! Starting April 1st, Lee’s Donuts will be accepting minimum $5 contributions which will go towards bringing donuts (and joy!) to frontline workers throughout the city. To donate click here.
  • Every day at 7pm Vancouverites can be heard cheering from their balconies in support of medical workers. The cheer has become a city-wide show of support for our front-line workers.
  • Your fellow Oakwynite Shauna and her husband Rick Ocean are using their Body Energy Club location in Gastown to help keep our First Responders healthy & nourished! If you’d like to buy a smoothie to a First Responder (Fire Dept, Paramedic, Nurses, Doctors, VPD) for $3.00, please contribute by going on the Body Energy Club Canada mobile app.
  • Oakwynite Vivian Yu has started a GoFundMe page to source quality personal protective equipment for front-line workers and health professionals. All funds raise go directly to the cause so please donate if you can!
  • Vessi Footwear‘s choose what you pay initiative is using its proceeds to donate facemasks and footwear for health care workers. Find out more about how you can contribute (and get some cool sneakers) here.
  • Animal shelters across Canada have seen increased adoption rates as humans seek companionship during isolation. We may be socially distanced, but our furry friends are feeling the love!

#OakwynAtHome

Over the last month we asked our agents to come together and show us their #OakwynAtHome lives. We are proud to work alongside such strong parents, business owners, entrepreneurs, and comunity-minded individuals who have stayed dedicated during these difficult times.

Our Oakwyn family continues to amaze us with their resilience and motivation. Thank you for being such great role models!

We're all in this together. Stay safe, stay humble.

We’ll be updating this blog with more information in the coming weeks. If you would like to contribute, please send links to alehmanchoi@oakwyn.com.

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Episode 5: Oakwyn At Home: Reflecting and Planning

Michael & Morgan are discussing “Mindset” – they share their journeys on mindset & the research they’ve done over the years to influence positive change.
The two discuss tips & tricks for maintaining a mindset routine for presentations & running your business with confidence.


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Episode 4: Oakwyn University & Seller Systems

Now is a time to pursue growth & learning! On our fourth episode, Michael & Morgan explain Oakwyn University; how it works, the content & the philosophy behind it. The two also follow up last week’s conversation on Buyer’s Systems by discussing Seller Systems. Stay home & learn while they offer tips & tricks to optimize your efficiencies for listing a property.


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Episode 3: Buyer Systems

In our third episode of the Oakwyn Podcast, Michael and Morgan discuss Buyer Systems & the story of how they met. Sit back and listen to them discuss their Buyer Systems and the 3 steps of working with a buyer; the initial meeting, the search, and the closing of the purchase.


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Episode 2: Getting to Know Michael Uy & Goal Setting

In this episode, get to know Oakwyn’s co-founder and CEO; how he started in the biz and his main motivators throughout his career.

Oakwyn Realty also discusses goal setting techniques that they use in their careers & personal lives.


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Leaders Are Readers

Oakwyn is an agency that is known for its success. Our agents perform at high-levels across the Lower Mainland and we’re always happy to see them shine. As we prepare for another year of record-breaking sales, it’s important that we take time to appreciate the hard work that went into 2019.

Every year, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver awards the area’s top-performing agents with Medallion Member and President’s Club titles. As always, Oakwyn agents stood out in our industry.

Making Medallion

Medallion agents represent the top 10% of agents, based on MLS deals. 1 out of 5 Oakwyn agents is a Medallion Member. This year, we have 76 agents that made Medallion, and 7 agents who made President’s Club (top 1%).

On top of that, Oakwyn Realty was voted the #1 office in gross dollar volume of sales and our Yaletown office was voted #1 in the downtown area. What a year we’ve had!

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We Celebrate Success By Giving Back

We always like to congratulate our Medallion Members with a group photoshoot. This year, we decided to use this media moment to highlight a cause that we care deeply about: Literacy in BC.

We teamed up with our agents and Decoda Literacy Solutions to raise awareness about literacy in our area. We asked each agent to bring a book to the photoshoot that had impacted their life or career in a positive way. Those books were then donated to our Oakwyn community libraries both at our HQ office and the downtown location. Each library is fit with a donation box where all of the proceeds will go to Decoda.

