Revealed - the approach that paved the way to Canadian Mortgage Awards success

Prioritizing company culture amid growth proved key, says founder and CEO

Revealed - the approach that paved the way to Canadian Mortgage Awards success

It’s a challenge any owner of a growing business knows all too well: How can that expansion be managed while losing nothing of the culture and care that helped fuel the company’s success?

For Anthony Contento (pictured), president, co-founder and chief executive officer at Sherwood Mortgage Group, maintaining a laser-like focus on company culture, and ensuring the personal touch is never lost, have been key elements of the brokerage’s rise in recent years.

He told Canadian Mortgage Professional that despite now numbering over 100 agents spread across five different provinces – and surpassing $1 billion in mortgages funded annually in 2021 and 2022 – the company had never lost sight of an approach to business that prioritizes treating its agents and staff like family.

“We really pride ourselves in keeping a family feel even though our brokerage is growing, for sure,” Contento said. “The leadership team does a very good job of making sure that our agents are kept up to date with all the tools, with everything that they need to do to make sure that they’re successful.

“But more importantly, there’s that personal touch. We connect with them to make sure they’re doing OK, especially after these last few years that we’ve had [during the COVID-19 pandemic] we want to make sure that everybody’s on the road to success.”

That means staying in constant communication when needed, Contento said, and making sure agents know there’s someone available to address their query or concern – no matter what time.

“That phone call that we make, whether it be at 9:00 in the morning or 10:00 at night – it goes a long way, and we want them to know that we’re there for them in every which way,” he said. “For us, it’s really all about staying together as a family and making sure that we’ve got each other’s back.”

Family-focused approach paying off for company

It’s an approach that’s clearly reaping the rewards. In April past, Sherwood came away with the CWB Optimum Mortgage Award for Brokerage of the Year (25 Employees or More) at the 2023 Canadian Mortgage Awards, collecting the honour in front of a rapt audience of more than 600 mortgage professionals.

For Contento, the moment the company’s victory was revealed is one that will live long in the memory, particularly with so many friends and colleagues both from the brokerage and across the industry in attendance.

“When we heard our name, everybody from the team looked at each other. [The presenter] repeated it again, and it was surreal,” he said. “It was an absolutely wonderful evening. We had a lot of folks rooting for us as we were going up to receive the award, so it was very special.”

With the awards having been held in an online setting for 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic, subsequent iterations have been doubly special, he said, for reminding mortgage professionals of the value of such in-person events.

“The evening was a blast. It was wonderful to see a lot of friends under one big roof, especially with everything that’s been going on over the last few years,” he said. “To reacquaint yourself with a lot of friends in the industry was really special, and winning it with my team being there certainly wasn’t expected. It was a great feeling all round. To be under one roof with all your friends and colleagues across the country – I think it doesn’t get any better than that.”

Canadian Mortgage Awards returning in May 2024

The CMAs are returning for their 18th year on May 2, 2024, with mortgage industry members from across the country set to converge on Toronto’s Congress Centre to honour the outstanding achievements of the top performers across a range of categories.

Nominations may be submitted on the CMAs’ official event website until January 19, with brokers, brokerages, lenders, business development managers, service providers, and underwriters up for consideration for top awards.

Excellence Awardees will be revealed on CMP’s online channels in February, with winners to be announced at the eagerly anticipated celebratory awards show.

Be sure to get your nominations in before the closing date – and stay tuned to Canadian Mortgage Professional for all the buildup in the coming months to what’s sure to be another unforgettable night in Toronto in May.