Thoughts on Leadership: Two First-Time Trips and What I Learned

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me landing at Logan International Airport in Boston, where I took an Uber to Windham, NH for a meeting with the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty team. While in Windham, I delivered a presentation to Verani Realty agents and at lunch, had a chance to lead a two-hour training session for the fantastic leadership team: CEO Margherita Verani, President Giovanni Verani and Debbie Gallant, president of sales.

It was my first-ever trip to New Hampshire, which is the birthplace of current head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, Chip Kelly. Kelly once said one of my favorite quotes about leadership: “Everybody has the same amount of time during the day,” he explained. “You can either spend your time or invest your time.”

Isn’t that the truth?

It also happens that this week finds me in another city for the first time, Grand Rapids, MI. I’m here to visit with the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate team, Michigan’s third-largest brokerage. When I arrived in Grand Rapids, I was immediately greeted by Katy Teklinski, CMO of Michigan Real Estate, and her husband Tom Teklinski, VP of Operations. I also had a chance to meet with Steve Fase, broker/owner and CEO of Michigan Real Estate.

By coincidence, when I walked into Michigan Real Estate’s Tech Summit, a learning event put on by the company at a popular venue called The B.O.B., I saw my friends Debbie and Lane Barnett, who lead Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Tomie Raines REALTORS®, which was recently acquired by Michigan Real Estate. I have to say, the entire Michigan Real Estate leadership team runs an impressive, productive brokerage operation and I’m proud to call them members of our Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices family.

But back to Grand Rapids … When I first got here, I landed at Gerald R. Ford International Airport and it’s hard not to land at this airport without feeling the tremendous influence Ford had on the place. In 1974, Gerald Ford and his wife Betty returned to Grand Rapids for the first time after he became President of the United States and the trip came just after the airport had undergone construction with a new freight terminal and new hangars. Being there in person, I’ve never seen so many runways for that small size of a metropolitan location but Ford Airport is actually the largest commercial airport in the West Michigan region and the second largest airport in all of Michigan.

And like Kelly, Gerald R. Ford also said one of my favorite quotes about leadership: “Tell the truth, work hard and come to dinner on time.” Sounds just like something my mom has told me my entire life. Thanks, mom! Ninety percent of success is showing up on time and prepared.

So, what’s the message? To combine the wisdom of Kelly and Ford, two excellent examples of leaders in sports and government, invest your time wisely and always show up prepared.

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


2 responses to Thoughts on Leadership: Two First-Time Trips and What I Learned

  1. connie lawson

    another good message, Why do you not come to Louisville on May 3rd and join all your Kentucky realtors. and just think someone might take you to Churchill downs where the Derby will be run Satuday. Meet us great people and be a part of one of America’s exciting 2 minutes


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