2023 Hawai’i Networking Event Attended By Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty’s CEO Dean Jones And Global Real Estate Advisors Robyn Hsu, Rachel Schindler, Jay Kipp, And Laura Briggs

By RSIR Staff |

The Mauna Kea Resort on the Big Island of Hawai’i was the oceanfront stage for more than 125 top-producing agents, franchise owners and corporate executives and their special guests on October 22 through 24, 2023. The collective convened on industry trends, showcased featured listings, and experienced firsthand “ohana” or family connections throughout the network.

From left to right: Rachel Schindler, Dean Jones, Robyn Hsu, and Jay Kipp.

“I was so proud of our agents for making the effort and for their valuable contributions on broker panels,” said Dean Jones, President and CEO of RSIR. “The Pacific Northwest has a strong connection to the Hawaiian Islands, and this networking event only emboldened these relationships.”

In addition to the revelry, the HNE paused in tribute to acknowledge the tragic loss of life, property, and history surrounding the fires in Lahani on the island of Maui. Fundraising efforts and auction proceeds were directed to philanthropic efforts in the region, thanks to the leadership of Andrew Greenwell, Owner of Venture Sotheby’s International Realty and host of the HNE 2023.

From left to right: Dean Jones, Andrew Greenwell, and an AI expert.

Highlights of the convention included numerous receptions, a grand luau, a beach party, property tours, a golf tournament, and of course, keynote addresses and feature broker pro-panel discussions.


­Among the key takeaways was the in-city renaissance, which Gregg Lynn described as being “transitional” and Stan Ponte called a “reemergence.” The panel acknowledged the consumer psyche issues, and even PTSD, which is driving a fear of the unknown today given geopolitical events, upcoming elections, and of course, meteoric increases in mortgage rates.  Yet there is tremendous opportunity, and it’s the real estate advisors’ job to remove the resistance between buyers and sellers. During challenging times, the market looks to leaders and that’s the very DNA of Sotheby’s International Realty.

When working with clients, Jenn Gilson encouraged the audience to be very direct with clients about the market realities – embracing the conversations – and forecasting the HUD statement as the reality check. Rachel Schindler advised careful preparation with her buyer clients before touring – outlining the experience before them, reviewing in detail the purchase contract and process, and preparing for battle in what remains a competitive market in many areas.

“My business partner Robyn Hsu jokes that I’m a one-and-done sort of agent when touring,” mused Schindler. “And it’s true that we tend to be very successful when we approach new or off-market properties because we are ready. We move at the speed of opportunity, and that oftentimes makes the difference.”

The panelists agreed there would be fewer agents in the industry ahead, and that major market share shifts were in play. The message was clear: work as hard as you can because real estate allows you to have a seat at the table of life. You will know the leaders of every industry and you will have a voice and use it to the best of your ability. 

It’s also an opportunity to support multiple markets and work referrals, which during downtimes can be a tremendous source of local business. Jay Kipp described his journey working first within his mother’s impressive network in Seattle’s eastside communities more than a decade ago when she retired, but later he relocated to San Francisco to be with his husband. Then upon networking, he found himself placing an extraordinary number of relocations and investments between the two feeder markets and realized firsthand the power of the SIRA brand, and for him, a sense of responsibility to make his markets matter.

“We have to think outside of your market,” said Kipp. “There’s a world of opportunity out there and this brand provides access to promote other regions, lifestyles, and of course, referral networks. I credit a significant portion of my business being out of state, and many of these connections are made during events such as the HNE.”

To his credit, Kipp wrapped up the HNE and then the same day, traversed the US to attend the Boston Networking Event, yet another feeder market for the Seattle area.

Another featured presentation included remarks by Brad Nelson, Chief Marketing Officer of Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates (SIRA). He proudly noted that SIRA is the most represented brand in the top 250 agents in the country, and he felt the luxury category will lead the real estate economy out of the current correction. Understandably, this market segment is less rate sensitive and more capable of performing on opportunities in primary and secondary markets, but also due to aging demographics and trillions of dollars in generational wealth transfers anticipated in the years to come.

Nelson focused on key advantages provided by the SIRA brand, including the importance of video, and leveraging the fact that SIRA enjoys the most visitation on of any luxury real estate brand. These are important offerings when competing for listings in an anemic marketplace where fewer properties are available.

“If we can’t manufacture more listings, it’s really important we win every one,” said Nelson.