Meet Broker One
Broker One > Meet Broker One
John Harker, Mortgage Broker with Real Mortgage Associates based in Brantford, is a financial services veteran with 35 years of experience in financing, banking and lending.
Brokering since 2002, John loves working with people on purchases and refinances, and has a soft spot for walking first-time homebuyers through the mortgage process and seeing them reap the rewards of homeownership.
Equipped with a deep knowledge of the market and mortgage landscape, John’s super organized and arrives early for every appointment.
He’s also blessed with a great circle of friends and business associates. What John most appreciates about being part of the Broker One network is the high level of experience, awesome service and great support he receives.
An avid hockey enthusiast, John’s motto is: “Any day at the rink is a great day!”
A community-oriented businessman, John has been volunteering in a number of capacities in his local community for the past 35 years. He especially enjoys working with youth. Over the years, John has been a rep hockey coach and skating instructor, as well as a board member for Brantford Minor Hockey, Brantford Church Hockey, Brantford Minor Lacrosse and Brant Cycling Club. He also participates in numerous fundraising events.
And when he’s not at the rink, you’ll often find John, pictured above in his RMA colours, on a long cycling adventure spanning 40-100 kms, with the wind in his face, challenging himself to push further and exit his comfort zone.
Gail Sylvester, Mortgage Broker with Real Mortgage Associates based in Stoney Creek, has been in the financial services industry for 20 years – brokering for the past 12.
Passionate about providing comfort and understanding when it comes to her clients’ finances and the emotions attached to spending, Gail is currently preparing educational talks/seminars. This includes discussing budgeting in combination with the understanding of emotional spending and changing people’s spending habits to free them from the debt cycle.
Gail enjoys providing hope to clients by building personable relationships. “My clients aren’t the mortgage transactions that I work on each day. They’re the heart of my business,” she says. “Being a Mortgage Broker is not just about the product I offer – it’s much more to me. It’s about providing hope, compassion, empathy, a listening ear and offering a plan for the future of my clients.”
Gail’s humanistic approach to her business has gained her many, loyal clients and many referrals of their friends and family for financing. They have helped Gail and her small team achieve the coveted “Top Three” position in volume & transactions at RMA, in 2017 & 2018.
And, speaking of family, Gail is the proud mom of two girls. She’s a supportive horse mom to her equestrian Mia, who has been riding for eight years. And Kylie is her singer with the Hamilton Children’s Choir and also on to high school next year, specializing in vocal music with the audition-based arts program. A single mom for the past eight years, Gail is her girls’ biggest cheerleader and supporter for achieving their goals and dreams.
Gail has also found great joy in a class she joined called Soul Fire, which is the perfect mix of all her interests, including group coaching, kickboxing, yoga and meditation.
What Gail appreciates most about Broker One is the close-knit, small group with excellent head office support.
Aziz Safi, Mortgage Broker with Real Mortgage Associates based in south western Ontario, entered the brokering world in 2015 after quickly moving up the ranks with a major financial institution over an eight-year span.
Embracing the entrepreneurial freedom to set his own hours around his family’s schedule, Aziz is self-motivated and a true believer in good, old-fashioned hard work. He has a continued drive that helps him succeed no matter what he sets out to accomplish.
Hard work in brokering has definitely paid off for Aziz, who achieved top status in both funded volumes and funded transactions in the Individual Performer category for RMA in 2018.
“Since leaving the corporate world, I now control my time, my priorities and my income,” he says. “I enjoy helping my clients get back on track so they can achieve their goals of homeownership and financial freedom.”
Aziz is passionate about alternative lending and assisting clients with challenged credit. He takes the time to build a relationship with clients so they can set a plan for success in motion together.
Aziz’s true joy is his family – his wife and son, with another son on the way! When he’s not hard at work, you can expect to find Aziz spending time with his family. An avid Raptors fan, the three of them attend as many games as possible together.
Kim Zdichavsky, Mortgage Agent with Real Mortgage Associates based in Ancaster, began brokering in 2004 at the age of 28 after the broker who assisted with her first mortgage took her under his wing and taught her the business.
As a first-time buyer, Kim had been unable to qualify for a mortgage on her own with a bank. Because she was a bartender throughout university working for mostly cash, she couldn’t prove her income.
Kim loved that working with a broker offered her different options than what the banks would provide. She wanted to be able to help others the way she’d been assisted, so she switched gears in university to mortgages from real estate.
Kim’s passionate about making a difference in her clients’ lives, whether they’re candidates for the A, B or private space.
“I’m a numbers person, so the fit into mortgages was perfect. I love when I’m able to help people who are in difficult situations rebuild themselves financially,” she says.
Kim’s passion for numbers and people has translated to great achievements at RMA. In 2018 Kim and her Small Team achieved Top Five status in Funded Transactions and Top Ten status in Funded Volumes.
A true people person, Kim makes friends with most of her clients, which has garnered her a lot of repeat and referral business over the years.
An avid traveller, she hopes to see as much of the world as possible – venturing across Ontario and abroad 2-3 times per year. Kim works hard and plays hard to help achieve a balanced lifestyle.
