Entrepreneur of the Year 2023: Cory Wright expands mindfully at William Wright Commercial

Wright launched the commercial real estate brokerage in 2013

The Kickoff: Cory Wright appreciates good customer service—a background in the hospitality industry will do that. But according to Wright, your average commercial real estate brokerage doesn’t foster quite the same, well, hospitality. “I think in commercial real estate, and maybe real estate as a whole, the customer service aspect kind of gets left behind,” he says. “We’re often dealing with people’s largest assets they’ll ever own; we need to understand that and take care of them.” He founded his full-service commercial real estate brokerage William Wright Commercial (William is his middle name) in Vancouver in 2013, with the goal of eventually expanding to seven offices provincewide.

Action Plan: Instead of going all-in on primary markets, Wright chose to focus on secondary and tertiary areas—a gamble that paid off astronomically during the pandemic, as many folks chose to move away from big cities. “COVID amplified the livability and the population growth in those markets,” recalls Wright. Additionally, he says, his brokerage really shines when it comes to aftermarket attention. “In our industry, a lot of people close the deal, get paid and you don’t hear from them again,” he explains. Through follow-ups, client events and local charitable initiatives, Wright ensures that his company remains connected to the community long after the ink dries. Management-wise, he preaches leading by example. Being the first one in the office and the last to leave may be an old-school cliché, but that’s the way Wright rolls.

Closing Statement: Wright’s customer service-centred approach has resulted in a tremendous growth in clients (which he describes as “anyone from a large-scale developer acquiring land to a 300-square-foot mom-and-pop coffee shop”), in sales (“this year we’ll probably come close to $9 billion in total transaction volume) and in offices (the seventh William Wright Commercial Real Estate location opened in Parksville earlier this year). He’s hit the goal he set a decade ago, and has plans for further expansion. In the day-to-day, his passion for the work remains: “I love putting deals together—no two are the same, so it keeps things very exciting.”


Describe your dream employee in three words:

Probably Tiger Woods.

Odd job you’ve had?

I worked for a landscaping company for one day. I shredded up an old lady’s fake grass… I didn’t get a call the next day.