A frindlii chat with Lisa Kanski, a mortgage broker & partner at Castle Mortgage Group
(If you missed it, click here to see the intro.)
the friendlii crew: Lisa, can you tell us three things about you which people can’t Google?
Lisa: Hahaha! That they can’t Google?
the friendlii crew: Yes! 😊 Three things about you which folks can’t Google.
Lisa: I was a teacher for 17 years before starting my career in the mortgage industry. I grew up in a small town.
the friendlii crew: Neat. Which small town?
Lisa: Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. I don’t usually admit that out loud.
the friendlii crew: How come?
Lisa: You know how often when stand-up comedians go to Vancouver they make fun of Surrey? Even though Surrey is a great place to live.
the friendlii crew: Yes.
Lisa: Portage la Prairie is like the Surrey of Manitoba.
the friendlii crew: Huh. Ok.
So far, we’re moving along just fine. But that last bit might be something folks could actually Google, no? So, can we go beyond that a lil’ bit?
Lisa: So you want my secrets? 😂 😂 😂
the friendlii crew: Hahaha!
Lisa: I have a crush on Sarah Schiess! 😂 💕
the friendlii crew: Hahaha! Please elaborate.
Lisa: Sarah came to speak with us in Winnipeg maybe four, five years ago. And she was by far the most energetic and real mortgage broker I’ve ever met.
At that point, I was still new to the mortgage industry, but it was obvious that the industry is a little bit male-dominated and about bravado.
Sarah was the first one to pull the curtain back and say that this business is about people and taking care of your clients.
She was just so real that I connected with her right away. That’s the part of my job I love. It’s nothing to do with mortgages, numbers, and money. It’s about helping the person in front of you. So, I think that Sarah and I shared those same ideals.
the friendlii crew: Was it also refreshingly empowering to see that there are people like that out there?
Lisa: Yes! People who are very successful but you wouldn’t know it. There are a lot of people in our industry who are successful, and we know that because they tell us, you know, in articles and newsletters.
But Sarah was one of the ones that you wouldn’t know just by her. She’d never tell you. And I really appreciate that. It’s nice to know that focusing on taking care of people can make you just as successful as anyone else.
the friendlii crew: And the tide has changed. It’s becoming more and more important to provide that kind of evidence (i.e. that a business is truly taking care of people), wouldn’t you agree?
Lisa: Absolutely. When we train brokers, because I do some of the training for Castle, one of the things we talked a lot to our new brokers about was taking care of the person in front of you. If you take care of people, they’ll refer to you their friends and family, and that’s how you build your business.
the friendlii crew: Ok, Lisa, is it fair to say that so far we have unearthed one thing folks can’t Google about you? You have a crush on Sarah Schiess! 🙂
Lisa: Hahaha! Just one? Geez, that’s hard. I like to travel.
the friendlii crew: What’s your favourite place so far that you’ve traveled to?
Lisa: Bali, I think. It’s a developing country, yet you would not know it by the hearts of people there. I’ve gotten to know some locals there, and while they have their differences, their society is ‘karma based.’ There are still issues, of course, but there’s a feeling when it comes to community that I think we’re lacking here.
the friendlii crew: It sounds like the place has a calming effect on you.
Lisa: Yes, it does.
the friendlii crew: A tiny tangent, if you don’t mind. If someone were to Google Bali, they’d likely see some nice, calming images no?
Now, imagine if someone were to refer a typical mortgage broker to their friends, like how you just said if you take care of people they’ll refer you. Their friends would most likely Google that mortgage broker.
And if they did, the first thing they’d see is this jungle of poses, words… What do you think: why not take a page from Bali and calm down your digital welcome mat? Has this ever crossed your mind?
Lisa: A lot. You really need to differentiate yourself. Again, Sarah Schiess is someone who does that really well. For example, the social media presence for her brokerage is just different.
the friendlii crew: For those who may not be familiar with Sarah’s brokerage, could you give us some example of things she does that you really like?
Lisa: The Christmas cookie contest. [AKA ‘Rolling in the dough,’ editor’s note.]
I always mention it to our new brokers when I’m training and when we talk about how to do social media differently. I don’t know exactly how many people entered the contest last year, but I know it’s some ridiculous number. Nothing to do with mortgage numbers, but there’s Sarah’s and mint’s name everywhere. Coast to coast. It’s amazing.
the friendlii crew: Just because a business may be ‘small,’ its brand doesn’t have to be, right?
the friendlii crew: Ok, speaking of things which folks can’t Google about you, what’s your favourite pump-up song?
Lisa: There’s so many… 🔊
the friendlii crew: You can name more than one! 🙂
Lisa: Ok. Let’s go with ‘Inner Ninja,’ and The Tragically Hip’s ‘Hockey Song.’
the friendlii crew: Next question: which book have you most often gifted to others, and why?
Lisa: This will be very personal.
I lost both of my parents when I was young, before I graduated from high school. There’s a book called ‘Motherless Daughters’ that I give to my friends who, unfortunately, as they get older, start to lose their parents.
I’m kind of an expert when it comes to that topic, and I always have a few extra copies of the book.
‘The Red Tent’ is another book I gift to others.
the friendlii crew: What was in this book ‘Motherless Daughters’ that spoke to you?
Lisa: Because my mother was the one that passed away first when I was nine years old, my dad became the sole provider. I actually saw it in a bookstore once. I picked it up, put it down, and walked away. And then, a week later I looked at it again.
The book is about a woman who lost her mom before university, went to university, and was having a hard time. So she went to the library to see if she could find a book about losing a mother, and she could not find any. So she put an ad up in a coffee shop in Chicago saying something like ‘just lost my mom and looking for someone to talk to.’
She had a hundred phone calls. For example, there was a call from a 70-year-old woman who was devastated when her 90-year-old mother died, etc. Long story short, the author decided to do the research and write a book about the topic. One thing that spoke to me from the book is this insight that you kind of freeze a lot of your memories in the moment you lose a parent.
Another book I like is ‘Delivering Happiness’ by the person who co-founded Zappos, Tony Hseih.
the friendlii crew: That is a good book. Since you like to travel, a friendly tip: If you go to Vegas, you can get a great tour of Zappos. Some of our crew took it and they say it’s really neat. They show you almost everything, including Tony’s desk.
Moving on, what was the last thing you were grateful for?
Lisa: I’m grateful for getting some new clients. I was just writing some thank you cards to my clients.
(Pictured above are some imaged around Lisa’s office.)
the friendlii crew: Nice. Lisa, are you a dog or cat person?
Lisa: A dog person.
the friendlii crew: Do you have any dogs?
the friendlii crew: What are their names, and may we see their pictures?
Lisa: Sky and Dodger.
Sky is the big white one. Not that long ago, my partner took our dogs to the park, and one of them, Sky, got into a fight. When he brought her back from the vet, there was a big stitch across her face, and she had the cone…
Now it’s all good, and she looks like Harry Potter! We’ll probably get her a Harry Potter costume for Halloween.
the friendlii crew: Yay! Our last question, for now. What didn’t we ask you about Lisa that you really want to share?
Lisa: I’m a teacher, and by teaching people about their options, you can take care of them.
the friendlii crew: Awww… 💝 Thanks for sharing –– take care until next time, Lisa!
p.s. Following our chats, we often ask our guests to do one unexpected and fun activity. For Lisa, we asked her to draw a pie chart of her typical day. Below is her answer.
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