Realty Life

“I Had a Tomato and a Can of Tuna. That’s All I Had” - Desmond Brown

May 02, 2023 Stories and Strategies Season 2 Episode 26
Realty Life
“I Had a Tomato and a Can of Tuna. That’s All I Had” - Desmond Brown
Show Notes Transcript

By his own admission there was a point in time for Desmond Brown when he had no idea what he wanted to do with his life. He was 26 years old, driving Cab, a path he got into because he didn’t have the high school marks good enough for Community College.

On a whim Des went to see Kent Sheppard at the real estate office across the street. Neither had met before. Over a short period of time Kent showed Des that he believed him. “And that made me believe in myself,” Des admits.


Soon Des earned $50,000 in a single year in real estate. At the time that felt like a mountain top. But he soon realized it wasn’t the top, it was only a stop along the journey. 


Guest: Desmond Brown
Desmond Brown Real Estate
Listen to Des’ podcast Sold in the 6ix
Listen to Ken’s guest appearance on Des’ podcast
The Red Door Shelter 

Ken can be reached at:

Ken McLachlan (00:01):

We are in for a treat today. I got to talk to a really great friend of mine, Desmond Brown. And I'm telling you, I've done a lot of podcasts and I've never been more comfortable, more just excited to talk to someone than I had been with Desi. And not to say the other people weren't great too, but this podcast, the learning from it, the journey Des, he's been on it. It's worth to listen and listen again for it. So join me today as I talk with my great friend, Desmond Brown.




Hi Everyone, it's Kim McLachlan and welcome to Realty Life. This is especially a treat for me today. All podcasts or a treat for me, but today I get to talk to a great, great friend of mine, personal friend of mine that I've known since I think, since I first started in real estate. I mean, he was there when I was really, really green in this business. And we spent a lot of time together learning the business and getting together with it and finding out what was good, what was wrong. We made a lot of mistakes together and we got a lot to talk about and welcome Desi, Desmond Brown.

Desmond Brown (01:20):

Wow. Yeah, we do go way back. But you are already, what, a five or six year veteran by the time I met you? I think,

Ken McLachlan (01:25):

I Don't know, when did I meet you?

Desmond Brown (01:27):

About 1986 when you had just joined RE/MAX Hallmark and I had joined RE/MAX Hallmark. That's right. Just a little bit before that. And I guess I'd already heard about the legend of Ken McLachlan, <laugh> from Martel there. So I think you were probably Yeah, good. Five, six years ahead of me. But

Ken McLachlan (01:44):

Yeah, I just remember meeting you when I joined Remax Hallmark. You were out of the Danforth with Danforth Dave, right? Dave Desjeuner

Desmond Brown (01:53):

Dave Desjeneur, Kent Sheppard down there who hired me there. Gladys was there. Tom Cook, Buck. Yeah. And

Ken McLachlan (02:02):

Wow, I remember that was crazy. And then I used to hang out with you. We used to, it was different back then, wasn't it? I mean, it seemed different. You were single or just divorced I think at the time or whatever that

Desmond Brown (02:15):

Back then.

Ken McLachlan (02:16):

And we used that goes cross avenue.

Desmond Brown (02:18):

Yeah. Oh, it's a long, that was in between, that was around the nineties and the early eighties. Yeah. I had my first starter marriage, as we say, in real estate. My starter home. I had my starter marriage <laugh> over a few years. And then yeah. Yeah, I've moved on to a really, really good stable stable

Ken McLachlan (02:36):

Marriage. Yeah, we're talking about that in a minute, but I want to talk about the days of in between, I guess, mostly, and how we used to hang out a lot. Just the nineties, I guess I would've referring to The market was a lot different. It was difficult. And we were transitioning, actually, we were growing up together I think at the time, because we had a lot of stuff that we were dealing with. We didn't really know what we were doing. We were broke. We were all trying to figure this stuff out. But how did you get into this business? What happened? Gosh, how did you start with it?

Desmond Brown (03:07):

So I screwed up in school. I screwed up in high school. By the time I graduated, it took me six years to get my grade 12 diploma. And by the time I was graduating, I figured, okay, I want to be a journalist. So I started to apply to some of the community colleges. And journalism was predominantly more of a community college or a Ryerson thing back then as far as post-secondary school education goes. And my marks and everything that I had done in high school just held me back. It would not allow me to get in 20 of those journalism programs. So I kind of fell into real estate. Actually. First I'd worked for the Better Business Bureau selling ads. And then my uncle, you didn't know it, did you really? I didn't know that for a couple years there into my uncle who owned a real estate brokerage out in Oshawa, Frank Magnus, he had a brokerage called Bagot Real Estate, B A G O T is the name of the first governor General of Canada, is what I was told.


