Claire Drage is the CEO of The Windrose Group, a mortgage company headquartered in Waterdown, Ontario, with agents working across Canada to bring clients top-tier mortgage services and education. Claire has been in the mortgage industry for 20 years. After leaving a corporate job in 2007, Claire moved to Tenerife from the UK, managing properties there before coming to Canada. Living in different places with different markets and needs has allowed her to be nimble and adaptive as an entrepreneur. But wherever she may be, helping clients is what drives her. Claire became an independent mortgage broker, working out of her bedroom during the subprime crash. Despite the economy, she managed to close some 400% above the average broker.
Over the years, the growth continued with Claire under the banner, The Windrose Group – A Mortgage Alliance Team, while adding staff and agents over time. Today, The Windrose Group employs 78 agents from Ontario to British Columbia, all of whom Claire mentors and coaches. Since going solo in 2007, Claire has provided service for 6,000 clients, and The Windrose Group is one of Canada’s Top 5 Mortgage Alliance Teams, ranking within the top 1%.
Currently, with the COVID-19 pandemic causing unprecedented financial issues for many, Claire has been focused on helping her clients maintain and improve their finances. “In order to be successful in real estate, you need time, money, expertise,” she says. “What COVID has done is given us more time, and if we have the money, and we can help them with the expertise; even a first-time homebuyer with budgeting and which price is right for them,” she explains.
To reach as many clients as possible, Claire trained an elite group of agents to focus on client education. She and her team employ a deep-dive strategy to get to know her clients, asking specific questions to find the core of each client’s unique goals—and even sometimes dispel illusions. She often says, “You need to be prepared that I’m going to tell you what you need to hear and not what you want to hear. Lip-service won’t help them. Honesty helps them, and they appreciate it,” Claire says. “I really want to help our clients understand their relationship with their money and how to make it an ongoing part of their regular maintenance.”
As she leads a thriving firm that shows no signs of slowing, she does so with infectious enthusiasm for helping her clients and her staff succeed. “No matter how successful I am, my goal is to remain humble,” she says. “It’s about that authenticity and doing to others what they do for you. That’s why I plan to help other agents do the same thing. We’re not taught this. We’re taught how to do mortgages, not how to help people discover the ‘why’ behind investment.”
And her strategies have paid off, earning her a number of awards, including being named one of Canadian Mortgage Professionals Women of Influence for 2020, namely for her work in an advocacy and empowerment series, which helps women gain control of their financial future. But the real reward is achieving success with a client. “One of the best parts of what we do is being able to tell a client that they can quit their job, as we have created enough cash flow for them to meet their goals!” she says.
CEO—The Windrose Group, a Mortgage Alliance Team