Oakwyn believes in accessible knowlege for all and we aim to inspire our communities to be passionate about learning. Promoting literacy in BC is one way that we can uphold these values and continue to nurture our deep roots.

Why Is Literacy Important?

Literacy is important for health. Studies show that those who have stronger literacy skills are healthier because they can find, understand, and implement health strategies. Being literate can also help you manage your finances, undestand your legal rights, and find and hold employment. These are all necessary skills that all people have the right to and that’s why Oakwyn is dedicated to helping improve literacy in our province and beyond.

According to Decoda:

  • More than 700,000 British Columbians have significant challenges with literacy. (16% of British Columbians were at Level 1 literacy or below in 2012.)
  • 45% of British Columbians aged 16 to 65 may have difficulty understanding newspapers, following instruction manuals, reading health information and other daily living tasks.
  • 52% of British Columbians aged 16 to 65 may have difficulty calculating interest on a car loan, using information on a graph, calculating medicine dosage and other daily living tasks.

Options for supporting Decoda’s work can be found here.

The Medallion Shoot

To stay on our literary theme, we held this year’s Medallion photoshoot on the steps of the Vancouver Public Library.

Our agents came prepared with their favourite books and with the help of the AntiSocial Solutions team, we were able to capture some really great moments.

We are proud to be held up by the strength of our diverse agents. Year after year, you all impress us with your dedication, knowledge, and perserverance. Seeing this successful crew give back to the community reminds us to keep pushing for progress in every way we can.

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Staying Focused With Kit Matkaluk

“The Medallion Club to me is a sense of direction and reassurance that we are heading in the right direction.  It’s the start of a journey to becoming a President’s Club member. 

[The book I brought] I use a lot, especially when I coach. Mindset is a way of looking at failure as an opportunity and a way to retrain your brain to not think you are a failure if you don’t succeed.  It’s about framing these experiences as an opportunity to ask questions and thrive. Setbacks are temporary and far too many mindsets are focused on the yes, or winning without learning from losing.”

Check out Kit’s book, “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” here.

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Tips from Jessica Chen

“Don’t give up and keep trying new things. Look for a flow that connects you to your goals. It may not be in a book or coaching system and that’s okay, but set your sights on what feels right and allow your true self to shine as often as you can.”

Check out Jessica’s book, “Getting to Yes: How To Negotiate Agreement Without Giving In” here.


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Episode 1: Welcome to the Inaugural Episode of the Oakwyn Podcast

We are excited to announce the first episode of the Oakwyn Podcast, hosted by Michael Uy and Morgan Browne, is officially LIVE!

Join us to discuss everything Oakwyn, Vancouver real estate, and get the inside scoop on what’s happening with us.


Welcome to 2020, the Year of The Experience

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou

2020: The Year of The Experience

Life is a collection of lived experiences. Often, it is the smallest details that make the biggest impact. Think of your most treasured memory. You might remember the weather, the sounds, the day of the week. You will certainly remember the people that you shared that moment with and the way they made you feel.

For our 2020 theme of the year, Oakwyn chose to focus on The Experience— not just of our agents, but of our clients, our communities, and our world.

Why Experiences Matter

Creating lasting impressions with our clients is what makes Oakwyn stand out from other agencies. As a growing company of over 400 entrepreneurs, it is important to us to choose a theme of the year that will unite our internal and external values.

We want Oakwyn to be a company that is remembered. The Experience is about being present and creating personal moments for those around us. Be live, be active. As Morgan Browne said:

“The Experience is something that is multisensory, something that is alive. It is all of the little things that make our agents stand out. Real estate isn’t just about transactions, it’s about creating long-lasting memories that people will hold dear. #ExperienceOakwyn is about creating a really incredible standard for our businesses and our culture.”

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Oakwyn's 2020 Sales Kickoff

This year’s Sales Kickoff was held at the exquisite JW Marriot Parq in beautiful Vancouver, BC. Agents from all over the lower mainland gathered to begin their year of #ExperienceOakwyn alongside their colleagues, friends, and mentors.