So he was opening up a second location on the Danforth at Woodbine, and he said to me, because you know, could do really, really well in real estate. And I said, really? Well, what? What's really, really well? He says, well, if you go out and knock on 50 doors a day, you will make $50,000. And I'm like, $50,000 back in 1985. That's a huge amount of money, especially for a young guy like me. And in his mid twenties. So I went and I got my real estate license, and I did that, and I went out and I knocked on a lot of doors every day, but I only made $12,000 in my first year. I remember that. And the difference was that I wasn't really committed to real estate. I still had my taxi license. So I drove taxi in the city of Toronto.

Ken McLachlan (04:57):

Desi, how old were you then?

Desmond Brown (05:01):

Probably, what's 1985? I'm born in 1958, so it would've been 26, 27 years old. Okay. Yeah. So I wasn't committed, and I always had the taxi to draw to fall back on, and that's what I did. And then I met well, actually I was right across the street from Remax Hallmark, and I'd see these agents pulling in Tom Cook and all these other agents pulling in every day and then leaving with people in their car, <laugh> and pulling in and leaving with people in their car. And I'm like, sheesh, what are they doing over there? So I finally got up the guts to go across the street, and I met the other legend of RE/MAX Hallmark, Kent Sheppard. He is that. And he sat me down and we started talking. And he says, you really don't have an effing clue about what you're doing, do you <laugh>? And I said, yeah, I guess I don't.


That's what he says here. You come over here and work with me. I will help you get on track. And he did. He did. He did. But those were the days when we could put an ad in the Toronto Star run with, we'd run 3, 4, 5 purchasers a day and just go running, running, running, running. And then all of a sudden, yeah, I finally did make that 50 grand that my uncle had promised that I would make, and then doubled it after that, and did even better after that. Thought I was hot crap. Dave Dejeneur, who you mentioned, was in the office at the time. So we decided that we would open our own office. Yes, I did. And we did that. The Realty world office that we had, and we opened on the Danforth, had over 20 people working for us. And that was a disaster. We can get into that later. Yeah,

Ken McLachlan (06:31):

We can talk some conversation about that. But I'm curious about the Shep thing, Kent Sheppard, because he, I've, I know we all have that journey with Kent, but the inspiration, the boost that he offered to so many people and their career, especially at the early times with you, and I know you've told me many times before how impactful he has been in your life and how he challenged you. Yeah.

Desmond Brown (06:57):

Yeah. He really was. And the one thing about Kent is that he believes in people. Yeah. Right. That's the one thing about Kent. He believed in me and he actually convinced me that I could do it. And I started believing in myself. Kent. I mean, he's a character. I, I'll always love the guy. The one thing about Kent was that he didn't mind pushing the envelope when it comes to real estate, but he always drew the line when it came to looking after the consumer. And that's the one thing I always respected about him, push it a little bit with advertising or something. He say, you're not hurting anybody. And he'd say for little things like this, but when it came to the consumer, he was like you. It's just no tolerance when it came to that.

Ken McLachlan (07:45):

Yeah. There was no, there's no, there's a fine line there. He taught me that as well. Any, I knew that fundamentally. But he was, there's no way swagger on him at all with that. It was always straightforward. This is the consumer. This is what we're doing. They taught you that. But I know that he pushed you to be better in your career, especially at the start

Desmond Brown (08:04):

Of your career. Yeah, always. And he'd say to me, look at the way this guy walks down the hall. Yeah. Look it, that guy has purpose. You got to walk like that guy. Right. Don't just be loafing around and have some purpose in life. Yeah. And that's great. I still hear his voice. I still hear his voice.

Ken McLachlan (08:22):

It makes me smile. Hear you talking about him. Because already it brings me back to those days and the difference he made and the difference you make with people as well today, all through your career, just being there, being a presence with people mattered. And you mentioned, we'd talked about Dave Des, or Dean Dave, as I like to call him. Yeah, we

Desmond Brown (08:43):

Call him. You guys went out. Cause he had the beauty schools down in Michigan,

Ken McLachlan (08:45):

<laugh> Beauty School in Michigan by a character again. And we have so many characters in our lives to talk, lives to talk about. But you and Dave went out and started a company called, or Realty World. Centreville.

