YEDaily: Shae Invidiata

Shae Invidiata is a real estate sales representative that helps make The Invidiata Team the #1 RE/MAX Team in Canada for 11 years, and the #2 team worldwide in 2012. Not only is Shae successful in the business world, she is also an individual who is taking tremendous steps necessary to eliminate human trafficking through her non-profit organization “[free-them]” in today’s YEDaily…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
My focus is two-fold. As a Sales Representative, I have contributed to, The Invidiata Team RE/MAX Aboutowne Realty, being named #1 RE/MAX Team in Canada for 11 years, #1 RE/MAX Team Worldwide in 2007 and #2 RE/MAX Team Worldwide 2010. At The Invidiata Team we treat each client as if they are our only client. The Invidiata philosophy is about creating clients for life. We go above and beyond to make sure that our clients receive service that exceeds their expectations, creating an impressionable experience.

My other focus is on [free-them]. It is an anti-human trafficking organization that works towards bringing an end to human trafficking – people being bought and sold for the purpose of exploitation. [free-them] is a voice for freedom, raising awareness and funds to help fight slavery today in Canada and around the world.

Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
I first discovered human trafficking when I was a student in Honolulu. Outside my front door I witnessed the sex trade. Daily I encountered prostitutes and instead of rejecting them, I started to speak with them. What I learned shocked me. I discovered that the vast majority of these “prostitutes” were not there out of their own freewill, they had been forced into this life by human traffickers/pimps. I wasn’t content with doing nothing about this great injustice. When I got back to Canada, I founded [free-them] – an organization that strives to eliminate human trafficking in Canada and internationally.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
At The Invidiata Team, I feel honoured to be part of the most important and for many, the biggest investment of their lives – purchasing a home. In the Sales industry, when people are your focus, magic happens. I get to be a part of my client’s journey and often clients become friends for life. The most challenging part is that it is a 24/7 job. Whether working on an offer late on Friday night or doing an open house on Saturday, I am always busy; however I always make time for my existing clients and new clients.

At [free-them] the best thing about my job is that every day I have the chance to change the world. I bring awareness to human trafficking, an issue many people are not familiar with. I regularly speak at high schools, college groups, faith communities, conferences, and business groups educating our youth and adults on the injustice of slavery. It is an honour to speak to the youth and empower them to believe that the time for change is now. Daily I receive emails from young people expressing their interest to be involved, because they have been inspired by what I had to say to them. When you tell youth they can fly now, they really will spread their wings and do just that.

By bringing awareness to human trafficking, my committee members and I are a voice for freedom. Monthly we are seeing how [free-them] is contributing in a massive way to make the freedom dent in our nation. Most recently, our 5-km annual Walk for Freedom in Toronto raised nearly $20,000 for after-care providers, which contributed to a total of over $50,000 that has been raised since our start in January 2010.

The most challenging part at [free-them] is wrapping my head around the evil that is occurring. I can’t understand how a person can force another human being into a life of horrific slavery. Some days my heart is so heavy. Many cases are similar and yet it’s like hearing the story for the first time. The pain grabs my soul. Sometimes the challenge is to keep going. Yet sometimes it is that same pain that gives me strength to move ahead.

Where do you see your business going in 5 years?
The plan for [free-them] in five years is to provide national and global influence. I will continue to work with Member of Parliament, Joy Smith and other Parliamentarians to achieve stronger protective legislation that will prosecute those engaged in trafficking of persons.

[free-them] is working right now to prepare Canada and Toronto specifically for the Pan Am Games in 2015. Currently there is not an Ontario Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force. We are forming a coalition to implement and bring a task force to Ontario, which will be fully operative within two to five years. By this time, the City of Toronto will be better equipped with knowledge and training on how to identify victims and situations of trafficking and also how to fight this injustice in our city.

What does success look like to you?
Success can be defined many different ways; for myself success is the steps I have taken in the risk of failure. Failure isn’t in the falling, it is what you do when you have fallen that defines failure. Seven times I fall, and seven times I get back up – learn from my mistakes and apply them to new challenges while working towards accomplishing the vision I have created.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
The most memorable milestone in my career so far, has been four-fold.

[free-them] played a role in seeing the criminal code amended in June 2010. Member of Parliament Joy Smith’s Private Members Bill C-268 is a Bill that sets out a mandatory minimum sentence of five years for traffickers caught trafficking minors (18-years-old and under) in Canada. Myself and [free-them] worked in support of Mrs. Smith’s Bill and we are proud to say that we helped to amend the Criminal Code in Canada to see Bill C-268 receive Royal Assent in June 2010.

I was honourably recognized by Member of Parliament, Terence Young, who gave his S031 Members Statement before the House of Commons about [free-them] and the work I have been doing to eliminate human trafficking.

I was recognized in Chatelaine Magazine as Canada’s Women of the Year 2011. I was excited about this not because of the title I received, but because of the platform that would be given to the cause. I have received emails from all over Canada from people wanting to help in the fight against human trafficking.

And lastly a milestone that I will never forget is when [free-them] and I became one of the founding coalition members of the first Ontario Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Never think that you are too young to change the world or achieve your business goals. The time is now. The concept is simple – what is your thought? What is your idea or dream? Be committed to that thought. A dream without a plan will remain just a wish. Create your plan and start taking your action steps.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I support World Vision, Compassion, Mocha Club, Dress for a Cause – Breast Cancer, Kerr Street Ministries, The Meeting House, Stop the Traffik and Free the Children.

[free-them] is also partnered with and/or helps fund: Walk With Me, Somaly Mam Foundation, International Justice Mission and Call+Response.

Helping these charities is important to me because I think to myself: If I was the person living with a disease, or a victim caught in human trafficking, or a person living in Haiti, and so on – I would hope that there would be people out there who would be a voice on my behalf. I believe that we are blessed to be a blessing and that giving back is part of what it means to be human. We are all in this life journey together.

What is Notable to you?
Notable to me means making a mark in society for the better. Don’t leave this world without a trace.

How do you keep active, energetic, and vibrant?
My family and friends are a huge part of my life, their continued support and encouragement keeps me going. Laughter is beauty medicine for the soul. I surround myself with people who bring joy into my life. I believe that health is important and love being outdoors. I am a runner, and love running half-marathons and different races throughout the year. I also love snowboarding and surfing.

Travel is also a major component that feeds energy and rejuvenation into my soul; I love nothing more than to travel the world learning new cultures, customs and meeting the people of those areas. I am also a photographer, so I use my camera/photography as a way to communicate what I learn abroad with others.

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
Blackberry. Although, I am a Mac user and lover, 2012 will be the year of the iPhone for me. I am holding out for the iPhone 5. Going two phones!