BHGRE Reliance Shares Agents’ Winning Photos From Office’s “Art of Living Better” Contest

BHGRE Reliance Shares Agents’ Winning Photos From Office’s “Art of Living Better” Contest

Winning Photos Share the Joy in the ‘Art of Living Better’


BHGRE Reliance

Local East Bay Brokerage BHGRE Reliance Partners Discovers Creativity Brings Closeness

What started as a simple employee photo contest at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Reliance Partners in its East Bay region quickly became a celebrated event. Its real estate agents and staff submitted more than 100 pictures capturing “heartwarming moments in time” as part of its “Art of Living Better” contest. While the winning images were spectacular, the contest became a case where life reflected the art: it brought its team members even closer together.


The Winning Images:

  1. First Place: Lois Harris, Realtor, Oakland office – Photo: Couple jumping in the water
  2. Second Place: Mark Hardwicke, Realtor, Berkeley office – Photo: Dog eyeing breakfast
  3. Third Place: Maria Elola, Realtor, Fremont office – Photo: Two children laughing

“The real estate business – and being an agent – is more than just about selling homes,” said Matt Cord, president and owner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Reliance Partners. “Agents are people and having a balanced life means there is more than just real estate 24/7. Agents have families, kids, dogs, cats — and life is a joy. This photo contest captures living better in a profound way,” he said.

The architect of the photo contest Shelley Altura, chief strategy officer at BHGRE Reliance Partners, was anticipating “a handful of entries” when she announced the contest in the fall. She was soon deluged with entries. “We called the contest the ‘Art of Living Better’ because we wanted to celebrate what our people do outside the office. What they shared with us are dozens and dozens of genuinely heartwarming moments in time,” she said.

Altura said she watched the contest do something unexpected. “As agents and staff shared their photos, they shared their stories behind the images. When you share your life’s most precious moments with your colleagues – and many of these photos capture these memories – it brings everyone closer. That was pretty magical,” she said.


Honorable Mentions Included:

  • Arian Diaz, Realtor, Berkeley office – Photo: Father and daughter near the ocean
  • Brenda Walker, Realtor, Berkeley office – Photo: Wedding in Mumbai
  • Miranda Fong, Office Administrator, Fremont office – Photo: Fabric as art
  • Kristin Lanham, Realtor, Walnut Creek office – Photo: Dog and Kristin in the backseat of a car
  • Rose Brudigam, Realtor, and Suzie Tinsley, Realtor, Walnut Creek office – Photo: Rain Hats in Vietnam – both agents are in the photo
  • Victoria Curtis, Realtor, Berkeley office – Photo: Skydiving

Winning entries were judged by a team that included fellow Realtor Michele Landes of the Danville office, who also is a professional photographer, and Altura. Images were judged based on a criterion that included impact, theme and artistic quality. The brokerage provided the winners with hundreds of dollars in gift card prizes.

About Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate | Reliance Partners
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Reliance Partners is a consumer-first real estate brokerage where the customer experience is everything. Its team of 450 agents in nine offices throughout California’s Sacramento and East Bay regions help people find the right place to call home. Established in 2016, including the acquisition of Mason-McDuffie offices, industry veterans and business partners Daryl Rogers and Matt Cord lead BHGRE Reliance Partners. Its agents are relationship-based professionals who are among the most respected in their communities. Find them in Auburn, Berkeley, Danville, Fair Oaks, Fremont, Oakland, Roseville, Sacramento and Walnut Creek. See

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After earning her bachelor’s degree in journalism at the University of Central Florida, Tracey set out in the real world at Florida Realtors in 1994 as a communication assistant, working her way up to editor in chief of Florida Realtor magazine. In 2004, she left the association to start her freelance writing and editing business. One of her first clients was REAL Trends, and she started working for the organization in 2005. In 2014, Tracey was promoted to editor in chief of publications for REAL Trends. She handles the writing and editing of all REAL Trends publications and marketing materials, including LORE Magazine, the REAL Trends newsletter and the blog. She is also the primary podcast interviewer where she conducts interviews with top real estate industry leaders and affiliated industry leaders. Tracey is married with two children.

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