Sandra Hinchliffe has been working for RE/MAX Bulkley Valley for almost 20 years. Hundreds and hundreds of people have worked with her as a real estate agent and have found or sold their homes with her assistance.  Sandra’s qualities have much to do with her success: she is a strong advocate for her clients, she’s true and kind, and she’s no pushover – which is something I really admire about her.

Sandra is a mentor, a mother, and a friend. She has a boisterous, wonderful laugh. She shares that she’s found a healthy work-life balance which allows her the time to enjoy all that the Bulkley Valley has to offer.  Even if you don’t know Sandra, you likely know her snow table that is featured on her website, keeping all of Smithers informed about what is happening on our ski hill!

In my short career as an agent, I have found Sandra to be kind, encouraging, and always willing to help out. There have been times where I’ve seriously put my foot in my mouth and needed help, and she’s been gracious and has helped me navigate through dicey waters. As you’ll read in her interview, Sandra finds great joy and fulfillment in helping other people in our industry thrive.  We are a better community when we support each other.

Welcome to the table, Sandra!

How long have you called the Bulkley Valley home?

I was born in Smithers.  My parents were both Swiss immigrants, my dad purchased our family farm with his parents in 1937.  I am proud to say it is still in the family.   I was a serious tomboy and country farm kid and that always sticks with me.  I think the saying goes, “You can take the girl off the farm but you can’t take the farm out of the girl.”   I get to live on the farm, so that part is all good.

What is one thing you’ve learned about friendship (or community)?

I think friendship is about loyalty and respect.  Fair-weather friends are not worth it.  As for community, my roots are deep here and I have deep sense of loyalty to Smithers and people that live here.   In a small town, people know what you have been up to, that can be good and bad, but mostly I think it is good. Everyone should be accountable to their friends and community for what they do and how they act.

What is one area you are growing in?

I started working with a new Realtor, Vanita Des Mazes, it inspires me be able to mentor and share what I know.   She is full of energy and enthusiasm.   The pandemic and everything that has gone with it has been a trial for me and everyone else.   I wouldn’t say I have adjusted to that part, being anti-social is not in my nature (but believe me, I have been very anti-social).  I am lucky that I have an engaging and busy job.  I have also become very engaged in organized real estate.  I started volunteering with the BC Northern Real Estate Board (BCNREB) quite a few years ago on committees.  The Professional Standards Committee is my favourite, doing the right thing is complex and it’s engaging to take a leading role in understanding and guiding Realtor ethics.  I have been a Director of the BCNREB board for about four years and just recently I started my one-year term as President, so that will be busy and exciting.  Engaging in organized real estate at a regional, provincial and national level has really broadened my perspective.

What is one thing you would say to your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to worry less.   Don’t worry about your kids, they will be fine.  Don’t worry about business success, just work hard and be nice.  “Work hard and be Nice” is kind of my motto, I have a poster board in my greenhouse that reminds me of that.   The joy of life is family, friends, and being present enough to enjoy every day, it’s not some destination or goal we think we will get to in the future.

Who inspires you and why?

My parents inspire me.  They are both gone now, but they came to this country unable to speak English and worked hard on our small farm to provide a life and future for their family.   My mom was also a very loving and giving person, and I’ve always wanted to live up to that as a person and as a mom.  My husband Jim, my kids Bailey and Claire, and my close friends inspire me every day as well.

What do you know is true, and how do you carry that day-to-day?

Be true to yourself, and be yourself.  Nothing else really matters.  If you are true to yourself, you will be true to the people around you, and live the life you are meant to.* 

*I also want to thank Billiejean for organizing this opportunity to share.   And hopefully my answers aren’t too corny, I was surprised how hard it was to go through the questions!  I think most of us, including me, don’t spend enough time thinking about what is really important.