A big believer in Karma, Kim loves giving back to her community. She understands that the more you give, the more you get back. This mantra has been key in helping make her business so successful.
Still, no joy is greater than how she feels watching her twin seven-year-old boys, Damian and Mario, smile and laugh.
Geri Janes, Mortgage Broker with Real Mortgage Associates based in Barrie, began her brokering career in 2006.
A proud East Coaster – born and raised in Newfoundland – Geri graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce from Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, where she majored in Marketing. After university, she worked in management with well-known retailers Chapters/Indigo and Apple.
It was her passion for numbers and helping people that led her to mortgage brokering, which enables her to enjoy the best of both these worlds. Geri prides herself on her keen attention to detail and the high level of service that she provides to her clients. She personally takes care of each client – from start to finish – to ensure consistency throughout the mortgage process. This is a main differentiator she credits for her success.
Geri’s top priority is her family. She’s blessed with a supportive husband, Greg, and two great kids – Sara, 21, who’s at Laurentian University taking Social Work, and Louchlan, 19, who’s attending the University of Windsor taking Aeronautics to become a commercial pilot. She also adores her two dogs – Seamus, a rambunctious Irish Setter & Bo, affectionately referred to as a cantankerous Golden Retriever.
Running is Geri’s escape from the everyday hectic lifestyle that being an entrepreneur, wife and mother can often entail.
“If I’m having a hard time with a deal that I’m working on, I’ll often throw on my running shoes and head down to the Barrie Waterfront for a run. I almost always have the problem solved before I hit 10K!” she says.
Geri loves the CFL. In fact, she claims to bleed black and gold in support of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. With season tickets, from June until Grey Cup in November, it’s a safe bet that she’ll be in Hamilton during home games. #oskeeweewee
A perennial award winner, recognized for her accomplishments in 2016 & 2017, Geri and her team achieved “Top 3” status in Funded Volumes & Funded Transactions in 2018 with RMA.
Dani Hanna, Mortgage Broker with Real Mortgage Associates based in London, was just 22 years old when he began brokering in 2010 straight out of university.
While many people are inclined to begin brokering following successful careers in sales or banking, it was Dani’s interest in the housing market and passion for people that paved his path directly to a career he loves.
As a dedicated traveller and global citizen, Dani speaks three languages – English, Arabic & Assyrian. Among his travels, Dani has met and worked with people from all corners of the world. This experience has taught him the power of forging authentic connections with a diverse group of people.
Dani’s dedicated to securing institutional prime mortgages for individuals who are self-employed or new to Canada. Being able to speak multiple languages has helped him become successful through targeting smaller communities.
A true networker, Dani enjoys working with a varied mix of clients, colleagues and referral sources. His strong leadership skills have helped propel his team over the past couple years into the number one spot for large teams within RMA.
“I work with a great team that’s diverse in experience. Ken Roberts and Rod Smith have been great friends and partners throughout my career in this industry, and they deserve recognition for my overall success,” he says.
The Broker One Network is topnotch in Dani’s eyes. He appreciates the respect everyone holds for one another, head office leadership, initiative taken to drive each other to become better and, most of all, the reward trips.
On the weekend and during vacation, you’re most likely to find Dani travelling with his kids, who are one and three, and enjoying each other’s company as they act silly together.
Stewart has been a hard-working mortgage broker for over 17 years. Ranked in the Top 10 in sales in Canada, Stewart is consistently recognized for his achievements. We caught up with Stewart soon after his return from the BROKER ONE Top Producer Rewards Trip in Jamaica. “The last few years I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend time with the other brokers on the Rewards Trip. Exchanging business development ideas mixed in with laughter and good times with these brokers is something I look forward to every year.” He describes his BROKER ONE colleagues as a tight knit group of experienced brokers who help each other achieve their professional goals, while keeping their client’s best interest at heart. Stewart enjoys the freedom to set his own work hours around his lifestyle and family needs. Within the next 5 years, He is hoping to be working part time hours and spending winters somewhere sunny and warm.
“With government legislation tightening and lenders becoming more strict with their requirements, a new agent needs to work on truly understanding their client’s real needs, even the needs they may not be able to articulate. Matching those needs to the constantly changing financing landscape, and finding their clients the best solution possible is a key to success in this industry” said Stewart. Being service oriented Stewart takes great pleasure in knowing he’s helping someone buy a home, especially if they have been declined for a mortgage somewhere else and he gets them financing. He explains, “seeing people’s happiness when I tell them they have their home… There’s lots of pleasure in that for me.”
Stewart MacDonnell has been a broker with Real Mortgage Associates since 2006.
Siva Premanath, Mortgage Broker with Royal Capital Mortgages Inc based in Toronto, is a veteran financial services expert with 15 years dedicated to helping borrowers with their mortgage financing needs.
Siva began his banking career with BMO in 1992, where he held a variety of progressive roles ranging from bank teller to assistant branch manager. In 2004, he devoted his efforts to mortgages fulltime, focusing on sub-prime opportunities.