Desmond Brown (08:58):

Yeah, Centerville. We what? We chose Centreville because we wanted to appeal to the referral network across the country as being in the center of Toronto, in the urban part of Toronto. So it was Centreville Realty operating as Realty World. Centreville. Yes.

Ken McLachlan (09:12):

Yeah. How long did you do that, Des? He,

Desmond Brown (09:15):

Two longest years of my life. I lost everything. I lost everything back then. What

Ken McLachlan (09:23):

Surprised you of that? What did you learn from it?

Desmond Brown (09:26):

Well, I wasn't the hot guy that I thought I was, but I always had ambition, which was great. I guess I'm a lot more conservative now than I ever was because of that experience that I had where I had my first wife back then, I lost her. I lost the house that we had. I lost the business. And I don't know if you remember, but I came back to RE/MAX Hallmark and I was broke, completely broke. And you and Kent, I don't want to tell all the other agents this, but you and Kent. So you and Kent. Sorry, Kenny. Yeah. You and Kent floated me. Yeah, of course. But you saw that I was desperate. And I like to think back to the, I tell my kids this too, that I had a tomato and a can of tuna. That's all I had in this place. And I couldn't pay my rent. And you, Kent sat me down and you said, look it, you cannot sell real estate from a place of desperation. People will see that desperation and they'll see that you're working for you and not for them. Always remembered that.

Ken McLachlan (10:36):

Yeah, I remember that too.

Desmond Brown (10:38):

So you floated me. You guys started giving me like 500 bucks a week and I didn't have anything closing, but you guys gave me 500 bucks a week. They said, we know you're good. You guys said to me, we know you're good for it. You'll pay us back someday.

Ken McLachlan (10:54):

Well, we, yeah, we did. And we knew you. Your knew your character of who you were and who you are. And it mattered that you and you stepped up, Desi, You did it. And it was tough though. I mean, there were times, not to interrupt your story, but there were times that I remember sitting with you on your house in Prust Avenue in the afternoons at times just thinking what to do? And

Desmond Brown (11:21):

Yeah, what am I doing the nineties? Where am I going, huh? Yeah.

Ken McLachlan (11:23):

It was in nineties

Desmond Brown (11:23):

Rock bottom.

Ken McLachlan (11:24):

Yeah. And then you and I took a course together, which Oh yeah.

Desmond Brown (11:32):

That changed my life.

Ken McLachlan (11:33):

Yeah, it changed my life. The pursuit

Desmond Brown (11:35):

Of excellence.

Ken McLachlan (11:35):

And you trusted it enough. I think that was the first one to go to the opening of it or whatever it was. And you trusted my experience and my conversation about it enough to come with me to the wall, and not to go into a lot of detail about it, but it was a transformational course that we both took. That changed us at the time. And

Desmond Brown (11:56):

It really did. And then the thing that still stays with me today from the Pursuit of Excellence and the Wall is that it taught me accountability. It taught me not to be a victim in life. And I have a lot of reasons to be a victim in life. I think we all do. But just started looking at how can I make myself better? I'm in a situation now. What am I going to do to change it? Yeah, I know. And the things that I learned through the pursuit of excellence in the wall still stick with me today. I mean, they're a big part of my life. I try to live my life in that way. And there's times where I slide,

Ken McLachlan (12:34):

Yeah, I know it's all, but I think it's a lot of it. Correct me, I don't know if you agree with this or not, but I think a lot of it was were just lucky timing that came around in our life at the time that we were open to listen to it. We were open to have that transformation that was going on, and it was all,

Desmond Brown (12:50):

And also, people like me and others who did the wall and the pursuit of excellence because of you, we always trusted you. You've always been a great leader. And you just said, look, come, come and check this out. And we did. And you've always been there for me like that. And you've bailed me out in a lot of different ways. And we can get into that

Ken McLachlan (13:12):


Desmond Brown (13:13):

Too. But

Ken McLachlan (13:15):

What I've observed of how you have been in your life, and we talked prior to putting, rolling in the audio on this is that balance in life. We talked about a seminar, which is so, and how important balance is and how difficult it is to get. And you actually, Desmond, you were one of the first guys I met that actually demonstrated balance, really. You made a commitment. Yeah, you did. You made a commitment that your family was more important than anything else in your life. Yeah. And you demonstrated that, and you always have, but you put them in front of work. Now, many of us, and we all know the guilt, I'm guilty as well, and others are guilty that work. We would be at an event and we take work over family because all that, to get that deal, to pay their rent, all that stuff like that. But you actually put Family first. And I watched you do this in particular when you left Hallmark for a period. And that was really about, and you worked with your leadership group for a time. It was bad timing on that whole thing, but it all had to do with your balance and your life and your demonstration of that balance. And tell me a bit about that.

