Our Story

The Foothills

Our Story

The history of my success, as one of Canada’s Top Realtors®, is linked to a visionary spirit that started in 1993, with a lofty objective; to change the way real estate is bought and sold. It is this 25 years of an innovative spirit that continually inspires me to create a better real estate experience for my clients.

In 2011, I built my own boutique private professional office to encompass a group of creative, like-minded, world class people that share my vision, and together we create the best client services executing unparalleled industry innovation. Our boutique approach has created a culture that spurs collaboration, innovation, technology and social media with a unique marketing approach that extends our client services far beyond traditional offerings to ensure our clients achieve better results.

We believe that beautiful design evokes emotion. Emotion stirs the soul and creates a connection between the client and a home. Therefore, we’re invested heavily in bringing all aspects of the real estate experience completely in-house. Our creative team includes custom graphic design, professional staging, amazing photography, cinematography and film production, social media expertise, marketing and media strategy, innovative technology, internet optimization, cloud based transaction management, personable and prompt service.

This boutique approach not only allows us a streamlined process, complete control of design, marketing and technology outreach, but also gives us the look & feel of a true boutique private office, giving our clients a unique real estate experience. We’re not trying to be the biggest in the industry – just the best.

We place a premium on honesty and integrity. We envision ourselves as a lifestyle-driven group, committed to intelligently informing and connecting our local community. We understand the rapid change of the technological landscape and increasingly fragmented data in the real estate industry and know the imperative need for transparent communication with our clientele. It’s changed how we see our role.

We provide qualitative and quantitative market knowledge, so our clients can make the most informed decisions. For over a decade I have built Real Time software and Real Time dashboards for my clients and have proudly taken it one step further sharing part of the program in a partnership with developers to design a ‘real-time trends’ dynamic market analytics program, shared by Realtors® across Canada.

The Foothills

Our Achievements

#1 Nanaimo; #13 Western Canada; Top 52 in Canada; #41 Internationally*

Provides training and services to other real estate professionals and has designed software that is used by thousands of Realtors®

  • #1 Nanaimo Realtor ® 2015 – 2018*
  • Top 100 Realtors ® in Canada – REP magazine
  • Top 52 Canada*
  • In-House Design and Marketing Team

Call Derek for your Real Estate Needs 1-250-585-3322


The Foothills

Our Team

Derek Gillette, Realtor®
Personal Real Estate Corporation, Principal
Derek’s passion for selling real estate and lifestyle in the beautiful Central Vancouver Island area is as strong today as ever, keeping involved in every aspect. He’s one of Canada’s Top Realtors®, leader in the industry for the past 20+ years, negotiation specialist, and an early adopter of sophisticated online marketing. He thrives on creating a ‘buzz’ in business and innovative real estate technology. If you are serious about selling your home, there is not a more effective or impressive marketing program for success anywhere in the industry today.
Chris Rigby
eXp Realty, Realtor®
In 1994, Chris moved to Abbotsford, B.C., starting as a roofer in Chilliwack with aspirations of owning his own construction business. His journey spans continents, from Hong Kong to England and Germany, then back to Hong Kong, where he worked as a teacher and journalist. Fluent in English and Cantonese, with some Mandarin, French, and German, Chris returned to Canada in 2010, briefly hobby farming before entering the auto industry for five years. The pandemic prompted a career change to become a licensed Realtor, leveraging his passion for connecting with people and multicultural background. Chris’ ideal day involves hiking with his dog and enjoying lunch atop a summit.
Chris Sinclair
eXp Realty, Realtor®
Graduate of the prestigious Rotman School of Management where I eventually moved into an investment banking role, specializing in assisting companies in raising capital and navigating the intricate process of becoming public entities.
I transitioned to venture capitalism. Through my network and connections, I helped raise capital for numerous companies across diverse industries, including real estate development. 