2019 was a huge year for Oakwyn. Apart from our ever-expanding group of realtors, we had one of our best sales years yet– even in the midst of a down-market.

Dozens of Oakwyn agents recieved awards for their hard work and dedication in 2019. We spoke with some of the winners to see how they thrived against the odds and what tips they have for upcoming agents.

2020 Rookie of the Year, Kim Lee

What contributed to 2019 being a successful first year of real estate for you?

It began with setting ambitious goals that would keep my eye on the prize and ensure I was always heading in a clear direction. Next, I learned to overcome my resistance toward asking for help. I consider myself a pretty independent person, so asking questions was definitely outside of my comfort zone. But through this process, I adopted new ideas and was able to explore different options that expanded my opportunities. Naturally, the fear of failure when trying out new things came along with it, but I would try to see things that didn’t work out as lessons on how I can become a better agent. Lastly, staying up to date with the market and informed on its trends created a foundation of trust for my clients. I had to stay consistent in my practices even when it felt like it wasn’t doing anything, because when I look back, my discipline was key to my steady growth.

Breakout Agent of the Year, Dan Wurtele

What goals have you set for 2020 and how do you plan to achieve them?

2020 is about team building and helping those around me. I’m officially partnering with Ryan Dash this year and in Spring we will launch our new business. We’re working with AntiSocial Solutions on the brand development and launch video and having a great time working with them and their team.

From here we’re going to be building a team, taking on new and experienced agents and providing them a platform to radically increase their business by utilizing our lead generation systems, marketing materials and immense database of potential and active clients.

I plan to be healthier and more active than I’ve ever been. I love running and have set a goal to run 100 km every month. This year is about continuing to push myself even harder, working smarter, to get uncomfortable and learn and improve daily. I’ve honestly never been more fired up about life and business and I want to share his passion and energy with everyone I meet and speak to.

2020 Rookie of the Year, Mark Landrigan

What does being connected to the Oakwyn community mean to you and your business?

The Oakwyn community meant everything to my business its first year. I made a commitment early on to really lean into the experience in these hallways. Oakwyn’s head real estate nerd, MIchael Uy, told me in our first meeting that there is an implied  expectation of less experienced agents to ask questions and a similar expectation for more experienced agents to answer them. That kind of thing is said in passing often, but the Oakwyn Community exceeded expectations. We’ve got the most hilarious, smart, dedicated, extra, passionate & ridiculously upstanding group of agents, many of which will be my friends for life.

How do you plan to implement Oakwyn’s Experience theme in your work? Why do you think this is important?

I found it important to remember when considering the experience of your clients that while we do this regularly and certain things are routine, it is not likely the case for them.  We may have many clients, but they likely only have one realtor.  The best way to implement Oakwyns theme of experience in my work is to constantly ensure I am considering the experience itself from my clients perspective and not my own. Use this to inform how to best curate their experience to feel confident, informed and prepared to succeed.

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Oakwynite of the Year, Celine Bacani

What does it mean to be an Oakwynite?

Being an Oakwynite means championing a brand that exemplifies professionalism, expertise, and sales and marketing that stands alone among other real estate brokerages

Oakwyn provides such a wonderful space for agents at any stage in their career to poise themselves for growth. Being connected to the Oakwyn community means that I will always have something to strive towards and I’ll never have to look far for inspiration.

What advice do you have for agents who are hoping to make it onto the awards stage next year?

Stay focused:  take care of yourself, take care of your work, and always take care of your clients.

Welcome to The Experience

We send our heartfelt congratulations to this year’s award-winners. Your hard work and dedication does not go unnoticed!

Here is an exciting video we put together introducing our annual theme. Thank you to the team at AntiSocial Solutions for putting this piece together. Let’s make 2020 our best experience yet!


2019: Year in Review

A Year of Connection, Community, and Care with Oakwyn

2019 was an amazing year to be an Oakwynite. From breakout successes to community engagement and growth, the Oakwyn team took 2019 by storm.

Our theme of the year was Human Connection— a crucial component of our business and our lifestyle. We set our sights on outreach, compassion, and understanding throughout the year– and it was nothing short of beautiful.

