by Tami Bonnell, CEO, EXIT Realty Corp. International

One of my favorite things my Dad used to say was, “You’re a reflection of who you surround yourself with,” and every time he said it, I ended up firing people.  I fired them nicely, of course, but I realized the people I let go were not a good fit for the organization we were building.  I knew it and they knew it.

If you’re true to yourself and your company’s values, even if you don’t attract everybody to your business, you will attract – and keep – the right people.  I want to share three such examples.

At a virtual event I attended recently, I learned about a chef who owns a popular Italian restaurant, and because of restrictions imposed by the global pandemic, her dining room closed, leaving only her delivery business.  She decided she could close all together or figure out how she could make a difference.

She decided to be part of the solution by making extra meals and providing them free for the EMTs and frontline health care workers in her area.  When the word spread, people thought about their friends and family who were sheltered in place who would enjoy having her food delivered and her initiative grew even bigger.  She made such a positive impact in her community that she received a $10,000 check from a television show that recognizes people doing good. She sunk it all into giving back to frontline workers.

Now this chef speaks every week through Zoom to ten other owners of small restaurants like hers so they can share something good and help keep each other afloat. Although these are her competitors, she is surrounding herself with like-minded people of similar values, and that’s a win for the community.

At the same event, I learned about a humble and kind man who, for 30 years, has owned a company that makes chocolate. These days, very few people are walking through the door to buy his product. Although he has some online and delivery sales, he was forced to lay off some of his workers.  He has been so good to his employees and surrounded himself with people who share his values and believe in him, they proved it by pulling together, coming back and agreeing to work for free until the business turns around.

Now a story closer to home.  Sharon Henry and Michele Calloway own EXIT Realty Quality Solutions with locations in Marietta and Norcross, Georgia.  They’ve only been with EXIT Realty since 2018 but already they’ve built an operation of more than twenty agents making a positive impact in the communities they serve.  They’re being proactive about helping more people become homeowners and in particular, people of color, because that issue speaks to their heart and they want to be part of the solution where they live.

I have a tattoo on my back that reads, “Be true to yourself and you can lead others”. These people are living their lives and running their businesses in a way that’s true to who they are, and by doing so, they are attracting people and opportunities that support their vision.

 

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