For the EVOLution of Business

Leading a "For Purpose" Company with Bret Garwood of Home Leasing

Episode Summary

Bret Garwood had experience leading in the nonprofit and government sectors before his current role as CEO of Home Leasing. Yet the transition to the for profit sector hasn't been as tough as you might think. While Home Leasing is in the for profit sector, they're also "for purpose." For Home Leasing, becoming a B corp wasn't about the certification. The purpose was to become the company they envisioned. Tune in to this episode to learn about the journey: -Measuring impact and more broadly sharing rewards -Advice to job seekers on a Conscious Capitalism journey -The two-way benefits of mentoring -The similarities and differences of leading in the nonprofit, government and for profit sectors Bret Garwood serves as Chief Executive Officer for Home Leasing and Home Leasing Construction. Before Home Leasing, Bret served as Senior Vice President for Multifamily Programs for New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), overseeing the development of affordable housing programs for 272 projects with more than 39,000 total housing units, generating a total investment of $15.7 billion in urban, suburban and rural communities. Prior to that, Bret served as Director of Business and Housing Development for the City of Rochester, planning the City’s economic development, housing and real estate functions under a mission to enhance Rochester through real estate development, neighborhood revitalization, business attraction, housing production and rehabilitation, and workforce development. Bret holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture from Lehigh University and a Master of Science in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University. He is a member of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing, and a recipient of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing (NYSAFAH) 2015 Advocate of the Year award and the 2012 Rochester Business Journal Forty under 40 Award.

Episode Notes

[2:45] Bret's interests at the intersection of architecture and social issues
[4:30] The differences between leading nonprofit, government and for profit organizations
[8:45] Past projects working on foreclosures during the housing crisis and working to reduce lead poisoning
[10:30] Getting a dream job in Albany overseeing affordable housing for the state
[12:30] A second boomerang to Rochester to join Home Leasing
[13:30] The founding (and re-founding) of Home Leasing
[15:30] Joining a family business as a non-family member
"I'd much rather work for an organization that is family-owned than investor-owned. They're going to think long term."
[19:30] A purpose focused on affordable housing - "to improve the lives of our residents"
[21:15] Becoming a B corp
"Having us beholden to an outside standard gives us the feedback about whether we're doing what we say...not just to get the certification, because the whole purpose was to become the company we envisioned."
[23:30] New initiatives and lessons learned from B corp certification
"How do we share the benefits of our company and create policies where everyone shares in our success?"
[26:45] Having conversations with employees on their holistic wellness and fulfilment
[29:00] Creating engagement with employees and other stakeholders through the B corp certification process and generating ideas from employees
[32:30] "Measuring some of the things I think are most important is difficult because they don't lend themselves to numbers...we all feel great when we're more profitable than the year before, but where we get true satisfaction is when we're more impactful than the year before."
[33:15] "One of the goals in our strategic plan is to always have a project that we're working on that is even better than anything we've ever done. More complex. More impactful. Helps more people. Is an industry standard for what affordable housing should be."
[34:15] Best practices for breaking down silos across the organization (without having more meetings)
-Educating and cross-training people across company functions
[40:00] Balancing open offices with quiet and privacy
[42:45] Advice for people on the Conscious Capitalism journey: "When you pick your first job, don't pick the company or the money, pick the boss. Find the person that cares about your future."
[44:45] The reciprocal gift of mentoring: "The great new innovative perspective is probably not going to come from me. It's going to come from the people in their 20s who have a unique perspective of what's going on in communities. So I consciously try to meet people that will challenge my ideas that I still hold from when I was their age, which are now dated and can be criticized."
[47:15] "If your only motivation is profit in the short term, that would never motivate me personally...I always try to remind myself that I thought I would have been happy, even thrilled, with much less success than I've had...that just proves to me that happiness doesn't come with success it comes with satisfaction."
[49:30] The future of Home Leasing - "We're very proud of that. We really think it shows what can be done when the community, the city, funders and developers work together to try to create a place that everybody can enjoy."