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Lessons Learned

Almost four years ago, I wrote a column after my father passed away reflecting on the lessons I learned from him that have helped me navigate my career. I recently had one of the most important lessons reinforced. Last week, my son Christopher passed away at the age of 33. I originally was not going to write this column about this very personal situation, but I decided that Christopher provided me with an important lesson well worth sharing. At a young age, Chris had the deep and lasting friendships of a much older and wiser man. He was passionate and dedicated to each and every relationship that he had. No less than 400 friends, family, co-workers, business clients, passing acquaintances, and fraternity brothers came for one last visit. What I learned, that I had not fully appreciated, was that he had a special knack for establishing, managing, and most importantly, religiously maintaining deep relationships and communicating regularly with everyone that he knew (even Calvin, the owner of the local Chinese restaurant). The point of this story is that my father counseled me when I left the house on my first day of work, that real estate is a relationship business. In the end, Christopher taught me that life is all about relationships…not a bad way to navigate though increasingly difficult times.

Tony LoPinto is a senior client partner and head of Korn//Ferry International’s Real Estate Practice and founder of SelectLeaders. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.
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