Each year, the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR.com) honors a member that most personifies REALTOR® in spirit and ethics, through service to his or her profession, peers and the REALTOR® association. For 2019, Mike Wong, Director of Commercial Real Estate at Keller Williams Realty Southwest and 2019 Chairman of the Houston Asian American Real Estate Association (AAREA), was selected as the most deserving of this prestigious recognition. Houston REALTOR®magazine talked to Mike about why he is so passionate about the real estate profession and what this honor means to him.

What was your first reaction when you learned that you were the 2019 honoree?

I was completely shocked. I never imagined being recognized or deserving of an honor like this. Honestly, I did not know what to say, or if it was even possible to express my heartfelt gratitude in words. Getting the news from Kenya Burrell, a friend and mentor, made it even more meaningful. 

What does this honor mean to you?

To be recognized among so many exceptional recipients who set a standard of excellence over the years is an incredible honor. This award is the result of everyone who helped me in life: God, family, friends, mentors, colleagues and clients. I’m humbled to be considered and chosen from so many deserving individuals.

What do you find most gratifying about your work as a real estate professional?

I am truly blessed to be able to do what I love in this city of opportunity. The most gratifying work is helping people by making a difference in their lives and by serving my commercial clients as they generate a ripple effect of new jobs and a positive economic impact in our communities. 

What do you consider the biggest challenge currently facing the real estate industry?

Technology and data are evolving so quickly in so many facets of our industry, it creates both challenges and benefits. As REALTORS®, we need to be able to adapt to technology platforms, new tools, and new business models. Consumers now have more information and options than ever before that will challenge our roles and value to clients. Artificial Intelligence, control over data, iBuyers and the amount of disruption equity pouring into our industry will change us more over the next couple of years than the entire past decade. 

What advice would you offer new real estate professionals or folks considering entering the profession given current market conditions, opportunities and challenges?

Find good mentors that challenge you and be willing to adapt continuously over your career. Invest in yourself with education and training to be exceptional at what you do. Get involved with HAR, TREPAC, volunteer in the community, and join the industry association groups so you have a direct pulse on the market, opportunities, and challenges. 

Do you have any other thoughts or comments you’d like to share?

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” – Péle 

Discover and seek your ‘why’ and you will have the motivation you need. Volunteer and serve others with a genuine desire to make a difference. When you come from contribution and bring value to everyone you meet, you will never have competition. God Bless.   

Congratulations, Mike! You are most deserving of HAR’s 2019 REALTOR® of the Year honors, and we are proud of all you do!