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Creativity Brings Closeness: Brokerage's Photo Contest Unites Team

December 18 2018

What started as a simple employee photo contest at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Reliance Partners in its East Bay region quickly became a celebrated event. Its real estate agents and staff submitted more than a hundred pictures capturing "heartwarming moments in time" as part of its "Art of Living Better" contest. While the winning images were spectacular, the contest became a case where life reflected the art: it brought its team members even closer together.

The winning images

First Place: Lois Harris, Realtor, Oakland office – Photo: Couple jumping in the water

Winner 1stPlace BHGRE ReliancePartners

Second Place: Mark Hardwicke, Realtor, Berkeley office – Photo: Dog eyeing breakfast

Winner 2ndPlace BHGRE ReliancePartners

Third Place: Maria Elola, Realtor, Fremont office – Photo: Two children laughing

Winner 3rdPlace BHGRE ReliancePartners

"The real estate business – and being an agent – is more than just about selling homes," said Matt Cord, President & Owner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Reliance Partners. "Agents are people and having a balanced life means there is more than just real estate 24/7. Agents have families, kids, dogs, cats -- and life is a joy. This photo contest captures living better in a profound way," he said.

The architect of the photo contest Shelley Altura, Chief Strategy Officer at BHGRE Reliance Partners, was anticipating "a handful of entries" when she announced the contest in the Fall. She was soon deluged with entries. "We called the contest the 'Art of Living Better' because we wanted to celebrate what our people do outside the office. What they shared with us are dozens and dozens of genuinely heartwarming moments in time," she said.

Altura said she watched the contest do something unexpected. "As agents and staff shared their photos, they shared their stories behind the images. When you share your life's most precious moments with your colleagues – and many of these photos capture these memories – it brings everyone closer. That was pretty magical," she said.

Honorable Mentions included:

  • Arian Diaz, Realtor, Berkeley office – Photo: Father and daughter near the ocean
  • Brenda Walker, Realtor, Berkeley office – Photo: Wedding in Mumbai
  • Miranda Fong, Office Administrator, Fremont office – Photo: Fabric as art
  • Kristin Lanham, Realtor, Walnut Creek office – Photo: Dog and Kristin in the backseat of a car
  • Rose Brudigam, Realtor and Suzie Tinsley, Realtor, Walnut Creek office – Photo: Rain Hats in Vietnam - both agents are in the photo
  • Victoria Curtis, Realtor, Berkeley office – Photo: Skydiving

Winning entries were judged by a team that included fellow Realtor Michele Landes of the Danville office, who also is a professional photographer, and Altura. Images were judged based on a criterion that included impact, theme and artistic quality. The brokerage provided the winners with hundreds of dollars in gift card prizes.

View more winning photos here: