RG 258 – Financial Education at The Grassroots Level – w/ Ron Brooks
What we have in store for you this week is an eye-opening episode with none other than Ron Brooks, who is here to talk to us about addressing the community’s financial plights at the grassroots level. Listen as we go over how he compels banks to protect seniors from fraud, helps the disadvantaged become homeowners, and connects people with the resources that they need.
Ron “Champ” Brooks Jr. is a real estate investor, a former banking executive with 18 years of experience, the owner of the 2nd black-owned co-working business in the world, and the host of The Minding Your Business Podcast. Today, he devotes his career to compelling banks to serve low to moderate-income communities better—and ultimately serve themselves—by protecting the elderly, investing in driving revenues, and reducing expenses. And not just for the black community, but for everyone else as well.
In this inspiring interview, we talk about why empathy is the core of community-building, whether it be through real estate investing or making housing loans more accessible, and what elements come into play when creating something that benefits everyone. Ron is someone who fully understands that banks and other financial institutions aren’t motivated to do something if there’s nothing in it for them, and he is a master at having these institutions realize that helping the community will also be beneficial for them in the long run.
There is a lot to unpack in this extremely uplifting episode, so don’t miss out if you want to know how you can give back—whether it’s by tackling financial issues in your own community at the grassroots level, or by helping other people acquire homes through real estate investing.
- You can learn a lot about a community by spending time with the people.
- The elderly are at the biggest risk for financial fraud and they need protection against it.
- When you want to restructure or improve a community, don’t contribute to gentrification.
- As real estate investors, we can only truly give back to the community when we treat people with empathy rather than just seeing them as sources of income.
Be Bold, Be Brave and Go Give Life a Crack!
Listen to Podcast
Ron Brooks (00:00:01):
I was always connected with the people, right. And I always wanted to lead, you know, by that example. And, you know, my team always knew when I came out to a branch, you know, I’m not there as an, I got you guy or any of that type of thing, read you’ll, I’m there to help get obstacles out the way and, um, you know, to help lead and coach for us to be successful. And I always want to remain connected to the people. You know, I was the guy that even as the VP, he could walk in and, you know, uh, get behind the teller line and go through and talk to someone in the through. Right. I never sell myself. I never looked at my title as that made me bigger or better than anybody else.
Reed Goossens (00:00:46):
Welcome to investing in the U S a podcast for real estate investors, business owners, and aspiring entrepreneurs looking to break into the U S market join Reed, as he interviews go getters risk takers and the best in the business about their journey towards financial freedom and the sheer joy of creating something from nothing
Reed Goossens (00:01:06):
Good. I get a ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to another cracking edition of investing in the U S podcast from Los Angeles. I’m your host, Rick, Goossens good as always every with us on the show. Now, I’m glad that you’ve all tuned into learn from my incredible guests and each and every one of them are the cream of the crop here in the United States. When it comes to real estate, investing, business, investing, and entrepreneurship, each show, I try and tease out their incredible stories of how they have successfully created their businesses here in the U S how they’ve created financial freedom, massive amounts of cashflow, and ultimately create extraordinary lives for themselves and their families life by design. As I like to say, hopefully these guests will inspire all of my cracking listeners, which are you guys to get off the couch and go and take massive amounts of action.
Reed Goossens (00:01:53):
If these guys can do it. So can you now, as you know, I’m all about sharing the knowledge with my loyal listeners, which is you guys, and there’s absolutely no BS on this show, just straight into the nuts and bolts. Now, if you do like this show, the easiest way to give back is to give us a review on iTunes. And you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter by searching at Reed Goossens. You can find the show, every podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and Google play, but you can also find these episodes up on my YouTube channel. So head over to Reed goossens.com, click on the video link, and it’ll take you to the video recordings of these podcasts, where you can see my ugly mug, but the beautiful faces of my guests each and every week. All right, enough of me let’s get cracking and into today’s show.
Reed Goossens (00:02:40):
The pleasure of speaking with Ron Brooks. Ron is the master of connecting people with resources with over 18 years as a banking executive, a real estate investor, and a one-time owner of the second black owned coworking business on the planet. Ron is a wealth of experience and an accomplished entrepreneur to boot to top it all off wrong, gives back to the wider community. But with these weekly podcasts called minding your own business show, where he interviews industry leaders, investors, CEOs, and business owners, all with the goal of sharing best practices and inspiration, I’m really pumped and excited to have him on the show today to share his incredible story with us. But not that, I mean, let’s get him out of here. Get I, Ron, welcome to the show head to until you mate,
Ron Brooks (00:03:20):
Hey Reed, thanks so much for having me, man. That’s tremendous. And, uh, I’m excited to be a part of this show, man. I’ve been a fan of it. Been able to listen to episodes and I’m excited to be here myself.
Reed Goossens (00:03:29):
That’s awesome. Well, Mike, thank you very much. And, and I had the pleasure of jumping onto your show during this quarantine time. So I guess before we get into it, how how’s, Carnton going for you? He
Ron Brooks (00:03:38):
Has a training it’s interesting read is I I’ve picked up my part-time, uh, teachers a good, um, I’ve got three daughters here, uh, ages 10, nine, and seven are doing a full-time virtual school. And, uh, in addition to operating my business here at home, I’m like a lot of people around the world and a lot of Americans I’m also having to, uh, be supportive, uh, for, uh, kind of K through 12 school. And so that’s been interesting to say the least, but I’m extremely fortunate Reed. I’ve got no complaints, man. Um, you know, I’ve been doing well, I didn’t have
Reed Goossens (00:04:14):
Children, sorry to interrupt. I didn’t have Jordan, but I can only imagine having kids going back to school and having to try and somehow juggle business and, and the work-life balance and having people, you know, continuing to grow your business, but also have kids not just coming at you. Hey dad, Hey, dad helped me with this. Help me with this.
Ron Brooks (00:04:30):
Yeah, yeah. You, um, what’s interesting is if you, you want to see some comedy, uh, read, I can send you some screenshots of the kids’ faces on. Um, that’ll really, if you’re ever feeling down, I can send you those. Those are there.
Reed Goossens (00:04:44):
I would say the least, I think that’s the new norm, right? Where, you know, we, everyone has to be appreciative of how hard parents work on both the mom and the dad and, you know, just juggling everything, you know, to becoming teachers overnight seems nuts. So, yeah, man, I definitely, I definitely don’t envy you at all. Um, but let’s get into the nuts and bolts of this show. And what I want to talk about today is first we’ll kick it off with, Hey, can you rewind the clock and tell me how you made your first ever dollar as a kid?
Ron Brooks (00:05:14):
Yeah, well, it’s interesting. So, you know, Reed, I grew up here, uh, I was born in Chicago, Illinois, but I grew up here at Memphis Tennessee, which where I’m currently am now and read what’s interesting is, you know, I grew up in, you know, what’s argued between Harlem New York and here, uh, in Memphis, Tennessee, one of the oldest black communities in the country, uh, that being the orange mountain area here in Memphis, Tennessee kind of Southeastern part of the city. And so, um, you know, growing up and, and, and facing some of those challenges and having, um, you know, very hardworking, uh, engaged parents, you know, I got started in athletics very early. Um, you know, at the age of four or five, I was playing basketball, um, in what’s called the amateur athletic union or the AAU. And I started making my first money was from selling NFL pencils actually.
Ron Brooks (00:06:07):
So I’m playing basketball, but at that time you could get all, yeah, I think there were, at that time, there were maybe 28 teams in the NFL, so you could get all 28 other pencils, you know, in one pack and kids, you know, my age and even older, you know, were, would buy these. And so I’d sell them for a quarter, a piece or you could get, you know, four for a dollar, of course. And so you could get a whole pack of these NFL pencils for like $2 and 50 cents or something like that, and then sell each one for a quarter. And so, you know, you make a little money. So, you know, for me, you know, having five or 10 bucks in my pocket at six or seven, you know, that was big money back then. I mean, you know, I could, I could take care of me and a few friends, the ice cream truck, you know, and, um, but from doing that, what I noticed is that, you know, obviously product is, um, you know, very important having something of the position in sale and providing a value.
Ron Brooks (00:06:58):
And so I learned that early on, um, you know, my dad was so, and he is a civil engineer, uh, entrepreneurship in school. And so, uh, able to, to see that, although he was not a full-time entrepreneur himself, um, he always shared read that value of, um, understanding what people need and being able to provide it. And then, you know, having some sort of, um, you know, mission around what you do so that you don’t get caught up just in the sole pursuit of, of money and, and financial gain. But, you know, you can do some of that while also providing something for people. So those pencils were great because everybody needed them for class and everybody wanted them to have their favorite team. And, uh, the Tyndale was big back then. So we were all playing the NFL games there and, uh, that was such a big deal there. My neighbor,
Reed Goossens (00:07:47):
I love that story of selling pencils, being very entrepreneurial at a young age and, uh, actually your dad and I have something in common, I’m a civil engineer as well as we went to school for. So, um, very, very cool. But I want to talk a little bit more about, you know, you mentioned challenges and growing up in, in the hollow mask, you know, of tendency for someone who hasn’t grown up in that, can you maybe paint a little picture of what were the day-to-day struggles in order to get you to where you are today? Because it’s such an accomplishment just in itself. And then we can talk a little bit about how you’re giving back to the wider
Ron Brooks (00:08:17):
Community. Yeah, absolutely. No, I appreciate that question read because, um, oftentimes you see what’s going on here in our country and a lot of people don’t always get the perspective, um, because sometimes, you know, again, it’s not always everybody’s fault, but we’re, you know, who we interact with is who we interact with. And we don’t always have a direct interaction sometimes with people from various communities. Um, you know, where I grew up as, and it’s like a lot of people that, you know, that may be listening, um, you know, th their social economic challenges, you know, in that community, this was a community that wants to thrive, read, um, you know, and a lot of the men in particular worked in factories and things like that, and they created middle-class job. And so from those middle-class jobs, then you’re able to support local entrepreneurs and local business.
Ron Brooks (00:09:04):
And a lot of people then would, you know, start working in a job read, and then, uh, you know, maybe branch off and start their own business. Um, of course, you know, you fast forward and, you know, some things obviously from the, you know, government political standpoint yeah. Impacts, you know, those jobs. And so then, um, you know, over times over the decades and when I was a little boy was in the eighties, um, this is when, you know, this was really kind of coming to a head where these factories would close and, and these men, it was difficult for them to, um, kind of find new skills or apply their skills in new areas. And so they struggled, uh, economically, and that just has a dot downward domino effect on the community. And so when I was growing up, um, oftentimes there weren’t a lot of men that were, um, you know, doing things, running businesses and, you know, being heads of households and, and, and really driving things.
Ron Brooks (00:09:59):
And so, you know, that has an impact. And so for a lot of kids, um, you know, when you come up in those tough social economic, um, areas, and you don’t have the mentorship or anybody to look to, to inspire to, um, you, you can aspire to the wrong element, you know, cause you look for who’s successful. Well, you know, who’s doing well in these neighborhoods was the drug dealer. It’s the, you know, the pump and it’s, it’s those folks, you see them doing well, they’re flashy. They they’re making money. The women love them, you know, at least from what you see. And so that’s, then what you can inspire to be. And one of the things that helped me through my career was, um, I went on a field trip to a bank. I actually ended up, uh, running, uh, later on. And once it got to my career, but as a boy, I got a chance to see people at a bank that looked like me and that were successful.
Ron Brooks (00:10:49):
They weren’t sell sellouts. They weren’t trying to act any different kind of way. They were, you know, from neighborhoods like mine and you’re able to see them you’ll be successful. So it’s that, uh, that vision sight read that I think helped know kids like me being able to then inspire. And I think, you know, a lot of other communities sometimes have, um, from an early, uh, yield standpoint in their walk, people have that vision and they can see someone that’s being successful. They could see a real estate investor, they can see, um, someone start their own business and be successful and know have a family and things like that. And if that’s what they want to do. And so, um, I was fortunate in getting that opportunity really to see that at a fairly young age and impressionable age of, um, people and not just everybody there that looked like me, but you know, kind of this, um, melting pot of people working together professionally, no matter what walk of life they came from for our common good, um, same just like in sports.
