Vancouver’s Denise Mai Says Resilience Shaped Her Tremendous Success

Editor’s note: In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we are featuring eXp agents of this heritage and sharing their stories of service, values, and commitments.

If Denise Mai had to pick one factor that has most influenced her success, she would say resilience. It is a quality that she learned as a child in Vancouver, where she and her mom, a refugee from Vietnam, persevered through challenges. She remembers lining up at the food bank, getting Christmas dinner at the Union Gospel Mission and working alongside her mom at age 10, making sandwiches on a conveyor belt. 

Denise Mai was ranked in the top 1% of all real estate agents in the Greater Vancouver region.

The resilience she gained from those experiences propelled her through university, which she attended while working at minimum wage jobs, and eventually working for two Fortune 500 companies – as a business analyst at Accenture and in a marketing role with Johnson & Johnson. A couple years later, with more of an entrepreneurial mindset, she decided to take a leap of faith and get her real estate license, eventually being ranked in the top 1% of all real estate agents in Greater Vancouver. 

She joined eXp Realty in December 2018, after hearing about the company’s vision to build the future of real estate through a cloud-based, international business model.

“The opportunity to earn revenue share income has created financial freedom for me and my family,” Denise said. “The stock options are amazing and something I never thought I would ever have with my brokerage. I’m amazed by the collaboration, technology and the potential of the company to expand even more.”

Applying the marketing strategies she learned in the corporate world to her real estate business, she earned ICON Agent status in 2019, 2020 and 2021. In addition to building a strong business, she was a TEDx Talk speaker in 2021, and will be presenting again in May 2022. She also teaches marketing classes for real estate agents and contributes to nonprofit organizations, including Canadian Blood Services and the Children’s Miracle Network.

Learn more about Denise Mai:

Years in real estate: Since 2010

Brokerage history:

  • eXp Realty (2018-2022) 
  • RE/MAX (2010-2018)

Main territory: Vancouver, British Columbia

Main focus: Houses, townhomes and apartments. 

Number of people on team: Two assistants and three agents. 

Accolades, accomplishments & awards:

  • eXp ICON Award (2019, 2020 and 2021) 
  • RE/MAX Hall of Fame, President’s Club, Chairman’s Club, Executive Club and Medallion Club 
  • Top 1% of All Vancouver Realtors® (2015)
  • TEDx Talk speaker (2021 and 2022)

What makes eXp Realty special to you?

“eXp Realty is special to me because of the people in the company! Everyone is so awesome, truly cares and wants to help others succeed and grow! It is such a collaborative company and culture. I especially love the conferences and events. The last one I attended was Cabo 2022 and what an amazing event. It was so fun to learn and be around some top agents and learn how to attract more stars! And being able to meet some amazing people who have become lifelong friends.” 

Have you had any experience or success with eXp Realty’s global revenue share and commercial businesses?

“I love the potential opportunity of global revenue share and the commercial business. There’s just unlimited potential with this company to expand in other areas, whereas before, I was limited to my city only. Now, I can take my business global!”

What kind of collaboration have you experienced at eXp Realty?

“This level of collaboration I have experienced is unparalleled. The collaboration so far with my group and with the people I have met at eXp has been phenomenal. Everyone is just so helpful, kind and genuine. There are very good people within the organization. The culture here is just so fun and positive.”

10 Fun Things About Denise Mai:

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

“My idea of perfect happiness is being happy, grateful, and knowing I’m blessed for all that I have in my life. I thank God all the time for all my blessings. Perfect happiness is choosing to be happy everyday, and knowing I am lucky to be alive, excited and full of energy!

Who is the person you most admire?

“I admire my mom and dad who gave me a life here in Vancouver. After seeing their hard work ethic, what they had to go through and the sacrifices they had to make for me, I’m so grateful to be where I am.”

One thing you can’t live without?

“If I’m being honest, my cell phone, LOL, which is my life. I do everything on my phone – read books, watch personal development programs (since I don’t watch TV) and keep in touch with friends. My cell phone also generates income for me. It is where I connect with clients and do business as well, so it really does encompass a lot of my life, but it is nice to go put away the phone occasionally and create boundaries.”

One trait that has led to your success?

“Like in my 2021 TEDx Talk, resilience. Not giving up and believing in myself.”

What celebrity would play you in a movie or TV show?

“Lucy Liu, since there aren’t many western Asian actresses I know of. But otherwise, I would pick Jennifer Lopez, as I do admire her tenacity and drive in life.”

Pet peeve?

“People who are rude, mean or nasty to others for no reason.”

Little known fact about yourself?

“Before becoming a Realtor, I wanted to be a yoga instructor, specifically Bikram yoga, which I have practiced for over 12 years.”

Song you never tire of?

“Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, which is my anthem. It pumps me up every time, it’s my hype song – and the song I would like to make my entrance.”

Favorite meal?

French onion soup with a freshly made Caesar salad from Hy’s Steakhouse, foie gras, toro nigiri, uni pasta for the main and for desert molten lava cake with Tahitian vanilla ice cream! Yes, I’m extra and I’m a foodie!

Your epitaph will say:

“YOLO – you only live once! So embrace every moment, take advantage of every opportunity, and live your life to the absolute fullest. What are you waiting for?”

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Learn why more agents and brokers are making the switch to eXp.