The coronavirus pandemic was the crisis of the 21st century. For those of us who were fortunate enough to emerge healthy should be asking: did we take advantage of the opportunity to pause, evaluate and reinvent ourselves? I have been working on it, and I have been asking my team to do the same. I’m a family-first kind of person, and part of my process is to make sure my career and passions are never in conflict with my ability to spend ample quality time with my family. For me, this isn’t simply a matter of having enough free time, it challenges me to build my businesses in a way that brings me even closer to my children…not an easy task. But that was the first goal I set for myself.
I have been working on this for a while. My kids have been volunteering at NAHREP events since they were in their early teens. I remember when Marisa was 13 years old and working the registration desk at a national convention. She was working pretty hard and I asked her if she wanted to go to lunch together. She politely turned me down because she said had too much work to do. Sounds funny, but it made me smile because it also told me that she cared about NAHREP and more importantly, she was enjoying herself. I’ve tried to double down on that idea over the past year. My kids love NAHREP and L’ATTITUDE. Both platforms touch a variety of things that interest them, including business, politics, media, and sports… but are there other things I could be doing? Absolutely. I am in the beginning stage of doing something new with sports, which if we can pull it off, would make me business partners with my 21-year-old son.
In addition to being more deliberate in doing the kinds of things that allow me to spend more time with my family, I have been thinking about how we can improve just about everything we do at NAHREP and our other business ventures. Specifically, how can we evolve our companies in ways that bring even more value to our members and partners by leveraging what I call “21st century technology”. At NAHREP, we have hired a filmmaker and he will be our first “artist in residence”. I also plan on hiring a poet and a graffiti artist. Ok, I realize this may seem strange… a poet, filmmaker, and a graffiti artist working for a business trade organization? In today’s world, almost everything is communicated in sound bites, and with social media, there is more competition for eyeballs than ever before. How can NAHREP stand out? My hope is that these artists will help us produce content for our various media platforms that is both visually and intellectually appealing, enabling us to reach an even broader audience.
The Mortgage Collaborative is another business venture that’s been around for a few years. It’s a unique business where two hundred mortgage companies commit to working with each other instead of against each other by sharing best practices and bargaining with vendors collectively. For that business, we hired a venture capitalist to do a deep review of TMC’s business model and make recommendations on how we can leverage technology to improve efficiency and increase profit. We are putting a microscope on everything right now.
Finally, I believe the next big thing for NAHREP will be to become the place where the next wave of great companies in our industry emerges. During the pandemic, Sol Trujillo and I launched L’ATTITUDE Ventures to invest in exciting new Latino-led startups. L’ATTITUDE Ventures puts me in the venture capital business, which hopefully places me closer to the people and the information that can help NAHREP become the venue where companies will get the capital and guidance they need to compete at the highest levels.
I have a lot going on right now but I urge everyone, especially those of you who are business owners, to review everything you do and how you do it. Try to think differently. Ask your kids what they think. They are more attuned to the rhythms of the future and you might be surprised with what they tell you. During the last 12 months, we have seen one of the greatest reallocations of wealth in the history of mankind. Trillions of dollars have been transferred; I expect that trend to continue for a while. A crisis is a terrible thing to waste. I hope you make the most of it.