Desmond Brown (14:37):

Okay. That was a little bit of a difficult time in my life when I did come back to Hallmark. So yeah, I was in the media, and I mean, you've supported with every step that I've made. When I decided that I was leaving real estate to pursue a real estate career, you actually introduced me to a guy named Phil Fraser, who was the first journalism journalist. Oh, sorry. To get journalism career. Yes. Yes. I'll get it all straight here.

Ken McLachlan (15:02):

I love Felix. Eh? Was

Desmond Brown (15:04):

It Yeah. Felix was his name. Actually. I named well, Alice and I named one of our sons, Felix, and that was one of the main reasons. But he was known as Phil Fraser. He was the first black broadcaster in Canada order of Canada recipient former head of the Human Rights Commission for Alberta. He ended up being like a father figure to me. And you introduced me to him. He was, he's a

Ken McLachlan (15:24):

Sweetheart. Yeah. I met him as a client. I was rude to him, and I immediately introduced him to you because journalism. Yeah.

Desmond Brown (15:32):

And you knew I wanted to do that. So I spoke to him. I said, I want to become a journalist. And he says, well do it the right way. Go to, you have to go to journalism school. And I'm 38 years old. I started working for community newspapers to build a portfolio. I did. I applied to journalism school finally, after all those years. And I was accepted at Ryerson, and I had a pretty good career in journalism. I worked the Toronto Star, the National Post Ottawa citizen for a summer.

Ken McLachlan (15:58):

Where did you first work when you got your degree? The

Desmond Brown (16:01):

National, where did you Well, I never got my degree. I left after two years because I got a job. And then I ended up at the TV after getting laid off from the National Post. But basically my first internship, well, I was at the Toronto start. That was a part-time job while I was in school. And then I got the job at the Ottawa citizen for the summer, moved to Alice and Otis to Ottawa for the summer. Otis was just six.

Ken McLachlan (16:22):

Yeah, you were married. You were married at the

Desmond Brown (16:25):

Yeah, we were. And that's mean, that's one of the biggest you introduced me to Alice, and that's I, I'll be forever thankful for that. Right. But anyway, we're talking about that. Of course. We move on to that. Yeah. So I go into journalism and I was there for and I kept coming back to that, a hard time at Hallmark, and I figured it was time to leave. I just wasn't going anywhere. After seven years at ctv, I was afraid, and I said this all the time to people, I was afraid I was going to be staying in front of yellow police tape the day by be the day before I resigned doing some murder. And I just had to get out. So I was hired at TD Bank to write for the CEO of TD Bank. But for some reason, the vice president that I reported to never let me meet the person I was supposed to write for. So it was a disaster. And I didn't make it through my probationary period.

Ken McLachlan (17:16):

Yeah. That was a

Desmond Brown (17:16):

Tough, yeah, you remember those. I didn't make it through my probationary period. So they fired me. And the next thing I know, I'm speaking to you and you gave me the soft landing. Yeah. You and Debra gave me the south landing. Be forever grateful for that. I ended up coming back. I did not have my license anymore. I had my broker's license before I left real estate. I never thought I'd be coming back. But then it was like, oh, didn't seem like a bad idea. I started managing the office free. Right, got

Ken McLachlan (17:46):

You. Got your course, your class back. Yes. Or your license. Yeah.

Desmond Brown (17:49):

Yeah. And while I was getting my license back, and then I started moving into sales after, and that's when I teamed up with a couple of people there, and we talked about the life work balance, where my kids would come first. So how

Ken McLachlan (18:05):

Old were the kids then? He,

Desmond Brown (18:07):

Well, we're looking at 19. Oh gosh, we're looking at around 2008. My oldest son was born in 1998, so he would've been about 10, 11 years old. Yeah, 11 years old. Oldest would've been 11.

Ken McLachlan (18:23):

I remember that. You were always every day impacting with them. I'm being involved with their school, their sports. You were there.