We spoke with Oakwynite of the Year Robin Bardon to see what 2019 at Oakwyn meant to him.

What does Human Connection mean to you, both in your business and personal life?

Robin Bardon: Human connection has always been a huge theme in my life; right from when I was a child I have been a very social and extroverted person. I love being surrounded by people. In business, this has allowed me to create a relationship-based business that has thrived. I truly get to know the people that I work with.

What does being "Oakwynite of the Year" mean to you?

RB: This was quite an unexpected honour. I think that to me it means not just running my business with integrity, but helping others to do the same, and setting an example within the company and the industry. Our firm is one of few that truly encourages and embodies the ideal of cooperation, even though we all still compete, we work together, and I take pleasure in helping my colleagues and being a person that they come to with questions. I had a great mentor that helped me get where I am and although I want to continue to grow, I want to help others grow too.

Making the President's Club is an elite honour that few achieve. What does this honour mean to you, as a new father, and how did you do it?

RB: It’s honestly pretty exciting to know that I’ve reached the top 1%. I think most will attest that it wasn’t the easiest year, the first 6 months were painfully slow, and I think they discouraged a lot of people. They motivated me. I’ve been through a few slow cycles and the worst thing you can do is let them get you down cause then you won’t be ready when things pick up again. I had a lot of extra motivation with being a new dad! No option but to be successful! But the slow first half of the year was also great timing to allow me to spend a little more time at home.

When reflecting on this last year, what Oakwyn moment stands out to you the most and why?

RB: That’s a pretty tough one. This year was a bit of a blur, I can’t remember sleeping less or working harder in my life. I don’t think that I can narrow it down to one moment, but I have to say that I certainly wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I did without the friendship and support of the people at Oakwyn.

Which Oakwyn core value do you feel most connected to?

RB: I think it has to be “People First”. A big part of how I’ve grown my business is by making sure that I always put the person before the transaction. I do everything that I can to make sure that everyone is content and happy at the end of a transaction and moving forward. That doesn’t just mean my client, but also the other agent and their client. Also, I’m definitely a big real estate nerd. I love learning.

What is the biggest lesson in 2019 that you'll take with you?

RB: I am stronger than I thought, and even when faced with something that seems insurmountable, I can persevere and succeed.

You focus on goal setting a lot in your life, why is this important to you?

RB: Goal setting gives focus, gives purpose, and reminds you that there are a lot of things that are important in life and business and not just to focus all your energy on one of them. Also, the first year I set formal goals and business planned I nearly doubled my income… it works! And that year I really only did about 20% of the things I planned to do!

Thanks, Robin!

2019 in Review Video

We are thrilled to share this year-end video courtesy of AntiSocial Solutions. Thank you to their team for helping us create inspiring media content all year long.

2018 Breakout Agent of the Year: Ryan Dash on 2019

Here are some words from our 2018 Breakout Agent of the Year, Ryan Dash, on what 2019 meant to him:

“The biggest lesson I took out of 2019 was to categorically change the way I think of myself, what I’m capable of and why I am doing it. I’ve also learned I can’t get to where I want to go alone…. 2019 taught me some lessons I wasn’t expecting. Namely, that the pursuit of financial gain was actually a much smaller part of what I was after. 

Finding success in 2019 created a desire to bring others along in 2020. To create the opportunities I’ve had but for others by creating an environment for them to thrive in. 

I think I’m also beginning to deeply understand the value of our culture, of interdependent leadership instead of heroic leadership. That we need to help others who want to succeed in this space by giving them the leadership they need on a personal level, not from a pedestal.”

Thank you to our dedicated agents and staff for making this a year to remember. Let’s make 2020 our best experience yet!


Oakwyn 2019 Holiday Party

2019: The Year of Human Connection

Oakwyn knows that human connection is the driving force of innovation. This year, we put people first. From our Women of Oakwyn event to our Pride Celebration, we dedicated ourselves to connecting with our communities.

Connection, relationships, and community inspired Oakwyn throughout 2019

Our holiday party was no exception to this theme. Our offices grew this year and so did our team. With staff all over the lower mainland, we wanted to make sure that we created a space that was welcoming and inclusive– one which connected individual agents with their larger Oakwyn communities.

