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.”

Man falls into large dunk tank during the oakwyn summer party

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.

Oakwynite of the year Celine Bacani hugs Morgan Browne at the Oakwyn Sales Kickoff 2020

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Deep roots oakwyn

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.

Deep Roots Oakwyn

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.

oakwyn kindness challenge

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.

Coquitlam encore real estate franchise

Oakwyn Encore: On Building Community Through Real Estate Franchise

Real Estate & Community Go Hand-in-hand

Real estate can be an intimidating industry. Because it is so self-driven, there can be a lack of support options available for real estate agents. And when it comes to broker-owners, this is especially true. At Oakwyn, we’re pleased to offer help with the entrepreneurial obstacles and isolation that can come with opening a brokerage. We have been expanding with real estate franchise opportunities, sharing our core values and some of the lessons we’ve learned along the way.

At Oakwyn, we’re deeply rooted in our communities — within real estate and outside of it. We want to support those around us in every way we can, allowing people to foster their careers with a solid foundation. “The brokerage business can be a lonely road where owners feel lost and isolated in an ever-changing environment,” Oakwyn Partner Michael Uy, states. “Oakwyn franchise provides community, a renowned brand, strategic thinking and effective systems to navigate and thrive in the market for current and soon-to-be broker-owners.”

Real Estate Franchise & Shared Values

The core values that Oakwyn has established guide our internal culture and often influence the way we conduct ourselves. We’re committed to improving the real estate industry from the inside out; our core values reflect this. And, we’ve shown that it works, too. Our community has grown in astounding ways — of course, we have franchises opening up across the greater Vancouver area, but, often, it is more granular than that.

With events like Women of Oakwyn (WOO), The Kindness Challenge, publicly stating support for the LGBTQ2+ community, and other community-driven efforts, we often see how the Oakwyn values can affect the individual person or enact change in a ripple effect.

coquitlam encore oakwyn real estate franchise

Watching the Oakwyn values evolve and adapt when newer members are brought into the fold is an exciting place to be. “We’re so proud of the efforts of our team to bring the Oakwyn culture to different communities,” Michael Uy states. “I’m excited to see our original ideas evolve with bringing new Oakwynites in different areas to join the crew.”

“Our offices are hubs that attract like-minded individuals,” Craig Dickson, part-owner of Oakwyn Encore tells us. “Each ‘office’ is distinctly different but by sharing complementary values we attract great people that share a sense of community… We love our team of agents as well as our staff. It is a tight-knit community that works together to excel at what we do best: Selling Real Estate, helping our clients, and loving what we do.”

The Tri-Cities & Beyond

Everywhere you look in the Tri-City area there are new faces, new buildings, and new developments. The Greater Vancouver area continues to grow at an exciting rate — and we’re growing along with it.

Coquitlam is a natural area to expand with an Oakwyn franchise. And, Oakwyn Encore is supported by people who believe in and uphold the Oakwyn values. “I believe in the people at Oakwyn Encore,” Michael states. “The staff are helpful and friendly, the owners Keith and Craig are kind and have a heart to serve and the agents are smart and love their clients. We share the same core values and we know great people with a great idea will create great results.”

Likewise, Craig Dickson states that Oakwyn Encore has “loved the support given to us through the transition. Michael, Arleen, Morgan and their team have been amazing.” They chose Oakwyn for the iconic branding and our dedication to spreading the Oakwyn message. “The Oakwyn branding and presence on social media is very slick and relevant to our market,” Craig states. “There is no other brokerage that captures the “cool” factor in their marketing like Oakwyn and people notice that! As well, Oakwyn strives to be ahead of the curve with education, technology, ethics and compliance.”

coquitlam encore oakwyn real estate franchise

The expansion of Oakwyn represents a steady growth of the Oakwyn community and a chance to share our core values with others. We’re happy to welcome owners Keith and Craig and the Oakwyn Encore team into the fold. Keith Strang tells us that Oakwyn Encore, too, is “excited to be part of the Oakwyn family as it aligns with our values and culture. We believe in creating a culture where everyone can succeed, everyone is supported and given the tools to perform to the highest standard. There is no other brand that does this as well as Oakwyn, it was a natural choice for us.”

