Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Look into Tate: Be Enthused. Be Engaged. Empower.

Jodi Tate
Chief Operating Officer
Coldwell Banker Triad, Realtors
Interview with Jodi Tate on being named Chief Operating Officer at Coldwell Banker Triad, Realtors.

“Naming Jodi as the chief operating officer at Coldwell Banker Triad, Realtors is more about recognizing the role that she fills at the company than a change in responsibilities.  Over the past 22 years together, I have watched Jodi continue to challenge herself by welcoming new learning opportunities and actively seeking out new or increased responsibilities.  She is an excellent leader, motivator and educator and is integral to the day-to-day operation of the company,” said Beverly Godfrey, president and chief executive officer at Coldwell Banker Triad, Realtors. 

Elizabeth (Castelda): I once had the opportunity to sit down with Beverly and asked her how in the world she maintains, running a successful company, being as busy as she is. Her words were, “I couldn’t do it without Jodi.” 

I presume she has trusted in your capability for quite some time, considering ‘Congratulations’ are in order, since you were just named Chief Operating Officer at Coldwell Banker Triad, Realtors. Being named COO, do you anticipate a typical day 'in the office' will change?

Jodi (Tate): “Thank you. No,” she laughed. “A day in the office won’t change, as Beverly put it, ‘You have a full plate.’  Primarily, my job has been and is to support and collaborate upon Beverly’s vision for this company and to ensure the day-to-day operations go smoothly, working toward her goals and helping the managers to grow.”

Elizabeth: Would this moment be described as one in which you are most proud?  What other accomplishments or moments give you the most pride?

Jodi: “Being named COO affirms Beverly’s trust in me. From the perspective of having been fully invested- emotionally and mentally committed to the company, to be recognized for that makes me proud. It reminds me of the day I walked across the stage as I graduated from college UNC-Greensboro and the day my brother and his wife, Audrey held their daughter in their arms for the first time,” she said smiling. 

Elizabeth: Describe how you began your career in real estate with CBTR and how you have evolved into COO?

Jodi:Twenty-two years ago as a recent college grad, I got into real estate sales after being a paralegal at a local law firm. I wanted to control my own destiny as I desired more opportunity to grow.  It was at Hubbard Realty that I decided to hang my license, where Beverly Godfrey was my manager and Lewis Hubbard, Beverly’s father, was the President and CEO.” 

“My career took off at an early stage as I was ‘Rookie of the Year’ my first year. Within five years I grew my business into the company’s second highest producer in closed business, and then I got into management.  Later, Coldwell Banker Triad, Realtors was created as the result of the merger of Hubbard Realty Sales Division, Coldwell Banker Lambe Young, and Coldwell Banker Joyner, Price and Britt. I was the Assistant Manager at the Davie Clemmons office, and then became the Manager of that office. Later I transferred to the CBTR office in Greensboro, where I simultaneously began training at the national level as well as overseeing career development."

"Shortly after that, I began General Management with CBTR while continuing teaching.”

“I attribute a great deal of my current success to my ‘right-hand assistant,’ Julie Aites, and to Lane Young, who oversees administration of the Triad Real Estate School." 

"Without these women, I can not do my job. The right hand knows what the left hand is doing. Julie knows me so well she is able to answer for me in my absence and Lane started at Hubbard 22 years ago as well. I can go into her office and say, ‘remember when we did that way back when? We need to try that again’ and Lane knows exactly what I am talking about.”

Elizabeth: What was it like working with Mr. Hubbard?

Jodi: “I have learned a tremendous amount from Beverly and from Mr. Hubbard.  He was very involved in every day interactions at the office. He helped color my work ethic, in that he didn’t expect anyone to do something he wouldn’t do himself.”

“I will never forget a lesson learned from Mr. Hubbard when I started in sales. He taught me how important it is to be prompt in getting back in touch with people. He would say, ‘Jodi, if they are looking for you, you have waited too long to communicate with them.’ Which now, embracing this, I might have become a little impatient,” she laughed.

Elizabeth: What have you enjoyed most about your career with CBTR?  Or what has been your favorite part of your growth and transition within this company?

Jodi: “I have always been driven and ambitious so I didn’t allow anyone to determine my own outcome. The fact that I had the ability to grow at this company while being able to set goals and follow the path to those goals has been one of my favorite parts of being with CBTR. The company encourages people from within and cultivates their talents.  The history and longevity of this company creates a tight knit but welcoming group of people. There are still many agents here that started with me many years ago. I treasure those long standing relationships!”

Elizabeth: Within our company and our industry who is it you admire and why?

Jodi:Being with a national company, I have a great deal of respect for Coldwell Banker Corporation and its leaders- I believe the brand is the best in the industry.”

“It goes without saying I admire Beverly- in many ways- and completely appreciate and respect our partnership.  We have an ability to be reciprocally honest with each other, and are able to effectively communicate where we can build upon and strengthen each other. We have the ‘perfect blend of differences.’”

Elizabeth: What is your single most effective management tool?

Jodi:I see myself as a credible resource- our agents, Managers, and staff know they will have a strong advocate in me, but not without the high expectations that I hold myself to. They know I will be right there with them and they are able to communicate with me.”

Elizabeth: I see you as the liaison - the glue that keeps us all together. With CBTRs “open door policy” inspired by a “management team” philosophy, would you describe your relationship to the CEO, agents and other staff as being a liaison?

