My most treasured childhood memories took place in a small Polish village and have largely shaped the ethos from which I live. I spent afternoons wandering down cobblestone streets, saying hello to neighbors in the quaint, unassuming homes whose doors were always open to the cooling evening air. Through these doors wafted fragrant scents of the best home cooking I’ve had to this day. The idea of these open doors has stuck with me as a sign of a warm welcome to become a part of something special – something we all want. 


My parents, Elizabeth and Jerzy,  immigrated from Poland to seek better opportunities in the United States. They had to rebuild everything – finances, careers, a home, a support system. My father joined the US Army and served in Korea as a way to honor the country that gave him so much. My mother also lived a life of service as a pediatric nurse and still to this day, remains the rock of our little family. From early on, my parents taught me to remain humble, to stay curious, and to open doors for others in whatever way I can. 


I applied this personal creed to my professional career when I started in real estate and in my first, I closed 111 transactions and sold $30M in revenue. But, I gave a large portion of my earnings – and my livelihood – away to my broker, a person I barely knew and who did little to support me. Why would I continue down this path? And if this process was so depleting for me, I knew it must be for others. I wanted to not only provide for my family, but I wanted to leave them a meaningful legacy that they could build a life on. There had to be a better way. 


In 2005, I set out to create a new real estate company, ONE that did things differently, that turned the business on its head. I wanted Realty ONE Group’s foundation to be made from the stuff of life, not the stuff of profits, margins, and timelines. I wanted a people-first, property-second business; one that was focused on community, COOLTURE and legacy building. After all, that’s what real estate is at its core – a chance to belong somewhere, a chance to plant roots, a chance to leave something behind for those that come after you. 

If my new company and the real estate professionals it employed couldn’t walk with people on that beautiful journey, then why were we doing this job? Realty ONE Group’s 100% commission model isn’t the only thing that sets us apart from other companies, we take pride in innovation, in connection, and in giving back. 


After 16 years in business, Realty ONE has grown to include 16,000+ real estate professionals and 300+ offices, nationwide. As our success grows, I believe we have an increasing responsibility to give back to the communities we live and work in. At our Hub in Laguna Niguel, California, I keep a 2-cylinder, 23-horse power Maluch, just like the one my parents had during communist times in Poland. It reminds me to stay humble and to use my place in this world to open doors for others.

Realty ONE Group doesn’t just provide ample opportunity for the real estate professionals it employs or the clients it is honored to work with, we seek to uplift entire communities through multiple giving platforms. Every May 1, we celebrate our anniversary through a network-wide day of giving. This looks different each year but one thing remains – the commitment to sharing the fruits of our success with others. Additionally, through our newly established ONE Tree, ONE World program, we aim to plant 111,111 trees by the end of 2021. This will help reforestation efforts around the globe while aiding air quality, creating more habitats for the animal kingdom, and providing jobs. 

I never want to forget that it’s about the people, the relationships and giving back that matters. Here’s to opening doors for others, to finding a creative, meaningful way ahead, no matter where life leads us.