Compass CEO Robert Reffkin kicked off his brokerage’s first in-person conference in over a year with a reflection on how COVID changed him and the company.

Compass has had a rollercoaster year, including a headline-grabbing April initial public offering, the addition of 14 new markets, several acquisitions, the launch of its OriginPoint mortgage company, and a wild ride on the stock market as the company finds the delicate balance between steady growth and profitability.

Robert Reffkin

Despite the ups and downs, Compass CEO Robert Reffkin on Tuesday said he’s never been prouder of what his agents and staff have accomplished throughout the pandemic.

“I love working for you,” Reffkin told a roaring crowd of agents at the company’s first in-person Compass REtreat at The Moody Theater in Austin, Texas. “You can ask anyone that knows me. I just love it. I do. You’re building this company. You are the foundation of this company. I get to work for entrepreneurs, and every day I get to see you living those entrepreneurship principles.”

Reffkin reflected on the early days of the pandemic when the industry struggled to navigate state and federal coronavirus mandates, virtual transactions, work-from-home protocols and a wily market where bidding wars became commonplace.

“Over the last 20 months, I’ve noticed something else as well,” he said. You have shown the world that you are essential. In state after state across the country, legislation was passed, executive orders were issued designating real estate agents as essential workers. Now why is that?”

“You provide indispensable service to your clients. One of my proudest moments of Compass was seeing you just a few days into COVID how quickly you all mobilized to help your clients,” he added. “When the world stood still, you were out there, got out of your comfort zone and pivoted.”

He continued, “Even when the world stopped. You didn’t stop helping everyone find their place in the world.”

Reffkin said his agents and staff’s dedication is what pushed the company forward and inspired leadership to spend $600 million on Compass Concierge projects, expand its in-house marketing and advertising team to 400 members, and supercharge its technology capabilities with one of the largest tech teams in the real estate industry.

“If we can’t make you more successful, we don’t have a reason to exist. It’s not just talk — we put our money where our mouth is,” he said while recounting Compass’ laundry list of technology rollouts throughout 2021. “We invested in a technology that is now 1,500 people strong. That’s likely larger than the technology team of every traditional brokerage firm in the country combined.”

Reffkin said he’s excited about the trajectory of Compass and how its agents will continue to show the world how essential real estate professionals are in helping consumers’ homeownership dreams come true.

“I know how hard you worked. I know how many sacrifices you made although many of you are dealing with the same challenges in your own lives,” he said. “I know that after working with so many clients for so long without a break, many of you have experienced a real form of burnout. I see that and I recognize that.”

“But I also see how you just kept pushing through this entire time,” he added. “None of these things would exist if it wasn’t for you. That’s the secret sauce of Compass — collaborating, bringing together the best agents, the best support team, the best technology team, listening to you learning from you building and rebuilding until you have everything that you need.”

“That’s the magic of Compass.”

Email Marian McPherson

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