Commercial Real Estate

CRE Opinion: Key Takeaways from TREC’s Leadership Day

This year, The Real Estate Council’s Associate Leadership Council program brought in heavy hitters from Virgin America to Topgolf.

I recently teamed up with Jeff Matthews of Winstead PC and Rick Perdue of Mill Creek Residential to run this year’s Leadership Day for The Real Estate Council’s Associate Leadership Council program. Here’s what we gleaned:

We previewed the day with two “Lunch and Learns.” David Cush, the former CEO of Virgin America, encouraged us to identify opportunities involving the massive transformations of two societal movements: the movement of money and the movement of people. 

Tom Dundon joined us in the spring for a lunch, and the self-made founder of Santander Consumer USA turned real estate investor turned golf course developer turned Topgolf accelerator turned Carolina Hurricanes owner explained his methods for moving aheadFirst, he doesn’t place importance on competitive advantages or niches. Rather, he says you choose to enter a market and your success ultimately is determined by how well you operate. Second, he judges himself by his ability to develop the best plan at this moment with the information he has right now. 

On our program day, 33-year old Craig Kessler, the COO of Topgolf and a relative newcomer to Dallas, reminded us that everyone wakes up wanting to be better, to improve. He believes accountability promotes development and that leaders can offer support in a loving and positive way. 

Next, John Adams (of Texas Commerce Bank and Trinity Industries fame) gave us “straight talk” that didn’t seem all that complex. He emphasized being reliable and consistent, positive and persistent. He encouraged us to generate results and communicate clearly. 

Last, Clay Duvall of Lincoln Property Co., who also is this year’s vice chair of the AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament, spoke of the work ethic he learned from his father and his colleagues, which he now applies to business and civic activities. He said he takes pride in the Salesmanship Club of Dallas’ “never say no” mantra, and that it has taught him to sleep on his big decisions. Of course, given that he wakes at 4 a.m., he’s not reflecting on them for too long!

The application process for next year’s ALC class starts this summer, and Jeff and I will be building on this year’s success of our program day. Look for many of the speakers to return. We’re also set to host Fred Perpall of The Beck Group and a breakout panel with two new entrepreneurs: Katy Slade of Mintwood Real Estate and Sarah Hinkley of Thirty-Four Commercial. 

Jon Altschuler is the founder of Altschuler and Company.