What happens when the top real estate professionals from around the country gather for a day of learning and networking?

A lot of fun, a couple of great houses and one incredible event at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Luxury Connect had some serious momentum heading into Beverly Hills last week; it was sold out ahead of time, causing a last-minute scramble among those who didn’t manage to grab tickets. Luckily, Inman streamed the whole thing, but there’s truly nothing like being in the room watching the best of the best share their secrets. The energy was off the charts.

Sold-out event. Brilliant day.


At last year’s Luxury Connect, I moderated a tech panel with some very talented real estate professionals — and this year was going to be totally different because I had the opportunity to help several friends and clients prepare for their panels and presentations. I spent much of the day in the green room, watching from the sidelines. So my recap is going to be from a #backstagelife perspective.

There’s a buzz of excitement at the start of any Inman event. When Brad Inman takes the stage, it’s always a moment of anticipation. The way luxury has roared back in the last few years has been impressive, and the audience of people eager to learn, grow and share were testament to the fact that this market is seriously hot. There’s a reason why Brad named these conferences “connect.” Connection is everything in our business. For me, one of the strongest connections I was able to make was introducing my good friend Michela O’Connor Abrams, CEO of Dwell Media, to Amy Bohutinsky, COO at Zillow Group. These are two of the strongest business leaders I’ve ever met and they have influenced my career through their work, just as much as mentors, friends and advisors have helped me throughout the years. Their work at Dwell and Zillow inspires me, and it was amazing to watch it inspire the crowd as well.


While I was doing that, Mauricio Umansky was impressing the audience with his unique style and charm. He’s a leader in Los Angeles real estate because he always brings a lot of energy and fire.

The crowd was also buzzing about Rayni and Branden Williams of the dynamic Williams & Williams team. They have been doing big business in Los Angeles lately.

One of the great moments for me was hearing Branden’s thoughts on the parallels between real estate professionals and personal physicians. This is an idea that I’ve been thinking about for over a year and feel is an important message in our industry. Mark my words, owning that level of professionalism is going to be a trend in 2016.

Part of my role as backstage cheerleader including watching Laura Brady from Concierge Auctions deliver her tips for digital marketing. How do you stand out from the crowd? How do you make it truly different?

What I was reminded of from her and from Matt Beall of Hawaii Life is that technology is terrific, but it is people and connection that drive great business. Online and off, the goal should always be not to self-promote but instead to entertain and inform (and hopefully inspire). If you aren’t doing those things, it’s time to rethink your strategy.

As for inspiration, in my world, Joyce Rey is the equivalent to royalty. Not only did she bring it on stage, but she also killed it with her Luxury Connect Instagram takeover. I love this one with her and Caimeiju Founder Jeff Toth, who delivered very insightful words on the future of the Chinese market. Joyce’s digital takeover added an extra bit of fun to the day not just to see her posts but to see everyone’s reaction to them and their own Instagram posts.

Speaking of reactions, I loved Kellie Logsdon’s reaction to winning a Macbook Air from Partners Trust. She was so excited that she had the whole room smiling!

This event really had me thinking more deeply about talent. I spend most of my days and nights thinking about how I can make my clients’ companies grow, and part of that is learning and teaching. The minute I think I know everything, I’m done, because that certainty creates a blind spot.

By focusing on teaching and learning — you focus on what you control. Luxury Connect was exactly this, a place to learn and teach but in such glamorous surroundings.

Everything from the preview night at Owlwood hosted by Elliman to the closing party thrown by The Agency was done with intelligence and true prestige. Done right, smart and sexy is the new luxury.

Audie Chamberlain is the founder of Lion & Orb. You can follow him on Instagram or LinkedIn.

Email Audie Chamberlain.

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