Nearly 3,000 Real Estate Advisors Convened at The Wynn Resorts as VIP Guest Speakers Inspired
A collection of 30 real estate representatives joined Dean Jones, President and CEO of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty (RSIR), for a three-day marathon of private receptions, impromptu collaborations, scheduled conventions, and artfully curated parties at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, April 23-24. In total, approximately 3,000 attendees from around the world descended upon this much-anticipated Global Networking Event (GNE). It was the largest of its kind for the luxury real estate brand, and the first since 2019, when the COVID-19 pandemic deferred plans for large gatherings.
“It was truly an extraordinary experience on many levels, and regardless of our locale, we come together as one exceptional brand for a successful global networking event,” said Jones. “I’m so thankful to our agents who attended, as they’ve invested in their inspiration, education, and referrals to better serve their clients. I also greatly respect the hundreds more that couldn’t make it, including those that had to cancel due to business and personal commitments, and to our staff, who stayed back to support our company.”
Jones brings home copious notes, learnings, and opportunities to the RSIR Nation, which will be presented at upcoming branch office meetings and in the article below.
A highlight was a private gathering for RSIR attendees at the Lakeside Bar, complete with a champagne toast, video, and team photography immediately before the main dinner and afterparty.
For some surprise and delight, Jones arranged the keynote speaker, Will Guidara, to visit with RSIR exclusively upon arriving at the Wynn Hotel. Guidara is the former owner of Eleven Madison Park restaurant in New York City and is a top-selling author of Unreasonable Hospitality—“The Remarkable Power of Giving People More Than They Expect.” This is a story filled with teachings about how Guidara led a typical brasserie to become a 3-star Michelin-rated #1 restaurant in the world (2017). The lessons have many applications for the real estate industry, and Guidara was also a featured presenter during RSIR’s Town Hall on March 8th.
“Will embodied what he teaches by treating our agents with this gracious gift of his time and learning how RSIR goes well beyond the transaction in serving their clients,” said Jones. “It was only after we became acquainted through our agent Belinda Thornburg that I learned he was going to be a keynote for the GNE —we feel so fortunate to have him inspire us personally.”
Guidara called out RSIR agent Heidi Nevin on stage in front of thousands. As a thoughtful closing gift, Nevin purchased a special telescope that allows a smartphone to attach to it, so that photos of other homes, boats, wildlife, and the stars can be captured from this proud perch on the shoreline. To this day Nevin still receives images and gratitude from her client, sharing in the experience she made possible through a real estate transaction. Guidara remarked how much more thoughtful and enduring this was rather than the typical bottle of champagne or the like—it mattered because it was so personalized and created a unique relationship that endures.
CULTURE AND CONNECTIONS
Of course, Las Vegas wouldn’t disappoint with all the extravagance, fabulous food and libations, live entertainment, and no lack of side parties that ranged from private cabanas to penthouse suites, to mega mansions offsite—there were literally hundreds of invitations competing for networking. However, it’s how Sotheby’s International Realty shows up that was more memorable than all the glitz and glamor —enduring connections were made, countless referrals were established, and a community bond was ever-present.
Throughout all the events and happenings, members of the Sotheby’s International Realty leadership and management team were mixing and mingling amongst the agent population, always happy to connect and build upon the family-like culture and a community that feels like a second home. In a city like Las Vegas, and in a hotel the size of The Wynn with thousands of guests attending a beehive of events and happenings, it’s a real accomplishment to achieve such an authentic sense of connection. To this point, Philip White, President and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates, was quick to praise the CEO and staff of The Wynn Hotel & Resorts for hosting the GNE, and great praise was offered to the entire brand for coordinating such a carefully curated, and well-executed convention. Bravo!
LAS VEGAS FLAGSHIP BRANCH
As the host city, it was a timely opportunity to visit the newest branch office in Las Vegas attended by hundreds of guests including dozens of franchise owners and senior executives of Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates. Randy Char, President of Las Vegas Sotheby’s International Realty, was proudly welcomed with a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony and tremendous hospitality. Congratulations to all for this burgeoning branch office set to quickly expand in this fast-growing, global destination.
