Thoughts on Leadership: Lessons Learned by VaynerMedia

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels first took me to Irvine, CA and next to La Mirada for an awards celebration with Bruce Mulhearn, president/owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, and the California Properties team where I delivered my “8 Principles of Success” to the crowd. It was an incredible event with more than 350 network agents in attendance and I was inspired by the passion and determination displayed by every single one of them.

Today, I spent most of the late morning and early afternoon in Los Angeles, meeting with our ad agency of record, VaynerMedia.

There’s a lot that can be lauded about the VaynerMedia team—their creativity, their can-do attitude, their fearlessly forward-looking leader, Gary Vaynerchuk—but today, I want to highlight two aspects of the company that are particularly central to our Thoughts on Leadership discussion: history and culture.

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Thoughts on Leadership: The Spirit of the Underdog

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me first in Lancaster, PA to meet with the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty leadership team. Lancaster is one of the oldest inland towns in the United States, an area rich with history and urban charm.

From Pennsylvania, it was off to St. Petersburg, FL to attend Real Living Connection 2018. I was grateful to deliver a keynote presentation to the group on artificial intelligence and the importance of staying relevant. Bob McAdams, president of Real Living, and my good friend Allan Dalton, Real Living COO and former realtor.com CEO, are doing a fantastic job keeping the brand not only on top of industry trends but also ahead of the game.

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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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Thursday Thoughts on Leadership: Not of Decline But of Progress

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me in Baltimore, MD and Lancaster, PA to meet with the outstanding team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty, led by Co-founder and Managing Director Doug Rebert; Co-founder and Managing Director Pete Slaugh; Rick Doyle, president of realty operations; and CFO Rod Messick. I delivered both my 7 Principles of Success and How to Create An Unstoppable Mindset Routine to the members of the brokerage and speaking against the backdrop of these extraordinary cities made me really think about the significance of both Lancaster and Baltimore’s rich history, and how some of the central themes in my talks are echoed in the cities’ past.

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Thursday Thoughts on Leadership: Winning is A Habit

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels find me first in Irvine for a meeting with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties CEO Mary Lee Blaylock and the California Properties team then off to Dallas to meet with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Texas agent Russell Rhodes, leader of the Russell Rhodes team, PenFed Realty Texas Broker/president Rick Wylie and the entire PenFed Realty Texas team. After that I flew to Detroit and spoke with agents, managers and leadership at Real Living Kee Realty. For each meeting, I delivered several principles for success, specific ideas to follow in order to win.

It’s no surprise winning is on my mind because I just received a text from my good friend and former All-Pro wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers as well as five-time Super Bowl champion, Dwight “The Catch” Clark, who’s on his way to Houston for Super Bowl Media Week appearances. Each summer, as soon as pre-season begins, teams have one Wildly Important Goal (WIG) in mind: Make it to the Super Bowl and then, win the Vince Lombardi Trophy. This trophy—a football resting atop a pedestal that measures 22 inches and 7 pounds of sterling silver glory—is only given to the team that has proven to be the very best in the world.  

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Thoughts on Leadership: Gateway to the West

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels find me in St. Louis to meet with two fantastic brokerages. First, I visited Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties and members of the company’s leadership team, including Maryann Vitale Alles, president and CEO and Angie Ignatowski, broker/owner/relocation director. Then it was off to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Alliance Real Estate to speak with agents and managers, including CEO/Owner Andrea Lawrence, President/Co-Owner Kevin Goffstein and Executive Vice President/Co-Owner Bob Bax. My meeting with Alliance Real Estate was part of a two-day event, the Faster Higher Stronger Conference, which kicked off Wednesday night at the St. Louis Cardinal’s Busch Stadium, for an evening of baseball to benefit the Sunshine Kids. What an incredible experience and it all began with Steven Conner of the Sunshine Kids, who was joined on the field by his family as he threw out the first pitch of the game! Great times for a great cause!

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Thursday Thoughts on Leadership: Connecting in Hawaii

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me in Honolulu, HI (yes, you read that correctly, my business travels found me in Hawaii) for the 2016 Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) Global + Luxury Summit. While at AREAA, I had the honor of taking part in a panel discussion during the closing session of the conference to talk about luxury real estate, high-end consumer preferences, luxury lifestyle and housing trends. Joining me in the discussion was Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate and Anne Miller, director of The RE/MAX Collection as well as Cedric Choi, CEO and director of Choi International, who was a superb moderator for the panel and participated in the discussion as well. It was a fantastic few days in the Aloha State and I have to thank the leaders of AREAA—2016 AREAA National Chairwoman Vicky Salvano; 2016 AREAA National Vice Chairwoman Angie Lee; Allen M. Okamoto, AREAA National Founding Chairman and AREAA Education Foundation, Emeritus; John Yen Wong, AREAA National Founding Chairman & Emeritus; Jim Park, AREAA National Chairman Emeritus and the rest of the fantastic AREAA team—for putting on such an engaging and dynamic event.

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Thoughts on Leadership: Peanut Island And A Trip To the Past

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me sailing the clear blue waters of the Lake Worth Lagoon in Palm Beach, on a boat with hundreds of top-producing agents from the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network. It was an ideal day complete with warm ocean breezes, South Florida sunshine and of course, great company.

The cruise was part of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Summit Conference, an annual event (held this year at The Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach) to celebrate the achievements of our award-winning agents. And it was only by coincidence that among conversations about the bright future ahead for these top performers, I was immediately reminded of the past as our boat took a turn and I caught a glimpse of Peanut Island across the way.

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Thoughts on Leadership: A Message for the Fourth

By Gino Blefari

This week I have the 4th of July on my mind, a holiday always spent grilling with my family and watching fireworks light up the summer sky. It’s my favorite time of year, with a rich history as compelling as the patriotic celebration itself.

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