Desmond Brown (18:33):

Yeah. I didn't want to miss them up. I was 40 years. I was 40 years old when Otis was born. Gosh, what's important at that age, right? So then Otis. Otis was about 10 or 11. And then Cyrus is four years younger, and then Felix two and a half, three years younger. So anyway, I was with a couple of guys. We were on a team, and the team didn't work just because they perceived that I wasn't putting enough into the team because I had more of my focus on family. And then to be really straight here, I left Hallmark because something happened. And I felt that I wasn't getting the support from you and Deb, which was really, I mean, it was heartbreaking actually, because you and I have been so close for so many years, and we had a falling up because it's just as simple as that. And we didn't talk for a while. And then, I'm sorry, I'm getting a little emotional here about this, but you approached me again a few years later and said, let's just let all this shit stiff behind. Right? Let's just like life's too short, basically. You said,

Ken McLachlan (19:43):

No, let's, let's be truthful about this. You were the guy that did that more than me. I mean, we both did it, but you were all over it because

Desmond Brown (19:53):

You were the one. Well, yeah, I guess I do remember that now because believe it or not, you know, were a very close friend. And

Ken McLachlan (20:00):

Listen, I was there when Otis, I was there when Otis was born.

Desmond Brown (20:02):

Remember, you were there when O was born. I mean, I met Alice through you and were always there. The bail me like a big brother to me. And anyway, it was weird. I was telling Alison, I said, you know what? I keep dreaming about this guy. I'm not in love with him, but I, I've got to somehow approach him and at least get some closure on all of this. And I think we did have, and

Ken McLachlan (20:26):

We met at Il Fornilo on the Danforth,

Desmond Brown (20:31):

And then didn't go that well. I mean, it went okay, but then we didn't really,

Ken McLachlan (20:34):

This is getting a little sappy.

Desmond Brown (20:37):

Not real. Well, yeah, it all sappy. We're guys who are sappy. I'm old enough now to say him. I can be sappy

Ken McLachlan (20:43):

And I love you. I can old enough and tell you that I love you. Yeah.

Desmond Brown (20:47):

Anyway, so that's where all the balance came. And I decided that that's the way I was going to do it when I built my real estate career. So I went to LaPage and Jen, Jen and Keith Burton took me there and great. They were very supportive of me and really supported me. And then I just said, if I'm going to do this business, I'm doing it my way. And that's where I have my balance.

Ken McLachlan (21:09):

And you built it that way. You really control it. You run it that way. And it's incredible. I'm so proud of you. I want you to share though, Desi, not though, but I'd like you to share as much as you want about how you deal with major things in your life, over your life. Because you hinted at it earlier that you've been through a lot and all this. And I know you've been through a lot. And you know what? There's rising up to it and it's not been easy. And there's things, but what is the foundation of your life? I know you get your, and Alice and your family is that's, that is the whole thing. But mm-hmm. This whole journey you've been on, you've had to plow through it.

Desmond Brown (21:56):

Wow. Well, the journey really started when I lost my mother when I was five years old. And I don't want to get into the details of all of this, but that's the reason why I contribute to the Red Door shelter is because of my mother's death. And I'll just leave it at that. Yeah. That's my number one charity. And my older brother, he was 13 years old when my mother passed away. He took it hard. He never got over it. It led him to a life of drug abuse and alcoholism. And he died at the age of 40. My younger brother, Kevin and I, we were basically, it was the two of us against the world. It really was. Well, we were raised by these, my grandmother's sisters, auntie, two old Jamaican ladies. I know. So we had to fend for ourselves. My older brother, Merv in his teens. Well,

Ken McLachlan (23:00):

You're an east end guy, right? Yeah, I was an East end guy,

Desmond Brown (23:03):

Coxwell Gerrard area. My older brother, Merv like I said, he struggled, but he had quite the life while he was struggling. So he ended up joining the Navy at age 18, traveled the world on an aircraft carrier. Yeah. Ended up out in British Columbia. He was a hippie.

Ken McLachlan (23:23):

He ended up in the coast on the island. British Columbia

Desmond Brown (23:25):

I beg your Pardon?

Ken McLachlan (23:26):

He was on the island, wasn't he? With Peter Brooks?

Desmond Brown (23:28):

Yeah. Yeah. He's on the island.

Ken McLachlan (23:29):

Or Steven Brooks.

Desmond Brown (23:30):

Yeah. Vancouver Island. Yeah. So never really, we weren't very close but then when we did connect it before it was all over for him, before he passed away, we were very close. So it was just that age difference, seven years difference. So basically it was Kevin and I. So how do I approach the world? Yeah. Well, I guess Kevin and I always wanted more. We always wanted more than what we had. And we pretty well hope drove us, hope drove us to have something better than what we had. And we always had faith in ourselves and faith in each other that we could be something.

Ken McLachlan (24:13):

Did your auntie raise you that way?