Jodi:Yes, I do see myself as a liaison. Department heads, staff, Managers and agents feel comfortable calling me with concerns or problems because they know I will give them a fair, straight answer, which comes from a place of honesty and sincerity.”

Elizabeth: You are very attuned to and communicable with your agents…very in touch with the field & steadily prepare CBTR agents for change, in a way that keeps you on top of it. How do you stay 'on top of it?'

Jodi:I just ‘get in it.' I invest, mentally and financially, in most of the current toys, technology, and programs and work at it by making time everyday to learn.”

Elizabeth: In your blog rosebowldaughter.blogspot.com, you share irreplaceable life lessons learned from your father, “The Coach,” who was a Rose Bowl Hall of Famer, ACC Head Football Coach and successful businessman  What single life lesson from “The Coach” would you share that has been a tangible, personal pivotal point for you that might have greatly influenced your future?

Jodi: “I have been greatly encouraged by my Dad. There were two things he used to say- 1. Don’t take life too seriously-you have to laugh at yourself. 2. Be courageous- show up, be fully and actively engaged.”

"He empowered people because he fully engaged and inspired people when he got in front of them. He taught them to show up, listen, laugh, and give it their all.”

Elizabeth:  Do you see any similarities between your father, “The Coach,” and Beverly’s father, Mr. Hubbard?

Jodi:  “Yes, I do. Both have and had expectations of hard work, success, and being your best. Neither of them were ‘faint of heart,’ and they took responsibility. Both learned through the school of ‘hard knocks’ so they both just ‘got things done’ and learned by doing. They both inspired people to get very comfortable and confident that if a mistake was made, you go ahead and make it right.”

Elizabeth:  It seems as though you have gotten it honest. As one of your agents personally trained by you, I learned a great deal from you inside and outside of your classes and through your ‘make things happen’ leadership style. You are an effective leader, teacher, and motivator –living by example-whom has many strengths. Where do you gain your strength and momentum?

Jodi:Well thank you for your kind words, Elizabeth. I have a great partner at home- Henry allows me to be me and keeps me very grounded in his quiet confidence. He offers me solice and objectivity when I need it most. We are who we are- together.”

“I have also always been ambitious and driven so even if I am physically tired, mentally I remain ambitious. I have a desire to be better. I also got tough love from my Mother (after graduating college) who threatened that after I left home, ‘You’re not moving home, give me a stack of your business cards.’ So I had a fear of not being able to pay my rent,” Jodi laughed. “I think my first 6 sales in real estate were as a result of my Mother and her sphere of influence! It was another powerful lesson in my life.”

Elizabeth: Have you always recognized your effectiveness as a leader?

Jodi:I haven’t always recognized my effectiveness as a leader and I haven’t always embraced it, but becoming a leader is a part of the journey. Everyday I strive to make a difference and be effective. Daily I ask myself, ‘Was I effective today?’ Leadership is not a mountain you climb or a place you arrive. It is a journey.”

Elizabeth: Have you ever gone through any professional transitional “growing pains” and fought yourself against being a leader?

Jodi: “Through challenges we experience in our lives, we certainly have growing pains- one for me has been learning when to wait and when to push forward. Going back to our perfect blend of differences, I like to make it happen and get it done where Beverly is very methodical. Sometimes the feedback isn’t easy because it slows me down. Over time, I continue to refine myself by embracing change, stepping up, learning, maturing and surviving by landing on my feet.”

Elizabeth: What words of wisdom would you share with young aspiring leaders striving to evolve, gain confidence in their abilities, and grow into their “leadership shoes?”

Jodi:Be open, let your guard down, seek out, engage …or go home because you aren’t being effective.  Worry about YOUR actions, you can’t make someone or something be what you want them to be. Be engaged by participating, focusing, accomplishing, practicing effective time management, and making a connection. Be enthused. Be engaged. Empower.”

Elizabeth: From the moment I began at Triad Real Estate School, attending classes in the old Greensboro office on Westridge, CBTR felt like a real estate home for me. Although I still interviewed with five of the major real estate companies, I always knew I would end up at CBTR not only because the tools and training surpassed the competition, but also because of the culture and the atmosphere, which you exemplify. How would you describe your view of our enigmatic culture?

Jodi:  “Our culture here at CBTR is hard to describe to those who are outside it, but I would describe it as one that has heart and integrity. Our company was founded by pulling together as a team.  We went through a lot to evolve into one strong culture. The leaders set the tone in how CBTR services the consumer, partners with its agents through the tools and training offered, courageously guides through tough times and focuses on moving out of them. Where else would you find your CEO competing in a 3-legged sack race to raise money for charity?” she laughed. “We all have the mentality to simply “get it done”.

Elizabeth: How do you rebound?

Jodi: “If I need a pump up during the day, I will walk around and check in. I am in the branches every week so the agents and their stories keep me enthused. I re-engage, which for me creates energy through other staff or agent activity and excitement. I rejuvenate in off hours by rising early, watching the bluebirds visit their boxes, gardening, and reading. Sometimes I just need to veg out on a Saturday watching old westerns- John Wayne is my favorite. And I love Starbucks!”

“I also believe in giving back to your community-currently most of my time spent volunteering is focused on Cancer Services of Winston-Salem and United Way.”

Congratulations, Jodi!

Visit Jodi’s blog                                See the press release 

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