The Language of Success: Oglah Gatamah and the Powerful Impact of KW Español

The agents at Keller Williams Legacy Realty in Osceola County know a lot about entrepreneurship. Market center operating principal (OP) Oglah Gatamah says many of her agents inherited an enterprising spirit from parents who immigrated to the U.S. to work in Orlando’s hospitality industry, overcoming linguistic and cultural challenges in the process. Entrepreneurship, she says, has been their model for as long as they can remember.

In a market center more than 160 agents strong, nearly all of Oglah’s team members are first- or second-generation immigrants. Together, they represent over 30 countries, and Oglah estimates that 92% of her team are Hispanic Latinos. At Legacy, Spanish is the dominant language, which puts Oglah and her agents at the forefront of KW Español.

The launch of KW Español marks Keller Williams’ commitment to helping Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs build real estate empires that go beyond borders and language barriers. Many of KW’s award-winning programs and publications are now available in Spanish, as well as select KWU courses, KW MAPS trainings, and KW Prep. KW CHISPA, the Coalition of Hispanics for Progressive Action, and KWEL, KW Emprendedores Latinos, are vibrant communities dedicated to supporting Hispanic agents within KW. At the center of it all, KW Command is now available en español, ensuring Spanish-speaking agents can leverage the industry’s most powerful technology platform.

Latinos are the fastest-growing demographic in the U.S., and there are currently 7.9 million mortgage-ready Latinos aged 45 and under. According to NAHREP’s 2022 State of Hispanic Homeownership Report, Latinos currently account for 24.4 percent of overall homeownership growth – a number that’s projected to reach 70 percent in the next 20 years. With Latinos forming more new households than any other demographic, Oglah says addressing the needs of Latino agents and their clients isn’t just about diversity, it’s a key business strategy for gaining market share. She’s seen the impact firsthand.

There are currently
7.9 million
mortgage-ready Latinos
aged 45 and under.

Leading by Example

Oglah knows what it takes to succeed as an immigrant entrepreneur. A Kenyan native, she grew up in the town of Eldoret, where she says the culture reinforced limitations over achievements. But Oglah’s academic and athletic performance stood out, earning her a spot at a prestigious hospitality and tourism college in Nairobi. In her final year of school, she was selected to participate in The Walt Disney Company’s international college program, which took her to Orlando. The experience marked a turning point in Oglah’s life and career.

In the U.S., “It took time to acclimate to the local culture and understand the nuances of daily life, which were often different from what I was accustomed to,” Oglah says. “Although I had a good grasp of English, communicating effectively in a professional setting and understanding regional accents or colloquialisms proved to be a learning curve.” She was also missing home and a sense of connection to her new surroundings.

Among her duties at Disney, Oglah was tasked with developing an orientation program for other international interns from Africa. This allowed her to put her firsthand experience to work, creating training materials that accounted for linguistic and cultural differences, and helping to design a program that fostered an environment of open communication and belonging.

As the program came to a close, Oglah landed a supervisor role in the housekeeping department of an established hotel brand in Orlando. Within three months, she was promoted to director of housekeeping, eventually leading a multicultural team of more than 200. Prior to her appointment, the division struggled with high rates of turnover. To address language and cultural differences, Oglah drew from her work at Disney, developing visual aids and providing hands-on training that facilitated learning and promoted teamwork among her staff. She also encouraged the sharing of customs and traditions, which she says helped build a culture of mutual respect within her diverse team.

As their skills developed, Oglah helped usher team members into positions of leadership, ensuring her staff could see a path to advancement and a reflection of themselves at a higher level within the organization. She wanted them to see that language differences didn’t define their potential. Her dedication made a powerful impact on retention and earned the housekeeping division high customer service scores year over year.

