WORDS Angela Cowan
PHOTOGRAPHY Lia Crowe
Bronwyn Bertles has used her strong entrepreneurial roots, her determination and her natural ease with people to build a successful career in real estate over the last decade.
Originally from Edmonton, Alberta, Bronwyn received a soccer scholarship to Concordia University of Edmonton, paving the way to her future career.
“I paid for school on my own, so the scholarship was really important,” she says. Given the choice between studying English, the sciences or business, Bronwyn jumped into business management and quickly thrived. She became president of the students’ business association in addition to keeping up with demanding soccer commitments.
Bronwyn had always had an interest in real estate, going to see open houses with her mom from an early age, but the prospect of leaping into a fully commission-based career when she graduated at 21 was a little intimidating, she admits.
Her talents for networking came through when she was offered a job in property management through a contact who owned a brokerage, and she immediately seized the opportunity.
“Property management gave me a lot of the tools I needed to start in full sales,” she explains.
Bronwyn soon moved out of her hometown to Calgary, where she spent three years building up her network and successes in real estate circles. But, when the opportunity to come to Vancouver arose, she jumped at the chance, despite it meaning she’d have to start from the bottom again.
“What you can sell here is so different from the rest of Canada. There’s so much variety. It was a fun challenge for my career,” she says.
Now with Engel & Vӧlkers since 2017, Bronwyn has built a connected network of friends and professionals through her membership at the Terminal City Club; through BNI Summit, the downtown Vancouver networking group she co-founded; and through myriad relationships within and beyond her community.
“To have that mentorship with like-minded, high-performing people that pushed me but also gave me confidence really propelled my skills,” she says, and adds that she pays that forward with her own clients. “It’s really about guiding people through and giving them that one-on-one concierge service. You end up connecting deeply with clients and finding what they’re looking for.”
The 7 Sins
Whose shoes would you like to walk in?
My mom, or her mother. Not out of envy, but because they’re strong, intelligent and resilient women, and because there have been so many changes for women in such a relatively short time. I would love to see the challenges they faced and put mine in perspective.
What is the food you could eat over and over again?
Fresh and authentic Mexican food, of course with a salty lime margarita on the side. My mom sacrificed a lot for my sister and me, and when she retired recently, she moved to Mexico on a complete whim. It’s completely out of character for her, and it’s actually made us so much closer. Visiting her new and exciting life, I’ve fallen in love with the family-oriented, relaxed and expressive culture, and the food is the cherry on top.
You’re given $1 million that you have to spend selfishly. What would you spend it on?
Oceanfront property. There’s only so much habitable land in BC and I would love to own a piece of it, even a smaller oceanfront lot. I’d love to have somewhere private and peaceful, perfect for friends and family. In BC, however, $1 million might just be my down payment.
Using the excuse that you’re “busy.” Everyone is busy. It’s just part of life now that there are always a million things we “should” or “could” be doing. Saying you’re busy is basically saying you’ve chosen something else, which is fine! Just tell the truth—that you have other plans, or that something slipped your mind. Just tell it like it is. I appreciate that.
Where would you spend a long time doing nothing?
I love my bed. I’m a natural extrovert. I enjoy doing things, meeting people and going to social events, but to that same extreme, I can literally spend the whole day in bed. One of my favourite things is lying around with my best girlfriends, catching up on life, venting about our issues, reminiscing about our favourite memories and planning our future ones.
What is the one thing you’re secretly proud of?
My experience as a real estate advisor in three major cities is something I’m proud of. Not only that I’ve moved and started over, but also my success in each market compared to agents who have more connections and more experience. I had to navigate learning the intricacies of new products and new communities, making and earning the trust of new clients and creating a network of trusted people. In the end, I couldn’t be happier to have landed in Vancouver. And I can tell you for certain, I’m not moving again, unless it’s for retirement.
What makes your heart beat faster?
That first night on vacation with my man. I love that feeling of vacation excitement, the looming adventure and the amazing food and drinks away from responsibility. Whether the vacation is to busy and bustling New York City or a lazy beach getaway, there’s nothing better than that first night of freedom.