We’ve all grown tired of hearing the decades-old cliché ‘Christmas is a time for giving’; perhaps because very few people who make that declaration actually live by it.
Steve Mercieca, CEO at QuickLets and Zanzi Homes (QLZH), is all too aware of the insignificance of such platitudes – that’s why he’d much rather let his actions do all the talking…
“Every year, during the Christmas period, we go to the oncology ward and ask the children there what gift they would like Zanta [QLZH’s own take on Santa Claus] to bring them,” Steve tells MaltaCEOs.mt.
“We then go, buy them all, wrap them up, put on our blue Zanta suit and deliver the gifts to the children. This is going to be the fifth year we have done this, and as long as our company has its doors open, it will keep happening,” he continues.
COVID-19’s surge meant that the QLZH team couldn’t be with the children as they opened their gifts these past years – however nothing could stop Zanta from singlehandedly delivering the presents himself.
It’s pretty evident that Steve champions this level of authenticity at home as well. The QLZH CEO happily swaps over-the-top and flamboyant celebrations for more intimate and meaningful activities with his loved ones.
“I generally spend my Christmas with the family, one year at the in-laws and one year at my side of the family tree. The Christmas months around our families are very traditional; all wrapped up in our cosy homes, Michael Buble blasting out of the sound system, heaters on full swing, kids running and screaming, cats playing with the wrapping paper, great food, champagne, and wine,” Steve recounts.
“Christmas is all about tradition. Some of ours are having a little monk eat a watermelon at table, personalised Christmas crackers, and our bombi tar-ross (rice bombs) according to nanna’s recipe on New Year’s Day, which I have personally taken over,” he smiles.
Family activities aside, Steve also makes it a point to prioritise Christmas’ true meaning – i.e. it being Christian feast celebrating the Birth of Jesus – and in true Christian spirit, he’s established quite a curiously heart-warming annual tradition…
“I always take a family photo and send it over to the two surgeons that saved my life when I broke my neck. I thank them for their day-to-day work helping people remain with their families,” Steve says.
“To me Christmas means unity and continuity. It means love and light. It means reaching out to those who are having a hard time and showing gratitude to those that supported you throughout the year,” he continues.
Looking back at the past 12 months, Steve’s in pretty good spirits, ultimately labelling the year as “an exciting and eventful one – both family-wise and work-wise.”
“We moved from an apartment in Sliema to a terraced house in Ibragg; with two kids, a dog, and a cat you can imagine the manic experience, mainly for my wife who practically packed it all up and out by herself,” he says.
“We’re also restoring a house in Siggiewi and it’s been very exciting seeing that progress. Our kids are growing into amazing ages, two and seven. These are the angels of my life. Bringing up children is a challenge, but the joy they bring and the purpose they inject is unquantifiable. I’m very much looking forward to them running around the garden once our house is ready – hopefully next year,” Steve adds.
Quick Lets and Zanzi Homes have also been treated to a particularly positive year, as the CEO reflects on the many new “offices, team members, and training sessions” that the company has welcomed.
”I believe our team has worked extremely hard and I would like to thank each and everyone of them for the hard work, dedication, loyalty and devotion they have for our group and its vision. As the first real estate group in Malta to open offices abroad we are proud to say that finally even our Cyrpus operation is making heads turn,” he recalls.
“The team there is working hard and is producing incredible results. This is an amazing feeling for us as it goes to show our product and vision can work and be sustainable on an international level. If it worked in Cyprus it can work globally,” he adds.
2021 might have gone swimmingly for Steve and his companies, but that doesn’t mean that he’s stopped looking for ways he can improve his wellbeing.
“I’m not one to normally make any resolutions, generally I do a totally dry January, which I will do again. This year I’m going to take up Padel and try to finally stick to that gym routine. I definitely want to spend more time with my wife and kids as it’s been a little harder to get in a family holiday with the stress of travelling and added COVID-19 regulations,” he says.
We had time to slot in one last question before parting ways with Steve – and it was all about the most important lessons that 2021 has taught him. Here’s what he had to say.
“2022 is going to be double as exciting. We have been working on some new products which we plan on launching internationally in the first part of 2022. I believe the industry here and in Cyprus has a lot to offer if you work with the right people and look in the right places. The real estate industry is a fragmented, massive industry. Parts of it require some heavy changes to improve its overall quality and sustainability, but most of it offers potential and great investments.
“Next year all agents will become licensed. Being a licensed Real Estate Specialist is all about creating business, working around sharp and hard-working individuals, discussing market trends for each segment of the industry, and working together to create deals that both parties you bring together win. It’s like the Money Heist ending. The people we bring together need to all win or else we all lose,” he concludes.
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