Ron Brooks (00:11:51):
Um, I played with, uh, you know, that came from all different walks of life and, uh, uh, many of them were still friends and connected today and those relationships help shape, you know, who I am and how I view the world and the level of empathy I’m able to have when things, um, impact people, even if we may not have come from the same area or, uh, grew up with the same way, um, whether that’s more well to do, or maybe that’s the bottom of the bottom. Um, you know, having that diversified interaction, uh, as really helped shape, but you know who I am. And so I’m very proud of that. And, uh, you’ll hope that answers your question.
Reed Goossens (00:12:31):
No, it, it does. Look, we can unravel this and it’s interesting to have those role models in life. And what you mentioned about some of that looks like you, right. And, and growing up, I’m sure as a black guy growing up, it was rare maybe to see someone in the banking world, like, you know, w and this, this stigma of society that looks at the black community with, for sporting and music, but in the financial way. And that would have been tough for you. So did that help have a massive impact on you looking for those inspirations growing up and not going to the other glitz and glamor that you might’ve thought was cool? Yeah. When you’re a kid. Yeah,
Ron Brooks (00:13:06):
Absolutely. Cause you know, one of the things that you learn that know a neighborhood, and then, and again, there’s another side of it where I saw, you know, atrocities that were done that were systemic, you know, in neighborhoods, you know, and that’s unfortunate, but you know, one of the things that, you know, growing up in a neighborhood is when you see those people, you know, a lot of times outside of the neighborhood read the people that you speak success for our athletes, entertainers who aspire to either be, you know, I was playing basketball, played other sports, but no, you aspire to then be Michael Jordan and you aspire to be Allen Iverson. You aspire to be the other guys that you see on TV, or you aspire to be the rapper, you know, the JZ, the NAS, the, um, the little Wayne and, and those types of folks.
Ron Brooks (00:13:49):
And so those become your role models, uh, sometimes. And then that’s what you aspire to do. And you don’t see people do things like in banking, like you mentioned. And yeah, I was saying earlier, um, and so that, that exposure to be able to see them and, you know, work and have a cool factor, right? Of course, it’s easy to follow along, LeBron James, right. You can follow his pathway, you can see the money he makes, it’s all public. Um, but you don’t know that with the guy, that’s the banker that’s making, you know, 60, 70, $80,000 a year and comes home. And they’ll kind of does this thing. There’s not a huge sex appeal to that. Right. Um, you know, there’s, uh, you know, his, his salary is not public. There’s not a huge salary, you know, cause the drug dealer walks by and he’s making that per month.
Ron Brooks (00:14:34):
Right. And so, but he’s always looking over his shoulder and of course that’s a lifestyle that we know what kind of end that can have. Um, you know, having men mentors, you know, uh, you know, in playing sports, you know, having, you know, great folks and people around me that kind of, you know, uh, show me a different pathway and, um, how that pathway can have a cool appeal to it. And I think that’s something that kids need today is, um, the exposure one, but they need to understand that there is a cool factor to, um, being able to, you know, start your own business, you know, kind of own your own narrative. And, um, you’ll be able to drive commerce one for yourself. And then, you know, if there’s any way that you can, you’ll be able to then give back, um, that’s just tremendous and the trifecta all the way around. Yeah.
Reed Goossens (00:15:25):
And you segue into sort of the next part of the show, which is ultimately what you do do now is what is giving back and aspiring other young kids who, who look like you and want to aspire to be like you, and let’s not address the elephant in the room. It’s, it’s because of the systemic racism in this country and around the world, let’s not get it wrong. Let’s not see in Australia as well. Trust me. And with the recent events, even myself as a white person have to check myself a little bit. And so I’m very fortunate to have you on the show to share your story with us, but also how you’re going out and helping the wider community, not just the black community, but the wider community to inspire people to for change. And that’s the grassroots of what I think in my opinion will help the systemic nature of racism change.
Reed Goossens (00:16:10):
And so can you maybe talk to us a little bit about what you are doing today in and around? You know, I know we spoke a little bit in the green room before about, you know, holding banks accountable to the elder elderly folk, uh, being an inspiration and a mentor to younger teens who are coming up from my babies, low socioeconomic areas. What else? Uh, that’s just two massive ones in itself that these things make me tick, right? These making things, making them very valuable to you. So, and I can see that through your, through just speaking to you and being on your show. So do you want to share with the audience how that has inspired you to be more and do more and to what your dad said before? It’s all about having that mission rather than just looking at the self-worth and the financial freedom you get for yourself and your family, but also giving back to the wider community.