“We are expanding Oakwyn by creating smaller communities with amazing leadership, marketing, and systems to better serve the public,” Michael Uy states. “We believe with strong leaders like Craig and Keith, we can evolve our ideas and grow our community more effectively than doing it alone. Coquitlam is a thriving and growing community that is the perfect location for Oakwyn. With all the new developments and real estate activity happening in the Tri-cities, Oakwyn Encore will be well-positioned to have expansive growth in the coming years.”

arlene chiang oakwyn

31 Questions with Arlene Chiang, Oakwyn's Partner & Managing Broker

The Backbone of Oakwyn: Arlene Chiang, Partner & Managing Broker

Creating, championing, uplifting, and leading a real estate agency takes work. Doing all of this for an agency that treats its realtors like family takes a special kind of person.

Arlene Chiang is one of those people.

We sat down with Arlene Chiang to find out a bit more about the backbone of Oakwyn. She’s an accomplished family-woman who brings her values to work. She puts people first, believes in the power of the human connection, and is the physical embodiment of Oakwyn’s mantra, “Work Hard, Stay Humble”.

arlene chiang oakwyn

Can you tell us a bit about yourself, how you got into real estate and your role within Oakwyn?

Arlene Chiang: I grew up being surrounded by Real Estate, we grew up in a Vancouver Special where our Uncle ran a real estate business in the lower suite. My mom was a Realtor and our Dad was a developer. I never wanted to be in real estate because I wanted to do my own thing… Which should have been a clue that I should be in real estate.

I have my degree in Human Kinetics, a diploma in Coaching and Instruction, and a diploma in Professional Real Estate. I always put myself through school by working 2-3 jobs in the restaurant industry. And by the time I was in my third institution, Michael, my brother, had entered into real estate and said that he thought I would be really good at it. I had not thought of myself as a salesperson, but I knew that I was good with people. So I dove right in and got my license.

I started building a resale real estate business and did well, however, never fully felt satisfied. Michael and I decided to start a brokerage and that I would be the managing broker. I got licensed and essentially figured out brokering along the way. Now, there’s a big need in the real estate industry for younger managing brokers. In the next 3 to 5 years, many of the existing managing brokers in the industry will be retiring and there is no succession plan. There is no real training for managing brokers.

At Oakwyn, a pillar of our growth plan is dedicated to growing strong managing brokers for the industry — we provide mentorship and we’re using different training methods for them. We believe that it’s one of the most important parts of how we’ve been able to grow and instill Oakwyn’s values in future industry leaders.

My role at Oakwyn now is to take care of everyone. I work with our internal team to ensure they receive the support and training to help our agents. And I work with our agents to ensure they have the professional development that they need, be proactive in solving issues that they may face in the industry, and be their shoulder to cry on or their champion.

Arlene Chiang Oakwyn

What was the motivation behind Oakwyn?

AC: When I first started I felt alone and intimidated to ask for help. We wanted to create an environment where people openly shared and that there was a collective mentality that together we could all do better. And together, we can change the industry for the better.

In looking at other options available, there was no brokerage that offered the culture of collaboration.

How do you feel Human Connection fits into the Real Estate Industry?

AC: I think it is everything. Real Estate may, to some, be a commodity or a product, just a thing you buy but it is more than that. Everything that goes into Real Estate requires human connection and collaboration from the buying and selling process, to the development and building. There is no part of the real estate industry that is not made better by human connection. We need to talk, we need to share ideas, we need to connect in order to make the best decisions, to be able to help one another whether it is moving from one stage of the building process or moving from one stage of life to another.

Real Estate does not happen in a silo. It happens because of all the human connections that are made to culminate to a result. You don’t just buy real estate… It’s an experience.

What do you find gratifying about the work that you do?

That I get a chance to be a small part of our team’s journey. That I get to see the wins and how people grow and learn from mistakes. At the end of the day, I hope that we are able to impact the industry in a positive way.

Do you remember buying your first house?

AC: I was actually looking for a client of mine but I found this house that they wouldn’t have wanted regardless. Even though we weren’t looking, I took my husband to the open house. When we got there, there was a lineup of shoes out the door. I knew I wanted this house — while I was there I was calling my brother-in-law and my mom, telling him how much I liked this house.

