Sherry talks on “Putting your values into your leadership roadmap” on Tuesday, January 23, at CEO Connect.
I distinctly recall Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate (BHGRE) CEO Sherry Chris approaching me as I exited the stage from an Inman Connect session 17 years ago. She had that fresh, eager look I see so often in younger people at our events — their eyes say it all: “I get what you are doing and I want to be part of it.”
This coming year, Sherry and her team at BHGRE will celebrate their 10-year anniversary, a new real estate company that launched at Inman Connect in 2008.
Full disclosure, Sherry became a dear friend like so many people from the dedicated Inman community. That friendship has prompted some to whisper that Chris gets special favors from us.
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Not true — she earns everything she gets from fully participating in the Inman platform.
She established a new leadership style, one of accessibility and presence. Too many CEOs fly in and out of events, projecting that they are too important to mingle, listen to others or even learn.
They demand to give keynote addresses and try to dictate who is on their panels so they only share the ideas with big shots like themselves.
Sherry shows up for our events from beginning to end; she takes time to speak to anyone and everyone who approaches her and often sits in the front row during sessions. She also responds instantly to our editorial team. (When they call, she does not toss them over to her PR folks.)
She has prompted me to begin to demand that other CEOs stay for the duration of Connect and spend more time with our community; they have a responsibility to help, mentor and listen to the next generation.
This is something Sherry understands well.
Entrepreneurs adore her, aspirational young women leaders follow her lead and her old boy peers have come to realize they have much more to learn from her than she does from them.
Plus, all of the industry trade groups ask her to speak, seek her advice and beg her to serve on their boards and committees.
What is her secret? Maybe it is her Canadian roots or her Irish background. Or maybe it is the fact that she understands leadership is purely about serving others.
Happy Birthday BHGRE, and thank you Sherry Chris for showing us all a new way of leading.