Thoughts on Leadership: Dream a Little, Win Big

This week my travels found me in Park City, UT and Salt Lake City, UT, then in Southern California for team meetings at our HQ in Irvine. But instead of focusing on the business of the week, I want to instead detail my time spent in SLC, where I was honored to help present our “Love Your Home” Sweepstakes grand prize winner, Aaron Zimmerman, of Sandy, UT, with a $50,000 check. This was our third year running a “Love Your Home” Sweepstakes, (held in conjunction with HGTV), and we set a new Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices record with an astounding 5.7 million entrants, 77% above last year’s sweepstakes registration.

With such an incredible number of entries, you might think, “There’s no chance I’d ever win!” But someone must win, someone did win and for 2017 that person was Aaron Zimmerman. Beyond being a serendipitous moment for Zimmerman, his win marks a three-year-long turn of true serendipity for our Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices sweepstakes. Each year, our winner was someone who will use the money in an impactful, substantial way. Let me explain …

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Thoughts on Leadership: 11 Days of Travel

This week my travels find me on the final day of 11 days of straight travel, which is unusual for me because I’m typically home on the weekends. However, this week-and-a-half business adventure has certainly been worthwhile and I’d like to recap some of the highlights for you now …

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Thoughts on Leadership: Getting Back to Basics

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me first in Irvine at the HSF Affiliates headquarters with a series of meetings and one very special meeting with Gary Vaynerchuk.

With Gary Vaynerchuk, bestselling author, speaker and internet personality, also CEO of VaynerMedia, and Chris Stuart, SVP of Business Development and Operations for HSF Affiliates.

Then it was on to Las Vegas for Mike Ferry’s 2017 Superstar Retreat, a four-day intensive from one of our industry’s finest leaders all about strengthening your mindset, building your skills, increasing your productivity and catapulting profits to the highest level possible—in other words, the basics.

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Thoughts on Leadership: Innovation in Austin

By Gino Blefari

This week’s travels found me in Austin, Texas … and what a place to be! Austin is a booming city overflowing with rich culture, a lively entertainment scene and incredible food. It’s no wonder it boasts one of the highest growth in the country in terms of population and jobs. In fact, according to the latest estimates, Austin adds 159 people per day to its metro-area population.

After spending several days in Austin, I can see why so many people are eager to move there. Fun fact: Whole Foods’ flagship location can be found in downtown Austin and it’s an 8,000-square-foot market unlike any other. The Whole Foods Market Inc. worldwide headquarters is also located in Austin, which practically ensures city dwellers there remain focused on healthy eating. As I always say, a large part of effective leadership is maintaining your energy, which comes from regular exercise and a mindful, nutritious diet. Relatedly, Austin was named by CNBC as a top city for launching a tech startup and has a thriving entrepreneurial community of small businesses and innovative leaders.

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Thoughts on Leadership: The Power of Connecting

This week my travels found me first in Rolling Hills Estates, CA, meeting with Bruce Short, broker/owner at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties; Mistydawn Jones, branch manager at California Properties; Denise Scarpetti, California Properties director of operations; Rick Elorriaga, vice president at California Properties; and members of the California Properties team. I was also working with our HSF Affiliates team in Irvine, CA. It’s been a busy few days but the time has been spent connecting with colleagues and friends—through a new employee orientation, at a California Properties awards event, during our HSF Affiliates Town Hall.

In business, networking and connecting is absolutely vital—the right connections can not only help you achieve your goals but also provide a richness to your life you can’t get from operating in insolation. Genuine connections are hard to find but essential to maintain. How do you connect with others in a way that’s both authentic and powerful? Watch the video for more …

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

Thoughts on Leadership: The Importance of Diversity

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me spending time with close family and friends in Calgary, Alberta, Canada then Lake Louise in Alberta, Banff National Park and, lastly Vancouver. (I write this now while traveling on the Rocky Mountaineer, a train that runs from Banff to Vancouver.) It’s been an incredible few days spent among the rugged, mountainous terrain of the Canadian Rockies, and strangely, being outside of the country has made me think about the beauty and uniqueness of our own. What makes America so very special? My blog posts for the rest of the entire year could focus on this one question and not adequately provide an answer. Still, there is something that undoubtedly and singularly characterizes the United States, and it’s a quality not often seen with such pervasiveness in any other land: Diversity.

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Thoughts on Leadership: Facebook and a Reminder for the Future

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me back at my Los Altos, CA home office following a restful family vacation in Hawaii. On Wednesday, I made a short drive to Menlo Park for a visit to Facebook and its sprawling, world headquarters.

I admire Facebook, its philosophy and corporate culture. From CEO Mark Zuckerberg to Sinmi Tinubu, an intern who helped greet my small group, everyone is encouraged to “be bold” and “focus on impact” – constantly collaborating and innovating to solve the most important challenges.

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Thursday Thoughts on Leadership: Recharge

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels find me in Hawaii, meeting with the team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hawai‘i Realty and spending time with good friends and family. My trip to the Aloha State reminds me of a recent video I shot all about the power of stepping away from the computer, the cell phone, the office and recharging to regain the strength necessary to effectively lead. Many leaders overlook the worthiness in time off—it’s just work, work, work—but the act of regularly recharging is not only instrumental to better leadership … it’s absolutely necessary! Watch this video to learn more …

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Thoughts on Leadership: Powerful Presentations

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me in Santa Barbara, CA for the 2017 Berkshire Elite Circle Conference, honoring the Top 50 brokerages in the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network. It was an experience to be remembered, a celebration of some of our network’s finest leaders and a chance to gather actionable insights from the wisdom of not only these wise real estate innovators but also our keynote speakers, and my good friends, Tom McCarthy and Carmine Gallo. Both Tom and Carmine presented on the topic of … presenting, and delivered straightforward, sharp advice related to the subject.

I believe presenting is such a large part of any business—not just in real estate with listing presentations but for anyone involved in any business. You must always present your story, your product and your brand to others and do so in a way that captures their attention. Given the significance of presentations, I want to share some of my favorite takeaways from everything Carmine and Tom said.

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Thursday Thoughts on Leadership: Travel to Learn

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels find me in the city of St. Louis to meet with the team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties, an amazing group of real estate professionals who prove with crystal-clear assurance what you can achieve when you have a strong, vibrant culture at your brokerage business.

I have to tell you, being in St. Louis was really an eye-opening trip for me. I’ve long been a fan of the idea that new eyes see old things in new ways and sometimes, these “eyes” aren’t literal eyes but instead places, things and experiences that widen your perspective in ways you never thought possible. Travel, in this sense, is more than just going from one place to another but instead a complete mindset shift and a chance to learn what you otherwise would never have known. For instance, who knew that there’s an area of St. Louis called “The Hill,” home to baseball greats Yogi Berra and Joe Gargiola Sr., who spent their childhood living across the street from one another on Elizabeth Avenue?

“Not only was I not the best catcher in the Major Leagues,” Gargiola once famously said, “I wasn’t even the best catcher on my street!”

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