1) Tell us about Stewart Title Company
A: Stewart provides title insurance and related information services to consumers and real estate industry partners. Founded in 1893, we’ve grown from a small family business in Galveston, Texas, to one of the largest title companies in the industry. Today, we’re headquartered in Houston, and employ more than 5,400 associates in several countries across the world.
2) What are your responsibilities as group senior vice president and when did you accept this appointment?
A: As Stewart’s Eastern Region retail operations leader, I’m focused on mobilizing my senior team to build a culture of success. I work with them on strategies to align and mobilize our frontline workforce to manage and enhance our customer service delivery, grow our business development opportunities, advance our industry expertise and increase revenue. Essentially, I influence people who influence other people.
3) What was your position before this role?
A. I previously owned and operated a title company in Platte City, MO. After selling it to Stewart 15 years ago, I became Stewart’s Division President of its Kansas City-area operations. Upon building a successful track record, I was asked to oversee several other states, which eventually grew into my current role.
4) What is unique about your business and what are your company goals?
A: Although we’ve grown, we’re still a family-oriented company known for our values and exceptional customer service and people-centered approach to every interaction. This approach has allowed us to build trust and strong relationships, which are the cornerstone of every transaction and every deal.
Our vision is to be the most admired real estate services company. Our path to get there is only possible if our leaders are the most admired in our local markets. So my goal is to leverage my industry knowledge and relationships to create and empower teams and mentor leaders who can handle high volume, drive growth and maintain the exceptional customer service we’re known for.
5) What is your leadership style?
A. I’m all about serving and empowering others, so they can lead with confidence and make timely decisions. It’s an investment that can have big returns. I spend much of my time investing in my leadership team by listening to their ideas and concerns, engaging them in designing solutions, and I trust them to do the right thing. They’re very experienced and have great instincts. I’m blessed to have a great team!
6) To what do you attribute your success?
A: I learned long ago that I can’t do this alone if I wanted to be successful. So I focused on building strong teams around me of high performers with unique skills and who share Stewart’s values. I’ve found that I’m learning as much from them as they are from me. You’re never too young to learn something new.
7) If you had one piece of advice to someone starting out, what would it be?
A: It’s not enough to have talent, knowledge or expertise to be successful. It took me years to figure that out. I learned you have to develop strong relationships with your colleagues and customers. You have to be willing and want to help solve their problems and achieve their goals. That’s what matters. And that’s been the key to delivering consistent, sustainable growth in my operation.
8) What do you find most satisfying about your job?
A. I enjoy working with customers and associates who are focused on continuous growth and improvement. Driving growth or improving processes benefits both internal and external customers, and watching them succeed is one of the best parts of my job.
9) Why has Stewart been successful for so many years?
A: We’re committed to investing in our associates’ personal and professional growth. This is why many of our associates have such loyalty to Stewart. We treat them like family. I believe 100% in providing mentoring and training to our people and empowering them to make decisions that are in the best interest of Stewart and its customers.
10) What do you do in your spare time?
A. I travel a lot, so I really enjoy being at home with my family. I’ve been married to my wife Janelle for 30 years, we have two sons, 22 and 27, and we recently became empty nesters. I also love golf, because it requires personal growth, and you have to develop and stick to proven routines and think your way around the course without thinking too much.
11) Would you like to mention any mentors?
I was fortunate to enter the title industry in the early 80s, when I learned a lot from really smart people who were approaching the end of their careers. For the past 10 years, my mentor at Stewart has been Glenn Clements. He’s the best leader I’ve ever worked with. I’ll never forget the important lessons he has taught or his encouragement to pursue constant personal leadership development. The best definition of leadership I’ve seen is from John Maxwell, who said, “Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It’s about one life influencing another.”