Four years ago, Miami real estate agent Peter Ortega (Lucido Global Florida), became frustrated with agents who weren’t responding to text messages when he was trying to show their properties. “I was so fed up with the lack of professionalism, I decided to try something different,” he said.
In search of like-minded agents, Ortega decided to attend a Young Professionals Network event, and he never looked back. “I fell in love,” he said. “I found people who wanted to collaborate. It wasn’t just about drinking – it was about helping each other out with issues, learning and listening. It was the support I needed.”
Fast forward to 2020, and Ortega is now the incoming president of YPN Miami. While happy hours are still a big draw for this dynamic group of real estate professionals, it is the educational component that ties them together. “We don’t just want to party, we want to learn,” he says.
The cornerstone of that learning takes place at RE Bar Camp, a four-hour event that brings industry experts together with novices. According to Ortega, the signature event, held in March, begins with a brainstorming session where agents are asked to suggest subjects they’d like to learn about. All the ideas then go on a big white board, and breakout sessions are held for each of the learning sessions. The twist? Those who suggested the subjects are usually asked to facilitate the classes.
While it might sound a bit cruel, it actually works out surprisingly well, says Ortega. “It happened to me. It was terrifying at first, but it really helped me get out of my shell. Plus, there’s so much collaboration from other agents that it’s really what you’d call a ‘group solve’ situation. Everyone knows it’s a safe space, and afterwards we celebrate with free drinks. No one is allowed to recruit or sell properties, so the magic is there. It’s definitely one of our most successful events.”
YPN’s Legends and Millennials Panel is another popular YPN Miami event where younger agents learn from more seasoned agents – and vis versa. “They share their stories, their struggles and their expertise,” Ortega says. “For example, a lot of agents want to expand their reach on YouTube or Instagram and want to hear from millennials who come into this business and immediately start recording videos.”
That said, youth is not a requirement to join YPN Miami, Ortega says. “We don’t have any age restrictions,” he says. We don’t exclude anyone. We have members in their 60s. All you have to be is young at heart.”