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Greg Sax and Kerry G. Sax, Director of Growth Management, RESO

Welcome to “Three Questions,” an interview series that introduces you to real estate industry professionals, their businesses and how they interact with real estate standards with a goal of humanizing the tech side of the industry, fun included.

This week, we caught up with Kerry Rakuson, Director of Industry Relations for Openn. We talked about that much-maligned phrase of “industry relations” and international challenges, especially related to time zones. Enjoy!

Q1: Your title means different things to different people and sometimes gets made fun of for essentially being Director of Industry Schmoozing.  But let’s get more technical about the title. What is a misconception of the role, and what are the measures of success for it in your experience and/or for Openn?

Kerry: The role is different depending on the state of the company. Start-ups are different from established companies.

It’s generally about being the singer of the gospel – to do what I did yesterday, to be the champion of the bigger picture. The work we are doing is something new, and what we’re capturing is new. We need a person to connect those things and bring people to the table.

On the personal side, I’m a connector. I love to bring people and ideas together. Who are the right groups to talk to? Who are the right integration partners? Who are the right partners to champion the new ideas we have? How do we start that relationship? I love all of that.

We measure everything at Openn. As we evolve, our team will grow and we will have sales people who will be measured on their production. I will continue to sing and invite people to dance.

Q2: Your roots are in Canada. Openn has roots in Australia. This embodies RESO’s desire to be an international standards body. In addition to adding more languages to the Data Dictionary and reducing U.S.-centric descriptions in our products, how can RESO quickly become a truly global organization?

Kerry: So…standards are hard, especially when you’re trying to cross borders and barriers. Everybody wants something to be called something different and unique.

One of the things RESO can do is keep finding the right partners, as you have been doing, and also reaching the right vendors.

It’s interesting to work for a company in Australia that is not familiar with RESO. If you reach out to these places that are already rich in real estate transactions, they will be more open to the idea. If they are starting off on the footing of education, they have the foundation to move into markets and innovate faster.

Since RESO is now in the business of providing more education, how about a Working with International Real Estate Data course?

RESO: Hey, that’s not a bad idea. We will definitely look into that after we have completed the Technical Module of our Working with Real Estate Data (wwRED) course, adding a RED-T designation to our current RED-B for Business Module. Maybe a RED-I for International Module will be next!

Q3: After ten years of working for real estate associations, including 6+ years as the CEO of the Greater Moncton REALTORS® du Grand Moncton, you have become quite the journeywoman over the past five years, gracing at least seven different organizations with your presence, including your own consultancy, all while remaining in New Brunswick.

Would you say that you have embraced the ability to work from anywhere for anyone in a remote-first environment, and what is your prediction for workspace trends from the perspective of someone who discusses governance, strategic planning and team building for a living?

Kerry: Technically, I’m bicoastal. I have a home in New Brunswick and on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. I intend to downsize, haha.

I can work from anywhere, and I’ve proven that. The most interesting thing is time zone factoring. I’m from the Atlantic Time Zone, so my day never seems to end because the team needs to collaborate. This is why I determined that if I move west, I can save myself four hours a day.

The biggest challenge right now is being where I am. It’s a journey to get anywhere. The biggest thing is managing your health and wellness around it and setting your expectations so you can realize your goals.

When I am on the East Coast, my days run long. Factoring in face time at odd hours can affect family life. You have to have a great support network.

Strategically, There are always going to be people that want to go to the office to collaborate. Plus, working from home can get lonely. But the shift to flexibility has happened. We’re not going back. People don’t want to be prescribed to go back to the office. But they want the opportunity to get back to their work family.

It’s important to build a creative work culture, no matter where you work. Doing little fun things together builds teamwork and trust. We recently created a North American playlist for a team collaboration, and even something as silly as that helped bring us together.