Offers were on the next Monday and so, I decided to do a pre-inspection. I went back with my inspector and I met the owners and tried to make a good impression. I told them I loved their dog, even though that wasn’t exactly true. We put in the deal on Monday and I had Michael representing me.

Michael ended up knowing the realtor — he was Michael’s elementary school teacher’s son. He had had her for grade three. There were five other offers on the house but since I had met the owners, there was a human connection there — they liked me and they liked our offer, so they chose us. The human connection is huge.

Arlene chiang oakwyn

31 Questions Answered by Arlene Chiang:

What does ‘the best day’ look like for you?
Waking up early by myself, making pancakes for the kids, a nice breakfast and instant coffee for myself. Getting to the office, attacking the day getting things done. Getting home and cooking dinner and enjoying a movie/show with the family. Bedtime – reading with kids, going over curious questions and thankful things. Saying I love you.

What is your biggest guilty pleasure?
Baskin Robbins – Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

What is your current state of mind?

If you could have dinner with anyone — alive or dead — who would it be?
My dad. He passed when I was 23, and you have a different idea of what your parents are then and you ask different versions of questions you would ask when you are older. I think would have been interesting to hear his perspective at this stage of my life.

What are some words you live by?
Work Hard, Stay Humble

Who is your hero?
My Mom. She instilled very strong family values and a sense that you could whoever you want to be in us. We all have a strong sense of ourselves. She put family in front of everything else so that her children could succeed more than she could have in her lifetime. She sacrificed a lot for us.

Where do you find inspiration?
In other people

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Here is my suggestion… But make sure you get legal advice!

What is something that most people would be surprised to learn about you?
I used to play collegiate Volleyball

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Be less addicted to my phone

Who is your favourite author?
Malcolm Gladwell

What is your favourite restaurant?
HK Cafes – everyone has a deal!

What is your go-to karaoke song?
The Greatest Love of All, Whitney Houston

Have you ever had a nickname?
Ar. We had 5 kids [in our family] so you can safely say every child had a short name.

List two pet-peeves:
1. Photos of bathrooms with toilet seats up
2. Computer monitors that are not turned off at the end of the day

What takes up too much of your time?
Binge-watching Netflix

If you had to give a 40-minute presentation with no preparation, what topic would you talk about?
Lessons my son has taught me

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance of winning the gold medal at?

Who is your favourite musician?
John Mayer

Is there a musician or band that you would be embarrassed for people to find out you listened to?

If you had to describe yourself as an animal, which one would you be?

What is your favourite thing about your career?
The people

If there was one job that you would be terrible at, what would it be?
An accountant.

What is one quality you appreciate the most in a person?

What does the word ‘home’ mean to you?

Where did you grow up?
Vancouver, Marpole

Where would your dream home be?
Anywhere with my family

What is the one thing you can’t live without in your home?
A dishwasher. I just got one after not having one for 6 years.

What is your favourite thing to cook?
Soups. I think the idea of putting different flavours together to make something taste really good can be fun. And you know, the more you nurture the soup, the better it gets. It’s always different, even if you have the same recipe, it’s slightly different every single time.

Do you have any advice for people wanting to begin a career in the real estate industry?
Be prepared to work hard and treat it as your own business

What are you looking forward to?
Seeing Oakwyn signs on every other home
Watching realtors gain the respect and trust of the general public and having the industry regarded as a true professional designation

Arlene Chiang was a rock for me when I started in real estate and at Oakwyn, in 2015. There are a lot of questions when you are working through deals for the first time, or even on your 20th, and Arlene was always super helpful and patient. She really does put people first, especially those on her team! – Jeff Appelbe, Realtor

Arlene is like family. She is someone I unconditionally trust – her responsiveness and proficiency in real estate allows me to be more confident in my interactions as I know I always have someone on my team. She also keeps me out of “real estate jail” which is pretty sweet. – Andrew Wan, Realtor

I met Arlene Chiang before Oakwyn was born and my first interaction with her showed her professionalism and work ethics. Fast forward a couple of years later we crossed paths again and I had the opportunity to witness her dedication and strive to making a change in the real estate industry. Her unwavering commitment to pushing for higher standards, education and growth makes her a natural leader. – Jessica Chen, Realtor

Ashley Smith real estate oakwyn

Ashley Smith Speaks on Current Real Estate Market Trends in Vancouver

Ashley Smith speaks on real estate trends in Vancouver, providing insight into our current market status.

