A trip to New Orleans usually means partying in the French Quarter and Mardi Gras – but for brokers attending MCAP’s Habitat for Humanity summit this week, it was about paying it forward.
“It’s a fantastic way to give back, by helping families and home owners who are still living in the midst of devastation,” said Michael Cameron
, managing partner of Axiom Mortgage Partners in Alberta. “You can still see the areas of devastation down there from Hurricane Katrina.”
MCAP has made Habitat for Humanity its charity of choice for a number of years, and holding their summit in New Orleans provided the ideal opportunity for everyone to work together, no matter what brokerage everyone was affiliated with.
“We wanted to take a different, more holistic approach this year that included celebrating partnership, learning from one another at our business meeting and dedicating time to give back to those in need of help,” said MCAP’s VP of sales, Gino Tieri. “Being in New Orleans gave us the opportunity to work together as one, regardless of what brand the brokers work for, to give back to those in need. It was an amazing day!”
MCAP’s 40 top-producing brokers from across Canada spent the second day of their well-earned five-day New Orleans broker trip in hard hats and work gloves.
Under the tutelage of Habitat’s building specialists, the team devoted eight hours working tape measures, levels, saws, hammers and nails like pros as they laid floors and erected walls at the residential building site located in the Central City area of New Orleans.
“I was hammering nails,” laughs Cameron, who admits that he may have spent more time un-hammering his mistakes.
“The funniest part is when I had to crawl underneath the floor and hammer back the nails I had put in that were wrong,” he remembers, although takes pride in helping those who still are mired in the devastation from the flooding caused by the 2005 hurricane.
“As mortgage brokers, one of the things we find most rewarding is the opportunity we have to help families become homeowners. This is just an extension of that.”
Bill Handsaeme of DLC
Forest City Funding in London told a film crew that was recording the work at the Habitat site that the hands-on component of the trip provided a valuable exercise in bonding for the participating brokers. (You can see the video on YouTube by going to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrGRmZeZnwI&feature=youtu.be)
“We’re in the mortgage business,” said Handsaeme. “We compete against each other, but it’s not the same. It’s part of a team; it’s neat to be part of a team.”
MCAP has been an avid supporter of Habitat for Humanity for over a decade, organizing employee and partner volunteer efforts to help the non-profit organization put low-income families into homes. The company also has the Key to Hope program that allows mortgage clients to make tax-deductible donations to the cause through their mortgage payments.