Desmond Brown (24:17):

Well, the thing with an old Jamaican auntie raising you is that she thinks, well, she thought, okay, you go to school every day and you're getting an education. She doesn't know that I'm going to school every day and I'm screwing up that I'm going into the bathroom. And yeah, I'm not going to tell you what happened. Yeah.

Ken McLachlan (24:37):

But still,

Desmond Brown (24:38):

That's not a crude thing. But you know what I mean, getting involved with pause. Yeah. Those

Ken McLachlan (24:41):

Are days.

Desmond Brown (24:43):

And approaching the days like that and just screwing up. So she figured that if I go to school, I get the same equal education that everybody gets. She didn't know that. You know, have to be an advocate for your child with the teachers, with the education system, and to know if I'm slipping through the cracks. So she had not a clue. But

Ken McLachlan (24:59):

Des, I'm going to go back for a minute. Cause you, if there ever was anybody that had the circumstances in their life to say, this is too tough. I'm just going to exist through it, that was your life. There was a lot of stuff going on. Oh yeah. But you and no, listen, please. You and Kevin, and I don't know Kevin that well. I know him, but I don't know him that well. You actually, you dug down. There was something inside you that caused you to say, this wasn't acceptable. I'm going to make a difference for my life, my family, my future, and do things. You took chances and that was in you. And there was something that sparked that. Yeah.

Desmond Brown (25:38):

I guess it's almost like maybe the pursuit of excellence reminded me of it that not to be a victim, because that was the attitude that we had was be, yeah, that was the attitude that Kevin and I had growing up. It was like, I, and don't mean to be harsh about this, but I don't have a lot of tolerance for some of the excuses I hear from people these days where he didn't have a chance when he had started because of this. So he turned his life to crime. This, I just don't have the time for that stuff. Yeah. Doesn't

Ken McLachlan (26:16):

Make sense.

Desmond Brown (26:16):

Because we have choices. We have choices. And Kevin and I made the choice that we weren't going to be idiots, basically. We are going to make the most out of our lives. You did, but you don't do it alone. You don't do it alone. No. I've had some, so many great people in my life that have helped me along the way and saw things in me that I didn't see. And saw things in Kevin that people saw things in Kevin. They didn't see that. He didn't see, sorry. So we do need a lot of help. And that's what Phil Fraser always said. I mean, Phil Fraser was amazing. And he just said Des, I've had a lot of help along the way. And the guy was a phenomenal man. Never,

Ken McLachlan (27:00):

What was his wife's name? I forget. She was spectacular. I can't

Desmond Brown (27:05):

Remember. Gladys.

Ken McLachlan (27:06):

Yeah. Just brilliant. And I remember being in his presence and how inspired I was just being there and talking to him and the mentorship he offered even to me. Cause I wasn't even in the journalism business, but he was just a sweet man. I'm so glad you connected with him.

Desmond Brown (27:25):

Yeah, no, I'm glad you did. Yeah. But this whole thing about life, we really can't do it on our own.

Ken McLachlan (27:30):


Desmond Brown (27:31):

We can't. We really do need that support out there. And we have to be open to it. Our eyes have to be open to the help that's out there. Unfortunately, my brother, Merv, yeah, we tried. We tried. And he just wasn't open to the help. And it was just so much pain after losing my mom that he never got over it his whole life. He never got over

Ken McLachlan (27:53):

It. What drives you now?

Desmond Brown (27:56):

Well, still the balance drives me sometimes getting, it's a challenge. It always is. But you have a great

Ken McLachlan (28:02):

Career. You have a beautiful family you have variety in your life. What is it that, what's the next 10 years look like for you? What is it that you want to create?

Desmond Brown (28:12):

I want to continue to be, and I hope I am right now, a good husband. All right. I want to continue to do that. I want to continue to be a good father. I want to be there to help the boys make big decisions in life. And also along the way, I want to be the way I'd like to see them be. Right. I do my best not to be hypocritic. Well, I do my best not to be hypocritical in life. I try to lead by example. And I have some, right now, I'm spending a lot of time with my youngest son, Felix, because he's into basketball and I've got to drive him all over. So we have a lot of chats and it's just being consistent, just being consistent and letting you know my loved ones and the people around me know that they're not a Jekyll and Hyde situation.