Food

The evening’s food was prepared by the fantastic Fairmont catering team and included a roast beef station, oyster bar, crab legs, dim sum, and charcuterie. Yum!

Our agents had a great time connecting over the food tables while sipping on fresh cocktails. And don’t even get us started on the dessert table…

Collaboration was a defining factor of 2019 

Teamwork drove Oakwyn in all areas of success this year, which is why we were thrilled to be able to collaborate with some of our favourite local companies to make this holiday party a night to remember.

This year’s event was held at the beautiful Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, at their Roof event space. From the elevator, guests were met with beautiful, live piano music performed by Jackson Wu. Agents, dressed their best and in full masquerade-magic, connected with Oakwyn teams from near and far, which made for a beautiful night of connective synergy.

Family

As our agency grows, so do our agents. We believe that all Oakwynites are our family and we are blessed to learn from our people year after year. Human connection was our 2019 theme and our entire company embraced and emulated this value throughout the year.

Thanks to AntiSocial Solutions for capturing these wonderful shots of our agents connecting. We are proud to have created partnerships that last, year after year.

Fun

A beautiful photo booth, run by our friends at AntiSocial Solutions, and furnished by Moe’s Home Furniture, connected agents, friends, and families through playful photo-ops. The red drapery brought sophistication and elegance to the room, and Moe’s Deliziante Club Chair fit our theme perfectly. Other beautiful furnishings from Moe’s included their Liberty Dining Chairs and a gorgeous Gold Log Stool. Thanks, Moe’s!

Congratulations to our two #OakwynMaskOff holiday winners, Edison Chua and Richard Tamplin, for bringing their creative style to this year’s event.

Future

Looking forward, we are grateful for the community that we have built together. 2020 will be a year of innovation, care, and experience. 

2020 is all about building out core Oakwyn values such as putting people first, innovating service, creating communities, leading by example, pursuing growth, embracing change, and always being true real estate nerds.

Thank you for connecting with us. 

We can’t wait to experience 2020, together.


Deep Roots Keep us Grounded

Deep Roots & Real Estate

Like the roots of a tree, we are only as strong as our foundation and support. At Oakwyn, we take every opportunity to develop and strengthen our own foundation, the foundation of others around us, and the foundation of our community. Our culture depends on strengthening these roots and, as an agency, our culture is our commitment. We are dedicated to improving real estate from the inside out.

Deep Roots in our City & Community

We love where we live and the people we serve do, too. The West Coast of Canada, especially Greater Vancouver, is one of the most beautiful places to live, work, and grow. Here, we have a responsibility to our community, to put people first, and to lift each other up.

By creating a collaborative atmosphere and supporting the education of our team, we want to enable Oakwynites to give back to the communities around them.

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Live Where You Love

The West Coast of Canada is often recognized for its deep connection to the natural terrain. We celebrate this connection not only with the places we live, but with the way we live, too. Biking, surfing, skiing, boating, hiking, and all the other outdoor activities we love to do in Vancouver are ingrained in the way that we live. Here, the outdoors is as much a part of our home as the indoors.

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Oakwyn Initiatives

Oakwyn has pioneered events designed to strengthen our communities and their own deep roots. Events like the Women of Oakwyn (WOO) are so important to take a step back and examine how we have gotten to where we are today. Designed to celebrate the women who work hard and stay humble, the main event is a feature panel of strong, influential women. WOO recognizes that the success of Oakwyn is largely in part to the people and agents who give so much of themselves to their careers and their community.

At Oakwyn, we also support community initiatives like the Covenant House Sleep Out, the Kindness Challenge, and Jeans Day. When we see an opportunity where we think we can make a difference, we take it. Real estate isn’t just a job to us, it’s a way of building communities and enacting lasting change for the better.

Deep Roots with our Agents & Clients

The deep roots we develop aren’t just in our community, they’re characteristics of our business practices, too. We believe that the secret to real estate is the human connection — it’s much more than simply a transaction. We want to help people find their homes, not just their houses.

Real estate is more than a product or service-based industry. It is about connecting people with their community, building each other up to be the best they can be, it’s about finding a home and creating lasting relationships along the way.

