#13 Thoughts on Leadership: The Power of Knowledge

By Gino Blefari

Knowledge is an important component of leadership. If we’re diligent about it, knowledge is an ever-changing, evolving thing, allowing us to continually improve, progress and grow.

Recently, I was in Washington, D.C. at the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals® (NAHREP) White House Briefing. The meeting proved an exciting opportunity to learn about the latest trends affecting the Hispanic population and how Latino preferences and buying power will shape—and reshape—the landscape of our national real estate market.

NAHREP®, cofounded by Gary Acosta and Ernie Reyes, is a passionate organization made from dedicated professionals across the country, proud champions of homeownership within the Hispanic community and The Voice For Hispanic Real Estate®. I’m honored to serve on the NAHREP® Corporate Board of Governors and help advance this cause.

In Washington, D.C. with NAHREP® 2015 National President, Teresa Palacios Smith of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties.

In Washington, D.C. with NAHREP® 2015 National President, Teresa Palacios Smith of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties.

I also visited Washington, D.C. to celebrate Teresa Palacios Smith of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties, recently installed as the new 2015 National President of NAHREP®. Listening to Teresa speak from the stage of a luxurious ballroom at the Fairmont Hotel, I was proud to have such an eloquent voice and accomplished businesswoman lead the charge for Hispanic real estate professionals nationwide.

My sentiments were echoed by NAHREP® CEO, Gary Acosta. “NAHREP® is delighted to have Teresa Palacios Smith as our 2015 National President,” he said. “We both firmly believe real estate companies that make the effort to understand the cultural nuances and develop viable strategies to reach and service Hispanic consumers will reap huge rewards.”

Added Teresa: “I’m so grateful to be part of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices family and lead one of the most influential minority trade organizations in America,” she told me. “Latinos are proud members of American society with much to contribute in making the U.S. a competitive and successful country. With the purchasing power of Latinos at $1.5 trillion and projections for 2020 estimating that purchasing power to grow to $2 trillion, right now is an exciting time for our community!”

Indeed, Teresa’s words couldn’t be truer. By most standards, the Hispanic community is acknowledged as the key driver for growth in the overall housing sector. In fact, NAHREP® just released its 2014 State of the Hispanic Homeownership Report, and for those yet to digest it, these are some key takeaways I found particularly interesting:

  • From 2000 to 2014, Hispanics accounted for 50 percent of the net growth of overall households in the country.
  • Since 1970, the Hispanic population has grown 592 percent. By comparison, the U.S. population overall has grown 56 percent over the same period.
  • Between 2000 and 2010 alone, Hispanics made up more than half of U.S. population growth.
  • Hispanics hold the largest share of household growth for any racial or ethnic population group in the country and are expected to account for seven million of the nation’s 17 million new households between 2010 and 2015.
  • Of those who did make home purchases in 2014, Millennials represented the largest group with 32 percent of all buyers. Hispanics account for more than one in five Millennials.
  • Twenty nine percent of Hispanics earn $50K-$100K annually and contribute $500 billion in spending power. Moreover, their impact is projected to reach $680 billion in 2016.

So, here’s the message: The more we can learn about perspectives and communities other than our own—like the dynamic and powerful Hispanic community—the better leaders we’ll become, growing through understanding, compassion and the knowledge to help us succeed.

GINO BLEFARI is CEO of HSF Affiliates LLC. You can follow Gino on Facebook and Twitter.

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