They know who they're getting when they turn to me, when I wake up in the morning and they come down and say, good morning to me. Or if you bump into somebody in the street, they know who you are. And they know they're going to get that consistent person. Yeah, yeah. That's busy. There's nothing worse than that one. I'm like, who the hell is, who are they today? <laugh> afraid. And we've bumped into a lot of people like that and lives. But yeah, I just want to for me to keep going like this, I guess, like I said, this is an important time in my son's lives. And we talk about being there for them when they're younger but as you know, father of four boys as well the crucial years are those teen years where they can go in any direction. So I'm fine that I tried to spend a lot more time with them in the teen years, and I'm doing my best to be a part of their lives now. But I've got too off two off at university and just want it home. And I do my best to reach out and stay in touch. It's

Ken McLachlan (30:05):

So important, isn't it? It's so important. And you demonstrate that, the balance of it. And let's talk a bit about your career. I mean you do have a tremendous career. You work hard at it. You're really connected to your client base, and you have a network out there that supports you and a reputation in an industry that is very strong with integrity based.

Desmond Brown (30:29):

Thank you. Well, I've been lucky. I've been really lucky. Haven't some really good people. I know

Ken McLachlan (30:35):

Lucky's anything to do with it. I think you work really hard. Yeah. Busy. And you continue to Well, I

Desmond Brown (30:39):

Cherish. I cherish those relationships. I really do. And when somebody refers you on to someone, oh my God, is there a greater compliment? I know people have that on their cards. There's no greater compliment than, but it's so true.

Ken McLachlan (30:52):

I know. It is,

Desmond Brown (30:52):

Isn't it? It's so true. They're entrusting you to their loved ones, to their friends. So you better fricking deliver, man. Yeah,

Ken McLachlan (31:02):

Well you do. And you work hard at it. And you're a big voice in the community out there. Red, tell us a bit about Red. Is it Red Door?

Desmond Brown (31:11):

Oh, well, the Red Door Shelter basically helps women escape from abusive relationships, abusive situations, women and their children. So yeah, that's great. That's where I focus most of my, well, and I don't spend a lot of time with the Red Door shelter, but that's where,

Ken McLachlan (31:33):

When you do spend the time,

Desmond Brown (31:35):

That's where my charitable do. That's where my charitable donations go. And we did it with the Leslieville Flea as well, where we collected donations. Ebony Jennifer and I collected donations for the Red Door shelter this last Christmas. And we did that the last couple of years at the Leslieville Flea. So we try to support them. Anyway. We can get the word out there that it's really, really important. It is really,

Ken McLachlan (31:59):

Really important. You're also involved a lot. I think you sit on the board of the community newspaper, don't you?

Desmond Brown (32:05):

Yeah, I do. I do. I'm on the Beach Metro Community News and on the board there, the past president, I was president and the treasurer before that. The journalism thing in me, and that's why I have my podcast too. It's a newspaper that's really dear to my heart as well. I remember it as a kid. It was called The Ward Nine News. And it's been around this way back in the seventies, it was started to stop the Scarborough Expressway. Is that right? From going through our neighbourhoods here, that extension of the Gardener Expressway was to cut right through the beaches all the way up to Scarborough. So there was this grassroots movement to stop it, which they did. And a lot of it was based around this paper, the word nine news. And anyway, it's grown into a really valuable part of the community over the years. And I sat on the board, I've been sitting on the board now for probably about six years. I've done that, sat on the Ted. I like to volunteer. And that's something Alice and I really believe in is giving back to the community in any way we can. And I sat on the Herb Carnegie Future AIST board as well, and Herb Carnegie should have been the first black hockey player to make it to the NHL. Yeah, should have been. But was held back because of his color. And I don't know, there's a couple of other things. I don't quite remember 'em all, but I stay busy with a lot of different things

Ken McLachlan (33:27):

Alice. So I knew Alice before you did. So I'm just saying. Okay. And you both are a beacon for each other in your lives and your family. And it's really nice to see. And really, I, I'm going to tell you, it's that poster child thing of the balance in life and really putting things first that are important, that's mattered to you. And I'm really proud of you for doing that.

Desmond Brown (33:56):

Oh, thank you. Yeah, she's my rock. She really is. And it's going to be this summer it's going to be 28

Ken McLachlan (34:04):

Years. And you had your reception in my house.

Desmond Brown (34:07):

That's right. That's right.

Ken McLachlan (34:09):


Desmond Brown (34:10):

Wasn't it? Yeah. Well, like I said, I met Alice through you and I'll be forever grateful for that. Seriously. And

Ken McLachlan (34:20):

Desi, we're going to wrap up soon and I'm be happier about that introduction. It's both sensational. What would you tell your peers, your real estate agents, the people of there that are just starting out in this business, what conversation would you have with him?

