Tri-Valley real estate professionals joined their peers from across the East Bay virtually last month to honor the local industry's top accomplishments during a uniquely challenging 2020.
The Bay East Association of Realtors' annual award ceremony recognized members who "demonstrated ethical standards and professionalism, active community involvement, and a high level of service to the real estate profession," officials said.
The awards included Realtor of the Year, Affiliate of the Year, the Outstanding Leader Award, the Good Neighbor Award and for the first time, three people each receiving the John A. Deadrich Distinguished Service Award in the same year.
The ceremony, which also included the installation of Bay East's 2021 leadership team, was held via video-conferencing on Jan. 28 in lieu of the usual in-person gala due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social restrictions.
With headquarters on Koll Center Parkway in Pleasanton and a satellite office in Alameda, Bay East is a trade association serving more than 5,800 residential and commercial real estate professionals in the region. Bay East offers access to the multiple listing service, professional development training, advocacy to protect private property rights and promote home ownership, and a variety of networking opportunities and events, according to its mission statement.
Here are the 2020 award recipients, along with descriptions provided by the association:
Realtor of the Year
June Burckhardt, with Legacy Real Estate and Associates in Fremont, took home the Realtor of the Year award for demonstrating the highest level of integrity and commitment to Bay East and the real estate profession.
An association member since 2004, Burckhardt has served on the Bay East Board of Directors as well as its Homeownership Opportunities, Strategic Planning, Executive and Tri-Cities Marketing committees. She is also an active volunteer in her hometown of Fremont, where she is a delivery driver for Meals on Wheels, a Harvest Food Bank coordinator and works with the annual Adopt an Angel project.
Affiliate of the Year
Leah Nishi, of Farmers Insurance in Alameda, received the award that honors affiliate members, who contribute time, money and resources to support the real estate profession.
As an active member of the Alameda Inforum Marketing Meeting (AIMM) and the Bay East Community Relations Committee, Nishi was instrumental in ensuring AIMM meetings continued during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also cited as an effective advocate for local businesses, Nishi helped promote a new homelessness service center in Alameda and secured a $1,500 grant for the Alameda Education Foundation to purchase school supplies.
Outstanding Leader Award
Jennifer Branchini, with Compass Real Estate in Pleasanton, earned the Outstanding Leader Award, which goes to a Bay East past-president who continues to pursue the vision of excellence in the name of the association.
Since joining Bay East in 1998, Branchini has held a variety of leadership positions at the local, state and national levels. She was instrumental in establishing the Bay East Young Professional Network (YPN) and led the California Association of Realtors' YPN forum.
The current treasurer for CAR and Bay East's president in 2014, Branchini was previously honored with Realtor of the Year in 2010 and with the Outstanding Leader Award in 2017.
Good Neighbor Award
Louise Lovewell, with RE/Max Accord in Castro Valley, received the Good Neighbor Award, which recognizes a Bay East member making a positive contribution to their communities.
An association member for more than 40 years, Lovewell in 1986 helped found Building Futures for Women and Children, a shelter program for homeless women and children. She also volunteers with Western Service Workers Association, Washington Elementary School, Dig Deep Farms and St. Leander Church.
Bay East contributed $500 to Building Futures for Women and Children and $500 Dig Deep Farms in her honor.
John A. Deadrich Distinguished Service Award
2020 marked the first time that three Bay East members shared the John A. Deadrich Distinguished Service Award for exemplifying self-sacrifice, vision and accomplishments in the local real estate industry during the year.
The award went to Bay East past-president Nancie Allen, president-elect Sheila Cunha and treasurer Steve Medeiros.
In May 2020, in order to help Bay East navigate the challenges facing the real estate profession during the COVID-19 pandemic, Allen, Cunha and Medeiros all agreed to serve a second year in their respective roles, doubling the amount of time and effort they would be contributing as Bay East leaders.
Their commitment to leadership during an uncertain year for the real estate profession helped ensure Bay East was able to provide crucial services and products to its members as well as serve as a powerful and effective advocate for homeownership, according to Bay East officials.