I made the decision to pursue a career in real estate as it encompasses both my skills and passions. I thrive in collaborative office environments, relishing the opportunity to meet and connect with people. If I am not in the office , I am enjoying outdoor activities such as hiking with my family.
Sarah Herbert
Marketing Manager, Unlicensed Assistant
With a strong foundation in graphic design and marketing, Sarah seamlessly integrates creativity and strategic insight into her work. In today’s fast-paced technological landscape, she prioritizes staying abreast of market trends and advancements in AI through ongoing enrollment in relevant courses. She is dedicated to delivering excellence in every project, consistently going above and beyond to surpass industry standards. Having recently relocated from Surrey, BC, to Nanaimo, Sarah has eagerly embraced the opportunity to explore the island, uncovering its picturesque viewpoints and stunning coastal shores.
Kyra Gillette
Client Care Coordinator, Unlicensed Assistant
Debbie Gillette
Operations Manager, Unlicensed
Accounting, budgets, shaping systems, creative, brand awareness … whatever the need, whatever the concern, she is here to help discern what the next step will be. Overseeing and managing business development, process and efficiency, ensuring we execute at the highest level, consistently deliver our brand message, and deliver premium client value – for which we strive. She works to collaborate and combine efforts to help make Derek Gillette Personal Real Estate Corporation the success it is today.

The Foothills

Our History


Launched Nanaimo and area’s first Luxury Real Estate website. Certified ‘Luxury Home Specialist’ designation.

Science, Research & Development

The first of five years+ to receive government funding for online real estate research and development – technology grant for innovative online development. Nanaimohomes.com – web design awards and voted one of the best real estate websites, built Showing Tracker – tracks listing showings and provides seller feedback, Seller’s Suite with Pricing Gauge, launched roomplanner.ca – ‘move in before you buy’.

Built my Boutique Private Office

Realizing that my unique approach to real estate sales, fine-tuned to the highest level and unmatched by my competitors, demanded elevating my client experience even further with a boutique real estate office. I offer a unique group of extensively experienced real estate specialists, working in a collaborative culture that extends my client services far beyond convention – no extra cost. 2011 marked the year RE/MAX International awarded me their highest honor, Circle of Legends Award, 196th worldwide and the first on Vancouver Island.

Launched Urban Trending Inc

Realizing that my unique approach to real estate sales, fine-tuned to the highest level and unmatched by my competitors, demanded elevating my client experience even further with a boutique real estate office. I offer a unique group of extensively experienced real estate specialists, working in a collaborative culture that extends my client services far beyond convention – no extra cost. 2011 marked the year RE/MAX International awarded me their highest honor, Circle of Legends Award, 196th worldwide and the first on Vancouver Island.

First to introduce Custom UAV Drone Videos

In 2014, I was the first to receive an open SFOC from Transport Canada and implementing UAV drone videos to showcase my client properties. Videos were produced in-house via my specialized marketing department.

Launched Trenlii Analytics Inc

In 2015, after extensive partner development, we launched Trenlii.com, a real-time visual market trends program for use across the real estate industry, giving REALTORS instant access to, and better understanding of, complex market data.

Launched Real3d

A revolutionary marketing tool that allows buyers to move through space for the most immersive online experience.

#1 Realtor Vancouver Island / Top 20 Western Canada

Ranked #1 for RE/MAX Vancouver Island and top 20 RE/MAX Western Canada for individual sales.

Top 100 Canadian Realtors

Ranked one of Canada’s top Realtors by REP Magazine.

#1 Realtor Vancouver Island / Top 9 Western Canada

Ranked #1 for RE/MAX Vancouver Island and top 9 RE/MAX Western Canada for individual sales.

#1 Realtor Vancouver Island / Top 4 Western Canada

Ranked #1 for RE/MAX Vancouver Island and top 4 RE/MAX Western Canada for individual sales.

Dai Renton / Google Expert

Dai is certified and recognized by Google as an expert in online advertising.