Each morning, the main ballroom was packed with eager attendees with presentations from the brand leadership as well as keynote speakers and broker pro-panels. In the welcoming address, White put the current housing downturn into perspective, noting that 2022 was the brand’s second largest year on record for sales volume $167 billion (following 2021), with expansion into 81 countries, with 1,075 offices and more than 26,000 sales professionals worldwide. He also noted that in addition to providing a transaction, the brand is synonymous with hospitality and a bespoke level of service that can only come from individual relationships, certainly not a real estate app or unsustainable promise to Wall Street investors.
Ryan Schneider, the CEO and Board Director for Anywhere Brands (formerly Realogy Corporation), the franchisor of Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates, followed. Among the largest real estate consortiums in the world, Schneider called out the Sotheby’s brand recognition in parallel with other globally recognized leaders of luxury such as Cartier, Gucci, Four Seasons, Louis Vuitton, and BMW to name a few. He confirmed that this global network generated more than $3 billion in direct referrals in 2022 and its agents represented 20% of the Real Trends “The Thousand” for sales volumes last year, truly earning the brand reputation for leading luxury.
Also presenting, Tammy Fahmi, the Senior Vice President of Global Servicing and Strategy, warmly shared her journey as a first-generation American paying homage to her immigrating family from Egypt and expressed gratitude to announce a newly opened branch operation in the country. She reviewed helpful trends with demographics, global transfer of wealth, mortgage rate predictions, and equity of homeowners. Five key agent brand advantages were presented for 1) Referrals; 2) Design Vault and Active Pipe; 3) Content Marketing and CRM; 4) Learning; and 5) Culture.
As a keynote speaker, Indra Nooyi, a former CEO and Chairman of Pepsi Co., delighted the audience with her perspective on leading a large organization in what would feel like a commoditized industry, yet she proved to be a standout leader, not only for being a foreign-born female taking charge of an American legacy. She did so with strength and equal parts compassion, lining up scores of future CEOs in the making. As an owner of a leading franchise, Jones was able to meet Indra backstage for a conversation about leadership and innovating industries. “I was particularly inspired by her comments regarding market cycles and seizing the opportunity when industries correct or rebalance—she’s right that we can’t grow from a peak and there is far more we can influence during the reboot, which takes confidence and fortitude,” said Jones.
The afternoons featured a collection of featured presentations and broker pro-panels on various topics. RSIR was proudly represented by Eleanor Payne in a session for “Increasing Referrals for a Stronger Future” and Robyn Kimura Hsu held the stage for “Setting Yourself Apart with Our Extraordinary Brand,” while Dean Jones inspired other franchise owners and managers in a session for “What’s New in New Developments,” including a showcase of the Graystone Condominiums.
Another highlight of the GNE was learning how the brand is supporting philanthropic causes with the creation of homes for the less fortunate. As a long-time partner, New Story is uniquely positioned to lead this mission given that 100% of the funds raised go directly to the construction of communities in Haiti and in Central America. Chief Operating Officer Sarah Lee, who gave a presentation, and Key Partnerships Manager Danielle Armour represented New Story at GNE to give updates on the organization’s amazing progress. This is a passionate project for White, who has personally visited communities and issued the challenge to build scores of houses through the network. For their part, RSIR was supported by The Jones Family Foundation in a grant and matching fund that will deliver a dozen homes and complete the vision for a community in Haiti, with a name that literally translates to “less than nothing,” but as this new village and its residents will prove that nothing couldn’t be further from the truth. The matching fund has helped garner more than $200K in funding, which is targeted to build 20 homes.
Brad Nelson, Chief Marketing Officer for Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates, announced the current campaign to aptly follow the “Nothing Compares” collection called “What’s Next.” This strategy targets the consumer with compelling dreams of future lifestyles, homes, and experiences. Nelson announced the takeover of the campaign appeared in Wall Street Journal globally, and new marketing assets were provided on Design Vault for regional distribution by affiliates and their agents.
It was also announced that the next Global Networking Event will take place in Nashville, Tennessee, on September 8-10, 2024.
A LOOK AT GNE 2023