After more than a decade in hospitality, Oglah was recruited into retail leadership with Target. But more than five years in with the company, she arrived at a crossroads. Facing a promotion and the responsibility of managing a group of stores with $1B in annual sales, Oglah realized she’d lost a sense of purpose in her work. Like many of the agents she leads today, she felt called to entrepreneurship, and to find a way to give back to the family and community she’d left behind in Kenya.

A Shared Language of Success

In 2016, Oglah found her new path and purpose in real estate, but her transition into market center leadership didn’t come easy. Less than a year into her new career, she was appointed team leader at Legacy, a move that was first met with resistance from associates. The market center had recently withstood turnover, and the team didn’t think she had the qualifications for the position.

While she understood their concerns, Oglah met their challenge with her own. She explained her story as an immigrant and the obstacles she’d overcome to serve in a position of leadership. Oglah told them, “I’m not here to teach you real estate. But if you’re looking for a leader who will love on you, who will push you harder than you’ve ever been pushed, who will set the highest expectations of professionalism that will help you make a lot of money for your family and build a legacy, I am that leader.” She challenged the team to give her one year to prove herself. They never looked back.

Oglah says that year was one of the hardest of her career. To support her team, she said, “I had to first focus on mindset and the belief that they could make a lot of money and be successful.” She also realized her agents couldn’t live up to their full potential because they lacked the tools and resources in Spanish that they needed to grow their business to the next level.

“I had to first focus on mindset and the belief that they could make a lot of money and be successful.”

– Oglah Gatamah, Operating Principal, Keller Williams Legacy Realty

She got to work connecting her top agents to bilingual KW MAPS Coach Carlos Herran, who she credits with making a huge impact. In her second year as team leader, Oglah made coaching a requirement for all members of the Associate Leadership Council in the market center, and the team began to build out materials in Spanish, including their buying and listing presentations. They found other market centers that were doing the same, and started compiling and sharing resources across KW. Their efforts laid the foundation for KW Español.

Building Up and Giving Back

Oglah kept her promise to her team – and then some. She began with identifying three agents who were influential in the market center and challenged them with taking the lead on production.

Joel Pacheco was among them. He had closed 33 units that year, and Oglah told him she wanted him to double, then triple his production over the next two years. Joel met that goal, accelerating his sales from 33, to 56, to 106 units from 2017 through 2019 – and growing a team in the process. Other agents began taking notice. When an announcement went out that Joel and his team had hit over $553,000 in GCI, Oglah says the other agents were shocked into the realization they had the potential to do the same. That’s when she started to see ripple effects across her market center that continue through today. In 2023, her highest performing team closed $48M, earning $1.3M in GCI. Oglah says, “We’ve been able to break that glass ceiling and change the belief of our agents; they’re able to see what’s possible.”

In 2019, just three years after becoming an agent, Oglah had the opportunity to purchase Legacy and take the helm as operating principal. Since then, she says, the language in her market center has transitioned from a focus on transactions to one of wealth-building. In addition to supporting her agents’ professional development, she actively engages them in financial planning, including establishing college funds and bringing in Spanish-speaking advisors to consult on strategies and best practices for building wealth.

Oglah envisions her market center one day serving as a community center to the broader Hispanic population in her region, and she points out, with a team of immigrants, the impact of building wealth is global. “You’re not just changing their lives in the United States. Immigrants spend a lot of money outside the U.S. They help their families locally, but also in their countries of origin.”

Philanthropy is core to Oglah’s business practices, and she describes KW as a community of “go-givers.” She created Oglah’s Hope Foundation to support children in her hometown in Kenya, and her market center has participated in philanthropic projects across Africa, Puerto Rico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and beyond.

This same giving spirit is behind the launch of KW Español. Oglah says credit for its creation goes to her team and the community of Latino agents across KW, along with members of KWU and KWRI leadership teams guided by KW’s Head of Inclusion and Belonging, Julia Lashay Israel.

Oglah says, “When you motivate people, when you share a clear vision and they can see themselves growing within your vision, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish as a company.”


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