Oakwyn Realty Deep Roots

At Oakwyn, in many ways, our deep roots define and shape us. Our agents have roots firmly planted in their communities and their client relationships, roots that are fostered and maintained through a genuine human connection. And, Oakwynites take every opportunity possible to strengthen their own roots by building a strong foundation of expertise and knowledge that will support them wherever life takes them. Because that’s the Oakwyn way.


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Oakwyn Presents: The 2019 Kindness Challenge

The Oakwyn Kindness Challenge is back for the second year running -- we’re getting excited to do some good in our community!

The Kindness Challenge began as a way to give back to our community. One of Oakwyn’s core values is to ‘Put People First’, so in 2018 we decided to challenge our agents to make this value a reality. They took it upon themselves to participate in acts of goodwill and charity, spreading kindness throughout our city. The challenge not only resulted in charitable acts but also served to build stronger connections throughout Greater Vancouver — because when you put people first, great things happen.

How The Kindness Challenge Works:

The Kindness Challenge runs for one month, from November 15th to December 15th. Oakwyn Agents will commit acts of kindness for specific businesses or individuals, posting and promoting them on their social media.

To participate in the Oakwyn Kindness Challenge, agents are asked to go out into their community and perform an act of goodwill. They then tag @oakwyn and #OakwynKindness in their post and challenge another group of Oakwynites. This way, the challenge snowballs, with more and more Oakwyn agents spreading kindness. You can also see the stories compiled on Oakwyn’s highlight reel.

Oakwyn’s 2018 Kindness Challenge

The first year Oakwyn conducted the Kindness Challenge, it was a huge success. Agents across Vancouver came together, performing charitable acts that benefited their communities.

Over 22 charities were donated to, including the Canadian Cancer Society, Kids Care, YWCA Canada, the BC Children’s Hospital and food banks across the city. There were other, random acts of inspired kindness interspersed throughout the challenge too, like Michael Uy filling expired parking meters outside of Vancouver General Hospital and street care packages for people in need. The results were truly incredible.

To get an inside look at why people participated and what they got out of it, we sat down with participants of the 2018 Kindness Challenge. We spoke with Maissa Hasan, Mary Porohowski, Jordan Scarpino, and Kristin Wellbrock to get their thoughts on the event:

Maissa Hasan, Oakwyn Internal

The 2018 Kindness Challenge resonated with Maissa Hasan, who is part of Oakwyn’s Internal Administrative team, due to experiences in her youth. “Having grown up in both poverty-stricken and wealthy countries, it was always instilled in me to not take my privileges for granted and to give back to those who are challenged to attain the basic necessities to live,” Maissa stated. Maissa donated to the Downtown East Side Women’s Shelter for her Kindness Challenge.

At Oakwyn, our core values often define our business practices. We created these values to make ourselves and our community the best it — and we — can be. “It’s crucial that corporate-level companies unite together to actively participate in philanthropic activities and events as it’s truly a humbling experience that can be shared together,” Maissa states. “One of the reasons I love working at Oakwyn is that our core values, number one being ‘Put People First’, [which] revolves around helping people and to ‘Stay Humble’.”

Maissa goes on to tell us how her experience volunteering at our Covenant House Sleep Out prepared her for the challenge. “Participating in the Kindness Challenge felt like a breeze right after spending a cold, winter night outside in the pouring rain for Covenant House’s Sleep Out, yet rewarding nonetheless,” Maissa stated. “I always find it refreshing to take time out of my day for an act of kindness, no matter how big or small, to know I can make someone else’s life a little bit better.”

Maissa Hasan Kindness Challenge Oakwyn

Mary Porohowski, Oakwyn Agent

For Mary Porohowski, giving back has long been a part of her life. For the 2018 Kindness Challenge, Mary and her team “provided new and hardly used furniture and accessories for a family with two young kids who were waiting to get into Social Housing and have their own space.” Mary also stated, “we arranged for movers, set up everything and provided household basics for this family who got a great start for the holidays. We hope that this little kindness made a big difference in this family’s life as much as the feeling we had when we were able to help them!”

