33-hour real estate Zoom training session to raise funds for Hands Across the Water

The real estate industry is known for ‘making money’ but it’s equally as philanthropic. One cause close to a lot of hearts is Hands Across the Water, a charity dedicated to providing shelter for orphaned children in Thailand. Elite Agent Managing Editor Samantha McLean and Digital Live’s Steve Carroll are joining forces with the industry to host a world record, online real estate training session to raise money for the charity, with a stellar lineup of guests.

The real estate industry is on track to set a world record for the world’s longest online real estate training session. 

The 33-hour event dubbed The Real Estate Zoomathon, was the brainchild of Elite Agent’s Samantha McLean and Digital Live’s Steve Carroll, and will be hosted by some of the industry’s best minds. 

Also featuring inspirational guests from outside of the property sector, Samantha describes the event as the real estate industry’s own “Live Aid”. 

“This event will bring together experts from all walks of life to both educate our industry, and raise money for those who need it most,” Samantha says. 

Steve, Founder of Digital Live, says the idea came off the back of many discussions between Sam and himself, about their desire to shake up an industry that often stands still. 

“It’s not unusual for Sam and me to try and come up with some wacky ideas that challenge the status quo,” Steve says. 

“So, we’ve been thinking about reinventing the event space within real estate, and we landed on this idea of the world record attempt to create the longest ever real estate coaching event online.”

But they had another agenda too – to raise much needed funds for a charity the real estate industry has supported for many years, Hands Across the Water. 

Established by former forensic police officer, Peter Baines OAM, Hands Across the Water is dedicated to protecting and providing shelter for orphaned children in Thailand. 

Peter led the Australian response following the Bali bombings, and again after the Boxing Day tsunami some years later. 

It was after witnessing the destruction left behind by the natural disaster, that he left the police force, and began the journey of building an orphanage in Thailand. The organisation has since built six others. 

But Peter says the impact of COVID-19 has had a dramatic and telling impact on the charity’s ability to raise funds to ensure the continuity of its work.

“Our commitment is long term and involves the funding of education programs that sets kids up for life, and brings about significant change, not only to the kids but the broader community,” he says. 

“We have made it this far into COVID-19 without disrupting the quality of care we provide, we still fund 27 kids via full scholarships through university. 

“But without this record-setting event, there is no doubt that heading into 2022, we would have concerns about how to fund all of the projects without compromise.  

“The coming together of the real estate industry to support Hands in this hugely significant way certainly allows us to sleep a little better.”

The Zoom event won’t be the first time the real estate industry has banded together to assist the organisation, having partaken in an annual charity bike ride for many years. 

That was until COVID-19 hit. 

“So, while we’re always thinking about reinventing the event space in real estate, this time we decided to take it up another level, and come up with an idea that will also raise money for Hands Across the Water,” Steve says.

The initial concept was to create a 24-hour event, broken into 24 individual slots, each hosted by a different member of the real estate industry. 

But with so many industry professionals wanting to aid the cause, the event was quickly increased to 33 hours, with each host responsible for securing three of four guests from outside of the industry to inform, entertain, and educate the audience. 

“So, no different to if you’re listening to the ABC in the morning where you’ve got various guests coming and they’re interviewed, and sometimes they’ll perform,” Steve says.

“Each host can do what they like, as long as the 60 minutes is of value to the real estate audience who’ll be listening.”

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland quickly threw its support behind the initiative, and the rest of the industry has swiftly followed suit. 

“The response has been overwhelming and the number of no thanks has been practically zero,” Steve says.

“Hosts are starting to give me names of their guests and the list is very red carpet – big names in and out of real estate”

REIQ, REINSW and REISA are all supporting the event, which has already increased in length to 33 hours, due the number of contributing hosts.

Sam says other confirmed hosts include LJ Hooker, Century 21, Homely, The Agency and First National, along with plenty of others, including 12 international hosts. 

“Of the current slots, four will be coming live from Europe, three from the UK, two from the USA and New Zealand, and one from Scandinavia.,” she says. 

Hosts have been asked to think broadly when it comes to choosing guests. 

“We’ve asked them to look at their network and bring in people from outside the industry, who will educate real estate professionals even further, and that’s what Sam and I are very passionate about,” Steve says.

“So across the marathon event, we’ll have a massive variety, from all industries, and from all walks of life. 

“We’re tapping into 33 people’s social networks, and everybody has a different network, so that net is cast out quite far.” 

Tickets cost $49 and money generated will be donated to Hands Across the Water.  Steve says he hopes the industry can raise $150,000 for the charity.

“Collectively as an industry we’re a powerful group of people. And if we all put our mind to this, we can change the lives of kids living in desperate poverty in Thailand,” Steve says.

“I’m so proud to be a part of an event that will not only set a world record, but will bring together some of the best real estate minds, while also raising much-needed funds for children in need,” Samantha added.

The Real Estate Zoomathon is set to start on Wednesday, February 23 at 9am AEST, concluding on Thursday, February 24 at 3pm AEST.

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