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In an oxymoronic real estate celebration, the venerated Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand and its network recently combined its revered culture with the honky tonk majesty of Nashville, Tenn. The term “oxymoron” certainly fits, as the unrivaled gravitas of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand and network temporarily co-mingled with all the fun, frolic and frivolity that the words “honky tonk” imply.

For several days, nearly 6,000 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand loyalists combined the most serious of educational and networking experiences during the day, and then let their hair down in the evenings in a celebration of all that magnificent Nashville, Tenn., has to offer. The balance was most welcome as the seriousness of CEO Chris Stuart’s compelling keynote, and the scholarship behind it, called for a later time in the day to be reserved solely for experiencing the joy and unabashed playfulness of the Music City.

CEO Chris Stuart on stage

Stuart’s speech centered on contrasting the efficiency of how major corporate brands invest more to keep clients than they do to create clients. His examination revealed how the exact opposite is regrettably true within the real estate industry. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices CEO’s manifesto was largely devoted to his unearthing findings that identified what he referred to as real estate’s “value void” or “loyalty gap”. Stuart went on to introduce an irrefutably logical solution through his vision of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Forever Agent system. His system will now serve as a blueprint or, as he labeled it, a Forever Agent framework. The career development and consumer-centric system is the future for how Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network agents will expand their professional value—and, thus, their careers. Stuart pointed to the need to migrate from being viewed by consumers as transactional to more relationally relevant. This transcendent transition will be achieved by providing consumers and clients with germane, timely and topical real estate advice through lifetime professional relationships.

Conference co-host, Chairman Gino Blefari

Stuart’s speech, along with its many innovative deliverables, which were later introduced in detail throughout the conference, also invoked lessons learned from his childhood. Stuart recalled the influences upon his present professional life that were drawn from the gritty streets of East Dallas, where he spent his formative years. Stuart called upon his challenging upbringing to serve as a metaphor for what is needed for the entire network as it prepares to handle any and all tough times ahead. The one word he memorialized as representing the greatest determinant of success in life, according to the findings of the West Point Military Academy and many corporate studies, is…”Grit.”

J.K. Simmons, representatives from the Sunshine Kids and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England, Westchester, New York Properties: Candace Adams, President & CEO; Beth DiLoreto, Director of Sales/Office Leader, Glastonbury Office; Rob Silverman, Human Resources Director & SSK Liaison: Eric Bjork, Vice President, Director of Sales, Greenwich Office

While the convention was a celebration of grit, it was also a testament to the high level of caring reflected within the entire network, specifically in how Chairman Gino Blefari, Stuart, Sunshine Kids Executive Director G.W. Bailey and Oscar-winning actor J.K. Simmons all teamed up to honor the network for raising more than $1.5 million for the Sunshine Kids. A standing ovation was given by the convention throng for Candace Adams, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties, serving all of Connecticut, Westchester County and Manhattan, N.Y., for raising more money than any other brokerage within the vast global network.

The convention also proved that commitment to diversity and inclusion continue to be front and center throughout the year and certainly at this annual event. Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Teresa Palacios Smith joined Blefari, Stuart and the executive team in hosting numerous inclusion and global brokerage gatherings.

From left to right: Julie Tran, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties representing AREAA; Gary Walters, Prosperity Home Mortgage representing NAREB and VAREP; Diana Sifuentes, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices A Action REALTORS®, representing NAHREP; Wayne Woodyard, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, representing NAGLREP

As important as all 65 of the educational sessions and innumerable networking events were, including the session covering the Forever Agent System presented by Allan Dalton, SVP of research and development, and Wendy Durand, vice president of marketing, the most impactful and important message was Stuart’s epic opening presentation. Stuart and his standing ovation convention kickoff and keynote speech commanded the network’s attention by proclaiming the significance of his Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Forever Brand strategic vision, which was reinforced by a video message from the one and only Mr. Warren Buffett.

Stuart artfully reminded the network that in challenging times, consumers will increasingly require trusted real estate advice—especially advice and guidance that is associated with a most trusted real estate brand. Stuart also employed the latest in research, which documents that Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is considered by consumers to be real estate’s most trusted brand.

Allan Dalton, SVP of Research and Development

This most recent Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices convention will remain in the minds and hearts of all who attended. The iconic Blefari, who co-hosted the conference with Stuart, picked up on Stuart’s theme of grit by saying, “Each and every network member who voluntarily attended this conference, a convention sandwiched between tornadoes and the cloud of the coronavirus in its beginning stages, displayed a level of grit, dedication and loyalty to one another, that the country and world will now need to exhibit moving forward.” Stuart added, “In a time of uncertainty for some and chaos for others, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, as our industry’s Forever Brand, wants both serious real estate professionals, as well as consumers, to know that our company has the resources, the network and the brand to flourish in all markets and at all times.”

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