Nene’s Triumphant Return


After walking up a flight of stairs and into the office of the RNR Realty International, Nene Matey-Keke slowly unpacks his bag and readies himself for the day.  A loud and dense thud is heard and a few necks crane to verify the source of the uncharacteristic noise. Nene has unpacked a bound set of over three hundred business cards and they now sit in the shape of a brick on the desk of the main office.

A few days later Nene sits, the brick of business cards now sorted, once by continent and again by country, to discuss a few of the finer points of networking on trips like the one he has just returned from – this year’s National Association of REALTORS® conference in San Francisco.

“You’re exposed to relationships that no one else will have access to and it’ll help make yourself unique,” Nene says with a grin and a glance at the colossal collection of newly made contacts, before adding another thought.

“Not every person is going to meet the same two people.”

11072882225_d45b6866d1_cWhile many attendees of the annual conference set aside some time to tour the city, Nene says he simply couldn’t find the time. After his 9 a.m. flight arrival on Thursday, Nene had exactly 2 hours to leave the airport, check in at the hotel, unpack and get dressed to head downtown for his first meeting of the conference.

Nene did get the chance to sample some of the local cuisine. Nene recalls the night’s main course from Bourbon Steak at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in Union Square.

“The ribeye steak was excellent,” Nene says.

“Still not a big fan of brussel sprouts, I guess I’m still just a kid at heart.”

Nene says the chance to travel, meet new people and try new things are what he loves about the annual conference.

“I get to experience the world from another perspective,” Nene says.

“I even tried some red caviar from Russia.”

11072893794_176236a9a1_cNene also cites the opportunity to see Hillary Clinton, the conference’s keynote speaker, as a highlight of the trip. Meeting old friends, both nationally and internationally and the chance to network with new contacts were also among the most rewarding aspects of the trip for Nene.

Nene even had the good fortune of reuniting with and old friend, Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) instructor David Wyant, whom Nene took classes from while in Chicago.

Nene prides himself on his ability to cast a wide net when it comes to finding new contacts in the real estate industry. With a refocus on the emerging international markets, Nene and his company, RNR Realty International, have held strongly onto the importance of putting time and energy into creating strong international contacts.

11072947423_413e1547ec_cTwo international contacts Nene ran into and remembered from last year’s conference in Orlando were Assaf Epstein, the director of education for chambers of education in Israel and Mario Flores the president of the chamber of real estate brokers of Guatemala.

Nene also spent time discussing the residential, economic and commercial aspects of real estate as a member of the NAR Research Committee. Serving for the second time, Nene says being a member of the committee has opened him up to great insight into the current real estate trends on a national scale.

Leaning back in his chair, his pile of business cards held together by paperclips and rubber bands, ready to be added to the stack of cards collected over previous years. Nene ponders over one more question while the winds whip and the sun continues to set over the cold Minnesota fall sky. The question is about where he’d like to see the conference held someday. His answer comes with a smile and then a laugh.

“San Juan, Peurto Rico, I’d love to go there sometime.”