Before making the transition to brokering, Siva was a mortgage underwriter with Wells Fargo Financial and Home Trust Company for six years. This experience is a fundamental component to his brokering success, as underwriting a full range of mortgage deals over several years helped Siva troubleshoot scenarios and find unique ways to make deals work for different types of borrowers.
Passionate about all aspects of lending, Siva loves delving into and analyzing client stories in order to find suitable solutions, particularly for more complex deals. Specializing in sub-prime, alternative and private mortgage financing, Siva is happiest when he’s helping others navigate tough situations.
“I’m not into brokering for paycheques. My passion towards lending is the primary reason I continue to enjoy mortgage brokering,” he says.
Siva’s positive attitude flows into his personal life as well, where he enjoys finding new ways to recharge and remaining optimistic when faced with challenges. In his down time, you may find Siva vacationing with his family, including heading out on both short and long road trips, as well as watching movies.
Siva and his team have achieved “Top 10” status in 2017 & 2018 at Broker One.
Scott has been involved in the financial services industry since 1981. He began his career after completing his university education and has been a mortgage broker since 1989. Today, Scott is a family man with 2 grown children. His hobbies outside of work include hockey, golf in the summer and spending time with family and friends.
Scott’s day to day still involves dealing with new applications, following up on existing files and meeting with clients. To this day, he still enjoys helping his customers overcome challenges in their quest to get financing. Regularly recognized for his successful achievements, Scott’s advice to new agents is to develop an extremely strong knowledge base in finance and banking. “Taking the time to immerse yourself and become an expert in the many aspects of mortgage financing is crucial. You only have one chance to make a good, first impression”. Common sense, creative thinking and being able to relate to your clients are also some of the qualities Scott identified as being very important to achieve success in this industry.
Scott Galpin is one of the original brokers with Real Mortgage Associates Inc having joined RMA in 2006.
Rakhee Dhingra, CEO and Mortgage Broker at Mortgage Savvy based in Toronto, started her company in 2015. Equipped with the mission of evolving the mortgage experience from a transaction-based focus to one centred on building long-term relationships, she’s dedicated to advising clients throughout their time as mortgage holders.
Prior to brokering, Rakhee worked her way up the ladder with the big banks after earning a bachelor’s degree in commerce and finance. While in the banking world, she learned the value of forging strong relationships. It’s not just about the numbers – it’s about understanding clients’ needs and providing a higher level of service.
Rakhee launched her brokering career based on this service-oriented mentality. She saw a need for a professional advisor to answer questions throughout the mortgage process and make homebuyers and homeowners feel important. She witnessed a lack of conviction from a mortgage broker first-hand while she and her husband purchased their first home and were left with unanswered questions that heightened their anxiety. A stay-at-home mom at the time, she was determined to build a business focused on creating meaningful and supportive experiences with clients and partners.
“The best part of my day is hearing from a client who went from feeling overwhelmed and discouraged by the mortgage process to feeling confident and educated in every financial decision they made,” she says.
In this marketing video, Rakhee further explains how her business is centred on fostering relationships, and connecting on an authentic level by taking care of each client so they feel secure in their mortgage financing decisions.
Rakhee’s ultimate passion in life is her family. Being a mom is her greatest accomplishment and something that drives her to do more every day. She started her business to set an example and demonstrate that her daughter is capable of achieving anything she sets out to accomplish through hard work and determination.
During her down time, Rakhee loves dancing, working out, cooking and traveling. A true people person, she also enjoys planning social events and bringing communities together.
Rakhee and her team achieved “Top 10” status in funded transactions & funded volumes in 2018.
Manzeel Patel, Mortgage Broker with Everything Mortgages based in Toronto, began brokering in 2012 after a successful underwriting career, which offers him unique insight into a vast array of deal scenarios.
Crediting his solid organizational skills as a key to his ongoing success, Manzeel built a system from the ground up that enables him to manage his business from anywhere in the world.
Manzeel grew up in Botswana, where his family built a retail consumer technology business. An entrepreneur at heart, he moved to Toronto in 1998, where he has successfully launched and grown several businesses ranging from a mortgage brokerage and a real estate investment portfolio to a private financing ecommerce platform.
Quick response times that Manzeel and his team provide to clients is among the top contributors to their success. He also prides himself on the brokerage’s integrity and commitment to providing excellent service throughout the mortgage process and post funding.
“Thanks to my underwriting background, I’m able to quickly decide if a deal is doable. This allows me to get back to clients in a timely manner, empowering them to make a faster, more-informed decision,” he says.
Although Manzeel’s no longer in the technology business, his passion for all things tech continues. In fact, you’ll often find him reading technology blogs or consumer reports. He also enjoys travelling, real estate investing, and stocks and options trading.
An avid squash and tennis player, Manzeel’s a huge fan of all sports, especially now that he can enjoy watching and playing them with his two boys.
Manzeel and his Everything Mortgages team achieved “Top Three” standing in both categories of Most Funded Volumes and Most Funded Transactions in 2018.