If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others. Ottawa’s Bill Meyer is living proof of just how far these values can take you in all areas of life.
Growing up in Burlington Ontario, Bill was a regular high school athlete. He played football, basketball, and the usual slew of mainstream sports, but truly excelled in the lesser-known water polo. He had joined a water polo league and club outside of school, and was competing at a provincial level throughout his teen years. “I was just a kid who liked to swim and play water polo,” recalls Bill. “And for whatever reason, I did well, winning many tournament MVPs.”
If water polo is an uncommon sport today, it was even more so before Canada’s 1976 Olympics. Coming off the Olympic buzz, a national league was established, and Bill was on the shortlist to compete at the Canada Games for Ontario’s provincial all-star team. He would become the tournament’s top scorer, even making the final winning goal in the gold medal game against Quebec.
This game was as pivotal to Bill’s own future as it was to the team that day. Of all of the coaches at the Canada Games, it would be Quebec’s head coach, Gabor Csepregi, who would take notice. Csepregi was set to head up Canada’s National Team for the 1980 Olympics, and was looking to pick up some newer and younger players to join the team.
None of this would become known to Bill when he sat down for his first college lecture in 1977 in a police foundations program, in anticipation of a career with the RCMP. He wouldn’t get to complete the lecture or the program. The first words from the professor were Bill’s name: an urgent phone call from home was waiting for him.
The call from home was Dad. He had just gotten off the phone with
Gabor Csepregi. Coach Gabor was calling to ask Bill to join the Canadian National Team in Ottawa at the team training center.
“That was a Tuesday, and I was in Ottawa on Wednesday morning,” explains Bill. “I was the youngest player to make the national team at the time.”
Bill made the starting lineup in just 5 months, and spent the next 8 years playing at the international level. When the 1980s Olympics were boycotted due to Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan, Bill had not yet hit his athletic peak, and was young enough to remain on the team, looking to 1984. “We trained 4 hours a day at Carleton University and the Nepean Sportsplex, and we travelled internationally 4 or 5 times a year. 18 to 24 was a lot of fun. Lots of travelling, and some lifelong friendships were made.”
It was a pivotal time in Bill’s life outside of his athletic career, too. In 1982, he married his wife Cathy, and the pair welcomed a daughter in ‘83. In ‘84, after 8 years of training, Bill went to the Olympics in Los Angeles. The Canadian National Team had earned one of only 12 spots out of the dozens of countries aiming to qualify.
“Just for Canada to qualify for the Olympics was an accomplishment. The LA Olympics were a thrill of a lifetime.”
After returning home to Ottawa, Bill looked to sales as a potential career. Computers and houses, two of the hottest markets in the 80s, only had one real difference to him: a 5-year degree in computer science . He opted for the shorter, 6-week program to start his real estate career. “Admittedly, it was the path of least resistance.”
It wasn’t a path Bill would be on for long. After 8 years in real estate, he was offered a job as the regional manager of marketing for a major bank, where he spent 3 years. After which he went on to manage a bank for a few years. The banking world offered Bill many other opportunities to continue to rise through the ranks, but as they were mainly in Toronto, he turned them down, opting to keep his family in Ottawa.
His aptitude for sales was unique in the banking world, and his managerial skills lent themselves well to the opportunities he would find back in real estate. One specific opportunity was the chance to manage the first Keller-Williams franchise in Canada, based in Ottawa, in 2001. In taking the job, Bill would set the stage for his next 22 years in real estate. In this time, Bill found his true calling in coaching and mentorship. “A big part of my job was training agents on how to market themselves and build a successful business that would deliver great customer service. I wasn’t just teaching agents how to build a solid foundation as a salesperson, I was coaching and consulting agents on how to build their business up to a point where they were bringing on other agents and admin support to build a team. So, after coaching others to do it, and realizing that the best position in the real estate brokerage model to be in was to be a leader, owner, and manager of a team, I partnered with another top agent, Sylvie Begin, and together we built and ran a team for about 8-9 years together.
Three years ago, I took 100% control of the team and now run the team as my own.” In 2019, Bill branded his group The Tulip Team at RE/MAX, and has since been recognized as one of the top 50 for RE/MAX in the country, one of the top 10 in Ontario, and a top 3 team in Ottawa.
Though these measurements of success, in sales figures and homes sold, have served him well, Bill has his own metrics for a fulfilling career.
“It’s more about building a fulfilling life than a business. Your job should be a vehicle that allows you the time and money to do the stuff in life that’s worthwhile and fun. Seeing my agents find this balance in life is how I get my wow. My job is to create a supportive, learning based environment, one that my agents and staff know is a place that will help them achieve their business and personal goals in life.”
As a testament to his success, Bill’s team has achieved both breadth and depth in this area, with 5 of his team members at 10 years in their positions, and another 5 closing in on the 10-year milestone.
“My focus is not on branding. It isn’t The Bill Meyer Team. It is about me helping each of them to be successful. By default, it makes me successful. Today my task is to attract agents that want to build a solid foundation, through coaching and consulting.”
Bill guarantees two things to people who join his team: that they will be trained and helped by him and other experienced members of the team, and that, in time, they will also be asked to teach newer members. “There is a certain path to mastery, and one of those paths is to teach. Because as you teach, you learn as much or more than the student.”
His advice for newer agents? “Find an environment where you receive coaching and support to build a solid foundation for your career. If you’re building a team, remember that it’s not about you, it’s about your people. If you can build your business where that truly is the culture, then you will succeed.” Simply put, If you want to go far, go together.