Mega Camp 2021 marks the 16th anniversary of the event’s Cultural Summit. In celebration, Keller Williams vice chairman Mo Anderson and Pollock Properties Group CEO and founder Vanessa Pollock took the stage, both donning vibrant red looks and even more vibrant smiles. “Today, we are celebrating a long legacy of culture. And over the decades, our company has grown worldwide and our culture has grown with it,” Anderson shared.
To showcase the intensity of the culture pumping through Keller Williams’ veins, the event kicked off with a roll call of the company’s cultural ambassadors, a worldly group dedicated to keeping the company’s culture of care front and center. Each year, Keller Williams’ regions select two associates to serve as cultural ambassadors. “Ambassadors are nominated by their peers for being individuals who embody and model the culture of our company at an extraordinarily high level,” Anderson said.
At Keller Williams, culture is paramount, and for a brief moment during the session, kwx CEO Carl Liebert joined Anderson and Pollock on stage to discuss just how rooted into the KW DNA culture is. “It’s the foundation – if we show up and bring that to life, we have a terrific opportunity to do some incredible things together,” he shared. “Our actions are what people will judge us by.”
Courage. Character. Commitment.
Every year, the cultural ambassadors display incredible courage, character, and commitment as they dive deep into service within their communities and beyond. This past year in particular has come with its unique set of challenges, yet the ambassadors rose to the occasion and leaned into their communities with extra love and grace.
“During the past year, our cultural ambassadors have demonstrated the highest level of brotherly and sisterly love and strength during one of the most challenging times in modern human history through outstanding cultural leadership,” Pollock, who served as cultural ambassador in 2014, said. “Through outstanding cultural leadership, the 2021 class of ambassadors have shown us what it means to be one team on one cultural mission.” Here are three incredible cultural ambassador stories that will inspire you to lead from a place of care.
Jose Fernandez, South Florida region
A man of God, Fernandez is driven by missions and the desire to make a difference. “Each mission is different, and I never know where God is going to take me next on a mission,” he shares. Fernandez’ path of giving has taken him down many roads, from helping children in Nicaragua, to getting generators into Puerto Rico when the island was without power. “All of us have a purpose in life,” he shares. “I feel like if our heart is beating, that means that our purpose in life has not been finished yet. This is my calling.”
When a major condo collapsed in Surfside, Florida, leaving behind a substantial death toll and many injuries, Fernandez connected with Surfside’s only Christian church, CASA Church, and organized a command center to respond to the crisis. “At the end of all the days we were there – about 24 days – we became home for the first responders, the police, the media, even government officials,” he recalls. “Casa in Spanish means home, so CASA [Church] tried to become the home for all these people that were trying to make a difference.” During the relief effort, the command base saw 300 volunteers providing meals, drinks, and most importantly, according to Fernandez, providing lasting memories of hope, care, faith, and love.
Miho Kaise, KW Tokyo
When Miho Kaise joined KW Tokyo two years ago at the age of 51, and shortly after the region’s inception, she was thinking about the contrast between agents in the United States and those in Japan. “In Japan, the only image I had of the real estate business was that it was mainly men in suits,” she shares, noting that in the U.S. the image of professional women was much more common. “I wondered if it would be possible to bring something like this to Japan and to challenge the traditional practice.”
During the pandemic, Kaise and KW Japan were hard at work. Kaise, by helping grow a 15-person study group where agents across multiple companies study The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, and KW Japan, by growing to nine market centers in the region. “I believe the way to reach your goals is to never stop learning and growing,” Kaise, who celebrated a birthday during a virtual appearance on the Mega Camp stage, says.
Jennifer Barnes, Southeast region
On March 27, 2020, Jennifer Barnes and fellow volunteers opened the Solidarity Sandy Springs emergency pop-up food pantry, thinking they had plenty of food to feed those within their community affected by the pandemic, primarily service workers within Sandy Springs. Yet, after providing 60 meals, 30 people were still left on the sidewalk. “We had one of those moments where there was an ugly cry and a 15-minute pity party, and we got up and called everyone we knew,” Barnes recalls. The team huddled and spread the message far and wide via social media. The next day, they were able to feed 105 people, and have kept the pantry abundantly stocked ever since.
On February 6, 2021, the team reached a milestone, serving their 20,000th household. By now, they have provided between 100,000 and 140,000 meals, and show no plans of slowing down. “The most beautiful part of it is the community and the inclusivity that we’ve established with this neighborhood,” Barnes says. “During a time of crisis, people crave that community and connectivity. To be able to facilitate all that … I’m just living a joyful life.”