Well, I returned from Keller Williams Family Reunion on Wednesday, and have been busy catching up with work since then. I was not able to sit until this morning to add this piece about my wonderful experience at Family Reunion in Atlanta.
I attended the inspirational breakfast on Wednesday morning and it really made me recognize what a great move I made joining this company. I sure am glad I went.
The bottom line is, we work with some pretty exceptional people at Keller Williams, and I found my self asking the question: Does Keller Williams attract a high concentration of selfless people, or do the cultural tenents set out by Mo, Mark, Mary and Gary bring out the best in those that embrace them?
I guess the answer is somewhere in the middle. I think the culture defined by KW is unique, and helps us all to understand there’s more to our job than just selling homes, and I think a unique group of people are attracted to that concept.
At the inspirational breakfast, we heard the stories of KW Agent, Scott Thornhill of Greensboro, NC. I top producing agent in his MC, and a civic-minded citizen of his community. Scott teaches in the MC, coaches his son’s soccer and basketball teams, and volunteers at this church, all while being legally blind. I can see just fine, and some days I have a hard time getting out of bed. It’s pretty humbling.
We also heard the story of Gilbert Tuhabonye. Here is an excerpt from his web page:
While attending the Kibimba school, Gilbert began running competitively. Running barefoot, he won an 8K race while only a freshman. As a sophomore, he met a man who taught him how to change his running technique by getting his knees up and holding his arms correctly. The coach encouraged him to work hard and try for the Olympics. Gilbert became national champion in the 400 and 800 meters as an 11th grader. As a senior, Gilbert was already an extraordinary runner whose goal was to get a scholarship to an American school, get an education and return home to Burundi.
Fate had another plan for Gilbert.
On October 21, 1993, the centuries-old war between the Tutsi and Hutu tribes erupted in horrific reality one afternoon as Gilbert and his classmates were in school. The Hutu classmates at the Kibimba school, their parents, some teachers and other Hutu tribesmen, forced more than a hundred Tutsi children and teachers into a room where they beat and burned them to death. After nine hours of being buried by the corpses of his beloved friends, and himself on fire, Gilbert used the charred bone of one of his classmates to break through a window. He jumped free of the burning building and ran into the night, on charred feet, the sole survivor of one of the most horrible massacres in the long Tutsi-Hutu war. He ran from that horror into a new life.
Now, 12 years later and more than 8,000 miles from Burundi, Gilbert Tuhabonye is a celebrity in the world of running. He went on to graduate college at Abilene Christian University where, despite being covered with scar tissue from his extensive burns, he was a national champion runner. He is now, by all accounts, the most popular running coach in Austin, Texas where he lives with his wife Triphine and two daughters, Emma and Grace.
Pretty amazing guy … that’s all I have to say. I would not have been able to do what he did, and I was honored to be at an event that would honor someone of his character and strength.
Finally, we heard the story of Jim Hoekenschnieder, and Agent at the Huntsville MC. By Jim’s own admission, he was a person only focused on his business, and as he said,”I made sure I was my primary focus.”
Jim’s life at KW changed when he sold a home to a young family transplanting from Florida, Joe and Lori Hennessy, and their five year old son, Chris. As he put it, “they were the perfect family and I quickly grew attached to them.”
The day after closing Jim stopped by to drop off a housewarming gift. After knocking on the door for some time, five year old Chris answered the door and Jim his mother was “dead.”
Jim discovered Lori inside the house, laying face down, dead from a sudden aneurism. When Jim asked Joe what he could do to help, Joe told him he just wanted to take Chris back to Florida.
The entire MC jumped into action and did everything they could to help Joe and Chris, and get the house resold. When Jim called Joe to tell him they’d found a solution to the house, Joe, having been so touched by the generosity of people who barely knew him, informed Jim they were staying.
Pretty amazing stuff. Mo honored the entire MC with a song from Ken Medema, and they deserved it.
What I took away from this event, and from the rest of the events I attended at Family Reunion, is that we are fortunate to work together, and we’re a great group of people. We are also a driven group, with a tremendous force of will, and a real desire to improve our business and our lives.
See you next year!