Desmond Brown (34:43):

This business is really hard for people starting out. It really is. And you need a lot of support. And I'm not just talking about emotional support, but you need financial support. And when I came back and started over again after leaving journalism, I could not have made it to where I am today without the financial support and the emotional support that I had from home. And Alice had a steady job, and there were months where we're not getting paid. And it took me a long time to ramp up again. So going back to way back in the nineties, that conversation that you and Kent had with me about, you can't come from a place of desperation. You, so that support that I had the second time around with Alice was, I mean, if it were not for her, I would not have the success in real estate today. Yeah, you're right. Okay. So that's one. What do you say? Probably join a team. Join a team. We have the teams now. Join a team and learn whatever you can. And don't get yourself deep into debt when you're starting out. I mean, we used to do, I mean, had one of the first car phones. You had one of the first car phones, right? Things like that. We get the car and kids, the philosophy was, the philosophy was, oh, just sell another house. You'll cover it. Cover. So what was one deal? But

Ken McLachlan (36:03):

Anyway, one deal.

Desmond Brown (36:04):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Exactly. Yeah. So I would say be patient and build a career. Build a career, do the little things every day. And this is what you taught me to, what do you do every day to move your business forward? Yeah. And I mean, this company, hallmark has all of the support networks and resources in place for people to be successful. It's just a matter of what are your goals? And it goes back to, I know we we're flaky people, real estate agents are flaky people. We do all these seminars and all this stuff, but they keep us going. They keep us going. And they help us to teach us to believe in ourselves. So you have to believe in yourself, whatever you're going to do, set goals.

Ken McLachlan (36:47):

True. And trust it. Trust that it's going to be okay if you do the work it's

Desmond Brown (36:51):

All, and trust it and Yeah, exactly. And just be good to your clients.

Ken McLachlan (36:57):

Treat them the way you

Desmond Brown (36:57):

Want. Just be good to them. And it's amazing what'll come back.

Ken McLachlan (37:02):

Not that complicated. Hey, does he? It really isn't.

Desmond Brown (37:04):

It's not about us. It's not about us. You're thinking about us. Then we have a problem.

Ken McLachlan (37:09):

And I know you're looking for team members, whoever, fortunate people to work for you. That'd be all. If you guys want to work for a great guy, work with a great guy who will mentor you, and you're new in this business and you want to get going, skip Desi a call. Oh, thank you. Or reach out to him. Yeah, because you, it'll be fantastic to have somebody work for you, another guy or a woman to work for you and to be you mentor them. And it's incredible opportunity for people to do that. So reach out to you, Desi, how did they get hold of you?

Desmond Brown (37:40): That's it. That's my email.

Ken McLachlan (37:43):


Desmond Brown (37:43):

As that. And check out my website And don't miss my podcast.

Ken McLachlan (37:50):

<laugh> your podcast. And who was the last guy on your podcast, by the way?

Desmond Brown (37:54):

Who's that guy? Guys? Who was

Ken McLachlan (37:55):

That guy? There was no

Desmond Brown (37:55):

Hair. Oh, it was you. Who

Ken McLachlan (37:58):

Was you? Yeah, much. It was

Desmond Brown (38:00):

Fun. Yeah, it was a great

Ken McLachlan (38:00):

One. Yeah. I guess you can, people that are listening, you can get us a mutual love in here. I mean, Desmond's been a brother to me all my 40, 35 years in this business. And we've had our ups and downs, but he's a big part of my life and I'm proud of him. And I'm proud to call you my friend.

Desmond Brown (38:16):

Me Too Kenny. And

Ken McLachlan (38:17):

This has been fun, Desi. It's fun.

Desmond Brown (38:18):

A lot fun. Thanks for having me on your podcast. It's really interesting being on the other end of this.

Ken McLachlan (38:23):

Yeah. The reason I have a podcast is because of you as well, so there you go. Ah, isn't it funny how it all works,

Desmond Brown (38:28):

<laugh>? It all works out. Yeah. Well, you trust me too, and I trust you, so thank you. Yeah.

Ken McLachlan (38:32):

Here we go. So thanks everybody for listening. Desi. It's been a blast, buddy. Yeah. Another here's to another 40 years. Okay,

Desmond Brown (38:38):

For sure. Definitely. Okay to

Ken McLachlan (38:40):

That. I'll see you in the flip side,

Desmond Brown (38:41):

Okay. Okay. Take care, Kenny.


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