Thoughts on Leadership: You Can’t Win If You Don’t Enter

By Gino Blefari 

When Barbara Wakefield received the call she’d won $50,000 in the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices $50,000 Sweepstakes—held in conjunction with HGTV and Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines—she thought the whole thing was a hoax. “It was too fantastic for words,” she told me over the phone today. “I just thought, ‘How could this happen? There’s only one winner and how could that winner be me?’”

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky

But our nationwide winner definitely is Barbara, a doting grandmother and devoted housewife who lives on a 120-acre farm in Lawrenceburg, KY with her husband of 50 years. She’s also no stranger to sweepstakes, entering drawings and giveaways whenever she can, once winning Cal Ripken, Jr.’s autograph from a Rice Krispies Treats’ contest held years ago.

“I saw this opportunity and sat at my kitchen table and entered,” she said.

Barbara’s entry—one of more than 1.5 million—paid off and the winnings couldn’t come at a better time; she was already planning a project to expand her kitchen and fix the structural issues plaguing her 100-year-old home … and its appliances. (Her stove was purchased more than 35 years ago.)

“It’s absolutely amazing I’ll be able to have the chance to finish these renovations,” she explained and even over the phone her excitement was infectious; everything she said was filled with honesty, humility and grace. And that’s when I thought: Barbara isn’t just a winner; she’s a winning person, too.

When our marketing team—along with network representatives from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Parks and Weisberg, Realtors® in Louisville, KY and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices de Movellan Properties in Lexington, KY—showed up at Barbara’s home, oversized check in hand, they were greeted by Barbara’s country charm even before she opened her door. As they walked up the pathway toward her porch, they noticed she had already set out a pitcher of lemonade and a plate of cookies for her out-of-town guests.

“That’s just country living,” she explained.

So, what’s the message? Barbara’s story isn’t just an incredible tale about good fortune that came to one person in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky; it’s also a narrative about someone who had the belief that the seemingly impossible could come true. Because, to quote our $50,000 Sweepstakes winner Barbara Wakefield: “You can’t win if you don’t enter!”

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

4 responses to Thoughts on Leadership: You Can’t Win If You Don’t Enter

  1. Nice article from Gino Blefari. I expect that Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices will create another Sweepstakes opportunity. “fingers crossed” Maybe this fall. It was a great way to create a buzz around our exciting brand. From all accounts this was a big success with HGTV and Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines. Great stuff from the corporate marketing folks.


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