#23 Across Canada / #41 Internationally

Internationally recognized at #41 out of 113,800 associates in over 100 countries.

#1 Nanaimo Realtors ® / Ranked Top #13 Western Canada

Top 52 in Canada & #41 Internationally*.

Derek Gillette / #1 Realtor® in Nanaimo and one of North Americas leading Realtors®

Joined eXp Realty, the largest residential Real Estate Brokerage in North America.

The Foothills

Client Recommendations

Let’s put it this way: I’ve been a Realtor myself for many years, plus I’m a pretty picky person who always find something to complain about. So Derek and his team had a pretty hard task to make us happy while selling our house. You know what? They did! Knowing this business inside out I still had no reason to complain about anything, either it’s a road sign, website presence, arranging showings, communication or anything else. Honestly, I was a little bit afraid, that being one of the top Realtors in Canada, Derek might put some pressure on us, especially because initially our asking price was a little bit high. But it wasn’t a case, there was absolutely no pressure, just helpful information, which helped us to make a right decision and led to the sale of our house. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Derek to my countless friends, even they are as picky as I am!


Derek sold our home for full asking price, $30,000 more than other agents said it would sell for, in less than a week. While Derek’s marketing plan was key to attracting prospective buyers, it was his powerful and persuasive negotiating skills that sold our home for full asking price. He made it happen!


We had previously listed our property with two other Realtors, and after careful consideration and interviews we hired Derek. Once we made the decision,we knew we were in good hands as the marketing plan from the start was vastly different, even doing a professionally edited UAV video. With the use of Derek’s in-house marketing professionals it was refreshing and definitely not the standard. As a business owner that has owned multiple car franchise dealerships, I know what it takes to get results and build a business. Even when we thought the deal was done, Derek could have easily had us sign the final conditions, but he went back and saved us another $750. This took effort and time, and not many people go to bat for clients like Derek did, without the need for personal gain. Choosing a Realtor is hard, finding one that cares about your outcome no matter the work involved is even harder. This is why I highly recommend Derek, as he will look after you.


After making the tough decision to sell my home, next came the search to find and hire an established real estate professional who would not only be an advocate in negotiating and navigating all parts of a sales transaction on my behalf but to also supply the creativity and wisdom of handling the distinctive marketing and networking tools necessary to find the right buyer. The result of my search and interviews of the top realtors at RE/MAX led me to Derek Gillette and his creative group. Knowing and understanding that the decision to list my home was not an easy one, Derek not only provided me with professional business experience but he also demonstrated conscious intention and true patience in guiding me through my many decisions, questions and concerns during the entire process from listing to sale. He was able to sell my home $60,000 above the other Realtors recommended price and delivered all that was promised and more. I cannot recommend Derek and his team of professionals enough.


My husband and I started working with Connie and the Derek Gillette Team while still living a long distance from our new desired location. Searching for a home out-of-town adds additional stressors to house hunting, which we didn’t appreciate until faced with the where’s, why’s and what if’s of purchasing our new permanent residence. Connie Hentschel assisted us every step of the way, with her professional but comfortable way that put us at ease. There was still stress to be sure but Connie made it much better with her support, sense of humour and positive approach. We’ll always appreciate her for that. When we sell – it’ll be Connie we call.


Connie, you have been the perfect real estate agent. You offered advise when we asked but allowed us, always, to form our own opinions about the properties we saw. You learned, from our reactions, what we wanted and found the perfect home for us. We are enormously grateful to you and very thankful that we found you. I don’t believe that our move to Vancouver Island could have been as joyful without your presence. Derek Gillette Realty and you in particular have made our move so much easier.


Derek Gillette is head and shoulders above any agent we have dealt with through our experience in three countries. His tack, wisdom, and good communication combine with his expert knowledge of the current market and are bolstered by his infectious enthusiasm. His methods of presentation far exceed the norm yet at no added expense, and he closes the sale with excellent negotiation skills. Derek is unique and we could recommend more highly.