Thoughts on Leadership: From San Diego to Spain

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me first in San Diego for the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals® (NAHREP) 2019 National Convention. This year, in an effort to advance the Hispanic Wealth Project and promote the message of financial empowerment to a larger audience, NAHREP partnered with L’ATTITUDE, an event that highlights Latino buying power, political capital and the technological innovation propelling America forward. The result of the collaboration was NAHREP’s biggest-ever event to date, attracting 10,000 professionals across a variety of industries to the National Convention in San Diego.

As background, NAHREP is “The Voice for Hispanic Real Estate®” and a proud champion of homeownership for the Hispanic community. I’m also proud our brokerage networks were sponsors for the 2019 event and am equally proud of all the hardworking network professionals who made this year’s NAHREP Top 250, a prestigious award honoring the top-producing Latino agents in America.

And while on the subject of kudos, due appreciation must be given to HSF Affiliates Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion and Women in LeadershipTeresa Palacios Smith. She is a dedicated advocate for NAHREP and other important diversity initiatives re-shaping our real estate industry. Since joining our team, Teresa has made incredible strides to ensure every facet of our brokerage networks mirror the diversity we find in the marketplaces we service.

From San Diego, it was off to Madrid, Spain where I write this post to you now. I’m in Madrid to commemorate the launch of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices LARVIA, which officially began operations Wednesday as a member of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brokerage network.

Led by CEO Bruno Rabassa and the legendary Rabassa family, LARVIA is one of Spain’s leading estate agencies, with ties to Spain’s construction and development industries dating back 55 years. The brokerage is part of the family-owned Petrus Grupo Inmobiliario, which develops, restores, leases and manages property in the region. LARVIA specializes in luxury real estate, among other sectors.

After spending three full days with LARVIA team members in their office, at their launch event and the day after, I am even more impressed than I was when they went through our alignment session. Throughout our Madrid meetings this week, I just kept thinking how lucky we are to have LARVIA representing our Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand in Spain.

While in Madrid for the launch, I had the opportunity to participate in one-on-one media interviews, a press conference, a master class, and had lunch with LARVIA team members from Madrid and Barcelona. Finally, we celebrated the brokerage and its success at Museo Lázaro Galdiano in Madrid, an early-20th-century Italianate stone mansion that showcases some of Spain’s finest artistic masterpieces. During the celebration, we were treated to “Asociación Danza A Nuestro Ritmo,” a moving flamenco performance by dancers with Down syndrome, whose grace in life and on the dance floor was truly moving. The show was produced by famed dancer and choreographer Isabel Olavide. Impressively, the Madrid native studied dance at the Boston Conservatory and has danced, directed and choreographed Flamenco shows around the world.

During the launch event, I had a chance to meet María Dolores de Cospedal, who served as president of Castilla-La Mancha and as Minister of Defense of the Government of Spain from 2016 to 2018. In her role, she collaborated with major world leaders and the Spanish government to develop and carry out defense policies and manage the military administration.

So, what’s the message … or as they say here in Spain: ¿Cuál es el mensaje? From the Rabassa family to the former Minister of Defense to our very own Teresa Palacios Smith, this week was filled with inspiring Spanish-speaking leaders who aren’t just forging new paths forward, they’re creating paths where none existed, on a dedicated mission to do no less than change the world.

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