“From an early age, I learned from my family the importance of knowing and helping the people in our neighbourhood,” Mary tells us. Mary now lives in Downtown Vancouver, “as I jog and walk throughout my neighbourhood, I cannot help but see the homelessness and difficulties that people suffer from. I have gotten to know many of these people by name and have heard some of their stories. I have learned that many of these people have worked hard and led decent lives. Unfortunately, a change in their lives occurred and in many cases, they didn’t have any support, which eventually led them to life on the streets.”

Mary Oakwyn Kindness Challenge

Mary continues the charitable work that’s long been a part of her life. “I volunteer at the Union Gospel Mission and have seen firsthand how people’s outlooks and lives change by the act of giving, the offer of support and charity,” Mary states. “I believe that the act of giving is a hand and a step towards hope and recovery for many.”

Oakwyn believes that a company, on a corporate level, should encourage its community to be involved in charities and acts of goodwill. “We are all blessed to have each other as support in our careers, to be able to earn our successes and receive the rewards of our work,” Mary weighs in. “To be grateful and to share our rewards is what gives meaning to our work and lives. As a company, we can make a bigger impact by donating not just money, but also by donating food, clothes, gifts and many more thoughtful items.”

And, Mary understands that almost always, the act of giving is valuable for both the benefactor and recipient. “Giving is obviously helpful to those receiving but it is also a morale booster and reinforces a culture of charity,” Mary states. “When a company cares for their community, it brings us together, it forms stronger relationships and it creates synergistic energy on a large scale that can help more people and fight for greater causes such as poverty reduction and improving overall health and wellness.”

The most rewarding thing from 2018’s Kindness Challenge, Mary states, “was not only receiving the gratitude from the ones you are helping but also knowing that you can make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.”

Kindness Challenge Oakwyn

Jordan Scarpino, Oakwyn Agent

“There are so many people facing difficult challenges and obstacles in life, by giving back, my hope is to make a positive impact in their lives and help lessen the burden,” stated Jordan Scarpino when asked about his contributions to the community. He volunteers with Baby Go Round, a non-profit organization year-round and was actively involved in the 2018 Kindness Challenge. Last year, Jordan and his family sponsored a family in need during the holidays. They filled a Christmas hamper with presents, gift cards, and food to last them through the holiday season — not to mention all the fixings for Christmas dinner.

On the importance of fostering an atmosphere of kindness and goodwill from a corporate level, Jordan believes “it’s important to encourage team members to be champions for a cause, create positive change and give back whether it is with their time, skills or financially.”

Kristin Wellbrock & Madison Corday, Lee + Pete Real Estate Group, Oakwyn Realty

Kristin and Madison participated in the 2018 Kindness Challenge for the annual Lee + Pete Christmas party, organizing a prize-filled raffle. “All proceeds of the raffle tickets go to [the Canucks for Kids Foundation] and our clients love it,” Kristin tells us. “They spend significantly more money on these tickets than they would if it was just flowing back into our pockets to pay off the prizes.” Kristin goes on to say that during the holiday season, “we all feel like giving a bit more love to those less fortunate. It’s the season of giving, and with that, we too, like to give back to the community. I think if you’re able to create a better life for others, then yours will enhance, too.”

Beyond the goodness of charity, giving back can be good for a company’s environment, too. “I think it creates something further than just talking about the day-to-day all day,” Kristin states. “It makes everyone feel good being involved in giving back to the community and caring beyond the scope of work we are usually involved in.”

Oakwyn kindness challenge

As well as the Christmas party raffle proceeds being donated to the Canucks for Kids Foundation, Kristin and Madison “participated in a fellow realtor’s Secret Santa challenge, which supported single moms and their children during the holiday season.” Kristin states, “We got one family assigned to us, received their wish list and bought them gifts to put under their tree. [The Kindness Challenge] was important to us. We’ve all been fortunate enough to have a joy and gift-filled Christmas since we can remember and so we were really excited about making sure that another family can experience the same and have more than one gift under the tree.”

Oakwyn’s 2019 Kindness Challenge

Keep your Instagram tuned to Oakwyn as the agents spread kindness throughout Vancouver this year.