For anyone working in or connected to the real estate industry, RISE is a movement for ‘good’ led by an industry collective, and for which the stewardship has now passed to Melbourne for 2020.

The aspiration of RISE2020 is to provide seed funding for an independent, industry-specific and nation-wide service for education, prevention and intervention in mental health for the real estate industry and their families.

Unlike all other real estate events, RISE2020 is an event that is seeking to redefine success in real estate around core themes of mastery, wellness and inspiration.



On a normal March day in Christchurch, NZ an Australian gunman assaulted the peace at two mosques which resulted in the deaths of 51 people and left a community, a city, and two nations in shock and grief.  We live in a world where these waves of shock and grief are felt too often from examples of civilian loss at the hand of radicalised thought and violent action. I want to share with you a story about what happened recently when we started asking different questions in the wake of such a tragedy.


At the mercy of grief, it is easy to fall into the cycle of asking: “What can ‘I’ do?” and feeling hopeless at the lack of resources, influence and impact that might be needed to solve the complex issues that converge in these tragic events. Perhaps it was the proximity of Christchurch to our town; perhaps it is the shared history of football and the ANZAC spirit; or perhaps it was the fact that the perpetrator of this senseless violence on our peaceful and close neighbours was ‘Australian’: but this time was different. 

On that fateful and horrible Friday, like every one of the 24 million Australians we were stunned and admit to later feeling a sense of great shame. That someone who was born in our country could come to a place that is as close to being ‘us’ while being another country, and perform that violence. It was a spur – a catalyst – to no longer sit in paralysis over “What can ‘I’ do?”, but instead ask “What ‘CAN’ I do?” and for a group of real estate agents from our office and from across the Australian and New Zealand industries; the only clear path ahead was that the only thing we couldn’t do was ‘nothing’. 


What if is a funny thing. It can be the reason we sometimes don’t do things but in this instance, ‘What If?’ we put on a conference for real estate agents to raise money for the families of the victims. 

When I think about leaders who have made an impact on humanity, I’m sure that none of them started with a budget and a strategic plan; most of them started with an idea – an intent to do something to help. And so did we. It wasn’t just about raising money.

There are many cultures that have a tradition of simply being with people who are experiencing grief, sharing physical space and closeness. People from the Hebrew tradition go to the house of someone who has passed to ‘sit shiva’; Europeans bring food to the house; and the Irish wake brings the community together. 

There are about 1,900 real estate agents in Christchurch, friends of ours, and we wanted to take some of Australia’s agents over and simply share the grief and be with them, and raise a bit of money to connect the families of the victims with some resources to heal.


We learned that there was a hunger among good people everywhere to collaborate and to belong in a way that connected them to good works. We learned that with the right intention, obstacles come but they are overcome. We learned the power of rising together and the privilege we have to be able to do something.


The word began to seep out to the real estate industry to connect good people to what we were trying to achieve. Not all of the good people are in the same network and so a non-branded, collaborative platform called RISE emerged; and it did so because some good people said, ‘Yes’.

Everyone who spoke and organised the event were self-funded in their involvement so that every dollar from the generous people through ticket sales and donations was able to flow directly to the families of the the victims. 


We had no idea what was going to happen. There is no rule book or blueprint to see the intent manifest to achieve its objectives.

The conference was held in Christchurch on the 2 May and live streamed to a global audience. Farid Ahmed opened RISE2019. 

Ahmed, lost his much-beloved wife, Husna, in the attack.  He told the story of how Husna had led a group of children to safety and then was shot dead on re-entering the mosque to assist him to escape in his wheelchair. Despite his unimaginable loss, Ahmed’s message of compassion and forgiveness was profoundly moving.

Ahmed started the day talking about how humans, in their different-ness are like different coloured flowers peacefully enriching the garden they share and he asked us to consider community. The community, like a garden, was made more beautiful by different coloured flowers and they all have a way of being in the garden and having their own beauty uninterrupted by the differences in the flowers next to them. 

The upshot of the fundraising from ticket sales, from donations, and from a huge charity auction before lunch meant that in a period of just 48 days, we were able to raise over NZD$170,000 for the families of the victims. 


RISE will continue as an expression of gratitude from the real estate industry for the privilege that we can do something.

RISE will continue to be a platform to connect good people from the real estate industry to good causes in the future. RISE2020 will be hosted in Melbourne and we look forward to connecting our people to another good cause.