Ashley Smith was once one of the youngest directors in the history of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. Now, she’s the president.

Ashley stepped into the role and responsibilities during one of the slowest sales periods in recent history. She’s tracking trends, staying ahead of the curve, and sharing her expert knowledge with the world.

Recently, there has been a shift in real estate market trends in Vancouver. Now, the market appears to be favouring home buyers over sellers, a noticeable move away from the sellers’ market Vancouver has experienced over the past five years. Smith states “With home buyer demand below our long term historical averages in June, the supply of homes in Metro Vancouver continues to accumulate.”

Ashley Smith real estate oakwyn

“Realtors registered just over 2,000 home sales on the MLS in June — the lowest sales total for the month since 2000. This is a decrease over the last month and is 35% below our ten year June sales average,” says Smith. The reduced sales activity and surplus of available homes means home buyers have a huge selection to choose from. Smith states that now, “the total supply of homes for sale [in Metro Vancouver is] just under 15,000.” Homebuyers have not experienced this selection of available homes in five years.

Although Vancouver is experiencing a surplus in homes, Smith points out that the market is still balanced. The ‘Sales to Active Listing Ratio’ (a measure of the balance between supply and demand in the housing market) sits at 14%. When the ratio dips below 12% for a sustained period of time, we will find ourselves in a buyers’ market. When it rises above 20% for a sustained period of time, we will find ourselves in a sellers’ market. Currently, while slightly leaning towards a buyers’ market, Metro Vancouver is still balanced.

“Downward pressure on home prices can occur when the ratio dips below 12% for a sustained period. Alternatively, home prices can experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20% for a sus perdio, the ratio today is 14%. The benchmark price for all housing prices in Metro Vancouver is just under 1 million, which is down about 10 points over last year. This is the first time the composite benchmark has dipped below 1 million since May 2017.” – Ashley Smith

Ashley Smith Realtor Oakwyn

After the intense and, at times, remarkable real estate market over the past decade, this decline is to be expected. Although anticipated, the slowing-pace comes with its challenges — namely, getting sellers to come to terms with the changing market values of real estate. It does, however, create an even greater need for trusted, knowledgeable real estate agents — for both buyers and sellers.

Smith delivers insightful and educated reasoning for this trend, stating that “In addition to the economic and policy-induced factors at play, we’ve also seen an expectation gap emerge between buyers and sellers. Sellers are often trying to get yesterday’s value while buyers are taking a cautious wait-and-see approach.”

The takeaway? Buyers and sellers need to trust their realtor with market trends, pricing, and expectations.

oakwyn real estate

Oakwyn’s 2019 Theme of the Year: The Human Connection

It’s easy to overlook the simple power of a human connection. With that in mind, Oakwyn decided to make 2019 all about human connection.

The secret to the Real Estate industry is Human Connection — it’s what drives us as agents and as an agency to help other people find their homes and reach their goals. After launching the theme in January at the Oakwyn annual sales kickoff event, we have been celebrating it in all things we do, from building content to integrating it into our corporate culture.

Our Core Values & The Human Connection

Oakwyn’s core values inherently celebrate the human connection. We believe in putting people before profits in all things we do. We wanted to rethink real estate and create a collaborative and supportive environment where our agents can thrive. Oakwyn came to be out of a desire for innovation, for community, for collaboration. Oakwyn is what it is today because of the people who work here.

“One of [Oakwyn’s] core philosophies is to ‘put people first’ and that’s always been the core of my business, too. My business is relationships, not transactions. The transaction is a result of the relationships that I have.” – Erik Carlson, Oakwyn Agent

The Human Connection, Filmed

The idea behind this video was to highlight Oakwyn’s annual theme, The Human Connection. In a world that is so inundated with technology and social media, this theme and the video created are intended to remind ourselves to truly make an effort to build human connections with those around us. Clients, co-workers, others in the industry, family, friends — it only takes one second to connect.

