Sometimes when you’re called to do something, you’ve got to run with it. After all, you never know where it might lead you.
For Kendall Bonner, that calling has led her and her 17-agent team to eXp Realty as she looks ahead to the next chapter of her journey in the industry.
“This year is an opportunity to live a life that I never imagined and create opportunities for myself,” Bonner said in a recent interview with RISMedia, where she discussed her decision to join the tech-fueled brokerage.
Since coming into the industry in 2011, after a career as a lawyer, Bonner’s journey ultimately led her to open her brokerage under the RE/MAX banner three years later— where she has been for nearly a decade.
In that time, she has become an iconic figure in the industry, earning several accolades, including being named a 2022 RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker in the Crusaders category for her tech-forward approach to marketing and serving clients.
However, she tells RISMedia that she had a new vision for her career as the COVID-19 pandemic started to wane.
“I realized in 2021 that starting a team would give me the platform and the space to dabble in those things in the proptech and tech spaces and the marketing space,” Bonner says.
She adds, “after the pandemic, I started to see things differently, and I felt like I needed something else. I felt like I had these talents that I wasn’t utilizing at the brokerage level.”
Bonner says the transition to eXp was rooted in her desire to reconnect with agents and help them grow their businesses.
“I did feel like I was getting less connected as a broker/owner because I was no longer really functioning in that space, and my focus was moving toward being a team leader,” Bonner says. “It is a practice what you preach opportunity for me that just made sense.”
With a love for technology, marketing and lead generation, Bonner has been a proponent and coach for agents looking to embrace new tech and tools as she led her brokerage through the years.
However, she thinks that a better way to get her point across—and out to more agents—involves taking a more hands-on approach.
That push to focus more on her journey as a team leader strongly influenced her move to merge RE/MAX Capital Realty with RE/MAX Alliance Group mere days before she and her team jumped to eXp.
“I felt like as my commitment to the team became even clearer to me, that was where my focus was,” she says. “I realized that to continue to identify as a broker/owner was no longer a part of my journey or my vision for myself. So I felt like it was my responsibility as their leader to find them a better leader.”
Before jumping to eXp, Bonner worked with RE/MAX Alliance Group Broker and Co-Owner Peter Crowley to combine her former brokerage and its 42 agents and employees with his.
The move boosted RE/MAX Alliance Group to roughly 400 associates and staff with a combined 2022 production of more than $2.5 billion and over 5,000 transactions.
“I have always admired Kendall’s approach to her real estate business, and we are honored to work with the staff and agents at RE/MAX Capital Realty to build upon an amazing real estate brokerage,” Crowley said in a statement announcing the merger in late February.
Bonner notes that eXp’s commitment to tech was a significant factor in making the brokerage her landing spot.
Still, she admits it wasn’t the only reason.
“It’s not just about absorbing their technology,” she says. “It’s the fact that they value it, support it, and allow me to run my team how I see fit, leveraging their tools without requiring me to use all of their tools, which I think is great.”
Bonner also lauded the company’s leadership at the highest level and throughout the business’s fabric.
“One of my core values on our team is to learn, master and grow, and being with other like-minded individuals is that social connection that we all seek as a part of our hierarchy of needs,” she says, adding that she found that in eXp.
Undoubtedly, eXp Realty is getting an industry all-star by recruiting Bonner and her team, but she says the move carries its share of benefits for her as well.
“I’m a community-based person,” Bonner says. “I have a saying that the community you identify with says a lot more about you than the culture that you identify with, and really that has a lot to do with choice, and so for me, I’m really looking to leverage the platform of eXp to build a better community within the real estate industry.”
Bonner also notes that she wants to change how real estate professionals engage and interact with one another.
“Real estate is local,” she says. “Everyone knows that, but leadership is national and global. I want to combine the efforts locally with the skill set that I have nationally, which is in leadership to change more lives and impact more agents and to have this cascading effect that changes the lives of consumers.”
Focused on helping uplift the agent community, Bonner believes that eXp’s platform, with its national and international reach—primarily via its digital eXp World—opens the door for her to connect with people anywhere in the U.S.
It also opens the door for further collaboration with her contemporaries, which has already begun to occur, as two more Tampa-based agent teams joined eXp after Bonner.
The Tampa Bay Team, led by Elizabeth Colón, previously at LPT Realty; and the Tampa Bay Home Team, led by Joseph and Christina Kipping, previously at Keller Williams; signed onto eXp with the sponsorship of Veronica Figueroa of the Figueroa Team.
“The addition of The Kendall Bonner Team, The Tampa Bay Home Team and The Tampa Bay Team has created a movement we are calling ‘Tampa Unites,'” said Michael Valdes, chief growth officer at eXp Realty in an email to RISMedia. “The approximately 50 agents this movement has brought create a notable force in the Tampa Bay corridor.
“We could not be more proud of bringing on such amazing talent and look forward to supporting them as they continue to grow,” he added.
The Tampa Unites movement Valdes mentioned is primarily attributed to Figueroa, who he admits was instrumental in bringing the Kendall Bonner Team and the Tampa Bay Team.
“This Tampa movement is looking for the same thing: to build a business, collaborate and approach it with a forward-thinking mindset,” Figueroa said in a recent statement featured on eXp’s blog. “There are lots of agents who need our help. We decided to come together and be one big community, help each other and be more productive.”