Keller Williams’ new head of business operations explains why she left eXp

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Stacey Onnen reveals why “culture and connection” were the deciding factors behind her decision to leave eXp Realty for Keller Williams amid a reignited rivalry between the brokerages.

Stacey Onnen has remained quiet since announcing her decision to leave eXp Realty for a business operations manager position at Keller Williams earlier this month, a move that added ballast to an ongoing rivalry between the brokerages.

That all changed on Sunday, however, as Onnen took to the stage at the Keller Williams family reunion to shed some light on what sparked his move, which sparked speculation from commentators after the announcement of the high level change.

“For me, for my style of work, I was just missing an element of different cultural connection,” she told Keller Williams co-founder Gary Keller, who sat next to her then. she was speaking to a crowd of more than 19,000 attendees on Sunday. “Operations can be lonely, and I really wanted that connection. It’s great fun learning about all the different ways to engage your partners and community. »

“I really appreciated how everyone communicated,” she added, “and everyone was just open and candid and ready to share and ask questions.”

Onnen launched her career with Keller Williams in 2008, where she was a trainer and associate broker for Prescott-based Keller Williams Check Realty. Seven years later, Onnen left real estate sales to take up a regional director role at Realty ONE Group, which paved the way for her to become senior vice president of brokerage operations for eXp in 2018.

During his time at eXp, Onnen helped lay the foundation for the brokerage company’s enviable growth despite market changes and a pandemic. The company’s third-quarter 2021 results showed 97% year-over-year revenue growth and 82% year-over-year growth in the number of agents and brokers – two metrics that indicate eXp is well within founder Glenn Sanford’s bold goal of having 100,000 agents by the end of 2022.

“It was a lot of fun. I learned a lot,” she said, praising eXp Realty. “I had a great group of people that I worked with every day. In my group of operations, we had just over 1,000 people. We have to open different [markets] and learn licensing law in all states and learn the intricacies [of real estate] worldwide.

Onnen didn’t share a specific timeline of when Keller Williams started courting her, but she did share details of a three-day interview that included in-depth conversations with Keller, kwx CEO Carl Liebert, and Keller Williams Chairman Marc King. “I remember you and I zoomed in, which I think was supposed to be 30 minutes, but it didn’t really work out that way,” she said. “I remember coming downstairs and my husband looked at me and he said, ‘I haven’t seen you this excited in a long time.’

Her husband’s reaction reinforced her decision to move forward with Keller Williams and use his skills to help the Texas-based franchisor in its operations, which have grown rapidly over the past year to include the launched several niche service segments, such as KW Luxury and KW Commercial and several niche agent communities, such as KW Military and KW Sports and Entertainment.

“[Responsibilities such as] operations, apprenticeships, setting things up and running new lines of business and opening new businesses, you can find a way to do it everywhere,” she told a cheering crowd. “I like a good puzzle. I’m interested in anything resembling a good puzzle and one of the things I look forward to is hearing all of your ideas, [Gary]which I know I only heard as a creak in the door.

Keller has glossed over the legal battle he is currently engaged in with former Keller Williams CEO Mark Willis, who is set to join eXp Realty in an undisclosed executive role. Keller Williams filed a temporary restraining order in February to arrest Willis since Willis’ involvement in one franchise and two regions gives him access to more than 150 confidential data reports and trade secrets.

“Because of his current ownership interests, Mr. Willis has non-competition obligations in place with Keller Williams in which he has agreed not to compete with his partners and Keller Williams while simultaneously taking advantage of them,” said a Keller Williams spokesperson to Inman about the lawsuit. in a previous article. “As a result, the company has filed this lawsuit to enforce the agreements and protect the interests of its franchise partners and Keller Williams.”

EXP’s attorneys dismissed Keller Williams’ argument, likening the brokerage’s refusal to allow Willis to sell his interests and join eXp to pot calling the black kettle. Keller Williams hired Onnen on February 4.

“KWRI’s position that Mr. Willis will inevitably disclose his confidential information to [eXp] due to his past employment with KWRI and current passive investments in Keller Williams entities is fundamentally inconsistent with his hiring of Ms. Onnen,” the filing reads. “If Mr. Willis would inevitably disclose KWRI’s confidential information to eXp if hired, there is no question that Ms. Onnen would inevitably disclose eXp’s confidential information to KWRI.”

The case continues to play out in court, with attorneys and executives, including Onnen, having to offer sworn and out-of-court oral testimony before a judge makes the final decision on whether to dismiss or uphold the restraining order. temporary Keller Williams against Willis. On Friday, the two brokerages agreed to postpone a scheduled hearing until they are ready to present documents and testify. A date has not been set.

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