“We live in a world where we’re constantly bombarded by information. You never know how many opportunities you’ve missed simply because you were looking down at your phone. Live in the moment, appreciate those around you and be open to making new connections and creating new opportunities. It could take you places you may never have dreamed.” – Oakwyn

For a more in-depth look at the man behind the camera on this project head to Michael Uy’s podcast. Nima Zadrafi, the filmmaker behind The Human Connection video, sat down with Michael Uy to discuss the film, the human connection, and his beginnings.

Tales of Connection

Oakwyn’s Tales of Connection also highlighted the 2019 theme. Agents like Ashley Smith and Chris Fredrickson sat down to discuss exactly what human connection meant to them.

“I don’t necessarily have a mantra I live by but at my core, it’s about being authentic… When I got into Real Estate, what I realized, especially in Vancouver, is that you can blend that creative aspect with that business aspect and not have limits. And there’s a lot of purpose and value when you get to know people, you get that fulfilment from helping them meet their goals.” – Ashley Smith, Oakwyn Agent

When you put people before profits, incredible things happen.

oakwyn real estate

The Annual Oakwyn Summer Party: Texas Cookout

A Texas Cookout at the Oakwyn Headquarters.

For this year’s party, we decided a Texas Cookout with good ol’ backyard barbeque vibes was in order.

The annual summer party is a chance for the Oakwyn agents to take off their ties, kick off their heels, and have some fun. The theme gives everyone a chance to dress up and be playful. This year did not disappoint; a sea of cowboy hats and wranglers came down to break cornbread, dunk their colleagues, and relax.

As part of our ongoing corporate social responsibility, we chose the BC Children’s Hospital to be the recipient of this year’s charity initiative.
For this year’s party, we decided a Texas Cookout with good ol’ backyard barbeque vibes was in order.

The annual summer party is a chance for the Oakwyn agents to take off their ties, kick off their heels, and have some fun. The theme gives everyone a chance to dress up and be playful. This year did not disappoint; a sea of cowboy hats and wranglers came down to break cornbread, dunk their colleagues, and relax.

As part of our ongoing corporate social responsibility, we chose the BC Children’s Hospital to be the recipient of this year’s charity initiative.

Oakwyn Dunks for a Good Cause

Arguably, one of the best parts of this Texas Cookout summer party was the dunk tank. We conducted an in-office poll to see who the Oakwynites would most like to see dunked in the tank, then ranked who went first by most amount of votes. People were able to pay $5 to try their hand at hitting the target with a ball, collapsing the doomed agent’s seat and plunging them into cold water.

First up was Morgan Browne, one of Oakwyn’s beloved partners. Robin Bardon, Adam Graham, Michael Uy, Voy Wong, Jeff Appelbe, Jay McCinnes, Jenny Wun, Richard Tamplin and other agents all braved the dunk tank, too. Despite the day being a bit cold, everyone who participated (fully clothed, we might add) was in great spirits and raised over $2,000.00.

On-theme Photo Wall

Our marketing agency partners AntiSocial Media Solutions created a themed photo wall, Project Manager Christine Michelle played a big part in managing the booth. “The photo wall was really fun,” said Christine Michelle. “I went in with a U-haul in the morning of. We set up a barnyard wall with a barrel, chairs, a whiskey bottle and cowboy hats so people who didn’t come dressed up could come and get their photo taken with a cowboy hat on.”

Community Bonds

We were happy to extend invitations to our friends, family and members of the community. Keeping in with Oakwyn’s family-first vibes, the event was very family and dog-friendly. Agents had a chance to have a drink, network and get to know each other’s families.

There was face painting done by Oakwyn partner Arlene Chiang and gourmet popsicles for the kids and an open bar for the adults. The food vendors were also committed to the Texas Cookout theme, providing pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw and cornbread.

It was a fantastic opportunity to strengthen the bonds between our team members and the local community.

Oakwyn Realty pride

Oakwyn Agent Erik Carlson Speaks on LGBTQ2+ Pride

In honour of Vancouver’s Pride Week, we spoke with Oakwyn agent Erik Carlson.

Besides providing residential real estate services in Vancouver, Erik is involved with LGBTQ2+ groups like Qmunity, Out in Schools, Out On Screen, and Loud. He’s also a loving husband and father to two adorable children.

We sat down with Erik after a photoshoot for Oakwyn’s Pride Celebration to discuss putting people first, taking a stance, and the beauty of safe spaces.

Colleen Christison: “What attracted you to the Oakwyn agency?”

Erik Carlson: “I was in an office before when there was a bit of an exodus, several people left and went to Oakwyn. And after they left they said ‘you really have to come over here and experience this.’ It took me about 6 months to make the transition because I was fine where I was. I didn’t necessarily know what differently I was looking for and I had interviewed so many agencies before that I just expected it to just be another option.

So, I finally went and talked to [Oakwyn] and they told me their philosophies… I was wondering, can this be real? Do they really ‘walk-the-walk’? That’s partly why I waited, to see if they did it. After several months, I realized they really do.”

CC: “What were some of those things that set them apart? What makes them ‘walk-the-walk’?

EC: “One of [Oakwyn’s] core philosophies is to ‘put people first’ and that’s always been the core of my business, too. My business is relationships, not transactions. The transaction is a result of the relationships that I have.

With Oakwyn, they encouraged that [philosophy] with how you, as an agent, run your business but it’s also how they run their business as a brokerage with agents. It’s so flipped on the head of how agencies are and that’s why I had doubts at first. Normally, you’re part of a group and you’re supposed to be proud of that group but your name is down to the side. I’m not egotistical in the way that I want my name up-front, what I cared about is that they really looked at me and how I want to run my business. They encouraged and supported that and then said, you’re with Oakwyn. The ‘Oakwyn’ name instead is off to the side.

It’s the philosophy of ‘high tides raise all ships’.

Oakwyn Realty Vancouver Pride

EC: “And then there was the culture. They have people who are involved and active and happy.
[Oakwyn] is actively engaged, they have high standards with a good educational component. They definitely know what they’re doing but they also give [their agents] the autonomy to say ‘hey, let’s try that’ or ‘here’s our experience with that path. If you also want to try and see if you have better luck, go for it but here’s what we think.’

It’s also the collaborative nature — our industry is so based on connection yet privacy and guarding the ‘silver bullet’ that makes you as an agent so successful. I just don’t think that there is a silver bullet… It just comes down to connecting with people and being a good person and a good agent and [Oakwyn] supports that.”

CC: “In light of Oakwyn’s Pride Celebration, what do you think of their involvement in the LGBTQ2+ community?”

EC: “Formally, this is the first event that Oakwyn has put on with marketing and promotion dedicated to the LGBTQ2+ community. It’s funny — I feel like there is something really beautiful when it’s a non-issue, which is the goal that gay rights have been chasing for so long.

Getting involved with Oakwyn… It’s never been a question or an issue or even a blip in a conversation. I have felt, with the leadership in the company, that there has never been anything but a sense of acceptance, that it’s a family. We’re all the same within [Oakwyn], it doesn’t matter what your demographic is, whatever letter you are, whether it’s part of the LGBTQ2+ or anything else.

I was happy they’re doing [the Pride Celebration], I think it’s important to actually make a statement, that this is your stance as a company.”

Oakwyn Realty Vancouver Pride

CC: “Do you have anything to add before we wrap up?”

EC: “I love gaybourhoods and gay bars, I think it’s so important to have dedicated, safe, celebratory spaces where you can forget everything else and any potential worry… It’s a place where you can have pride and acceptance. It would be wonderful if we didn’t need those places truly but it’s proven over and over again that as far as we’ve come, it’s still a facade.

When I wrote my website, we really tried to get the point across that I’m gay and that’s the community I want to help and service. To some people, it’s still important to have that person where you know that you don’t have to swallow a little bit hard or pause when you say ‘We just need a one-bedroom’ as two men or two women.”

So often corporations stay neutral in their stances. But, as Erik pointed out, it’s still important to have those safe spaces, spaces like gaybourhoods and gay bars, that have publicly stated they are LGBTQ2+ friendly.

With the Pride Celebration, people know they can go to Oakwyn and experience nothing but acceptance, no matter ‘what letter you are’.