Ron Brooks (00:16:56):
Yeah, absolutely. No, a tremendous re tremendous question and, you know, um, you know, my banking career, you know, I’ll, I’ll kind of start there because, you know, I was, you know, actually, you know, 17, 19 years in the banking industry, I started while I was in college. Um, you know, part-time teller, um, progressed through. And my last role, I was an executive where I was responsible for 96 employees at this particular bank, which was two thirds of the employee population, uh, reported to me, uh, in the retail area, um, with, uh, you know, 10 branches and, and a 20 seat call center. And so I was responsible for, you know, a good bit. And so, um, from that retail area, I was always connected with the people, right. And I always wanted to lead, you know, by that example. And, you know, my team always knew when I came out to a branch, you know, I’m not there as an I got you guy or, or any of that type of thing, read, you know, I’m there to, to help get obstacles out the way and, um, you know, to, to help lead and coach for us to be successful.
Ron Brooks (00:17:52):
And I always want to remain connected to the people. You know, I was the guy that even as the VP, he could walk in and, you know, uh, get behind the teller line and go through and talk to someone in the through. Right. I never sell myself. I never looked at my title as that made me bigger or better than anybody else. It’s kind of like a, you know, a sports team, you know, I have a role on the team and if my role is to defend or do whatever, then that’s what I do, but it doesn’t make me bigger than the team, or are bigger than the next guy who has a different role. Uh, but all of it’s important to being successful. And so, um, you know, when, when that ended, um, and, you know, I’ll share with you that, uh, you know, that did it end on the greatest terms, um, because of my ill someone’s because my entrepreneurial spirit and wanting to see things be successful and sometimes in leadership, uh, as, you know, read, um, yeah, everybody doesn’t see things that way or see the world that way.
Ron Brooks (00:18:48):
Some people see the world just solely as a, you know, kind of what’s in it for them. And, and people are just kind of a requisition number, uh, sometimes. And that can be unfortunate. And so when you have that difference of view, like can have an impact. And so, um, when you get to what I do today, uh, in, you know, going out and compelling these same banks to, you know, as you have branches in these areas and these various communities, right. And it doesn’t mean that, um, you know, there’s a negative light shined on, uh, a well-to-do community, right? That’s tremendous. And obviously you should be doing business there, prudent. And if you have target audience there, uh, you should do business. Um, what I hold them accountable to it most do very well with this read, but some need constant coaching and oversight is to have that equity across where they do business.
Ron Brooks (00:19:40):
So everywhere they have branches, um, you’ll have similar services and similar offerings, right. Uh, in those areas. And then a big part of that is the, like you mentioned that, you know, the seniors, um, those matriarchs and patriarchs that help build our communities and help get us to where we are today. Um, you know, make sure that those folks are protected and, and community banks are our prime in a, in a really good place to do that. Um, because they know these people, um, and then they’re able to, uh, from a financial standpoint, be good, um, fiduciary partners and, you know, providing, you know, resources for them, you know, affordable housing, um, you know, providing you’ll safe, havens and safe places for them. I mean, even during this, COVID where, um, seniors are, are heavily impacted, um, apparently by the virus that to make sure that they’re safe and they’re able to interact with families.
Ron Brooks (00:20:35):
And, um, they’re protected from financial exploitation, which is really big, um, read, um, just last year, according to the CDC, uh, if you go to cdc.gov, you’ll find this stat, um, 2.9 billion was lost last year to elder financial exploitation in this country. I mean, so you’re talking almost $3 billion. And when that happens, you know, you paint the picture for the impact of that. You know, someone that’s worked their whole life building their community, right. Whether they’ve owned a business or they’ve worked a job, they’ve raised family just to get to their latter years and to have that scammed from them in some type of way. And they’re not, you know, they’re not young like you and I, they’re not able to just go back out and, you know, uh, relaunch their business or sell more product or find more talent. Right. Um, and so, you know, that has a devastating impact.
Ron Brooks (00:21:26):
Um, there are all those lives and then on our communities. And so I saw an opportunity to be able to give back in that way, um, with my relationships with those community banks. And, and again, it’s, it’s a compelling of, you know, don’t forget about these folks over here and let’s make sure that they have resources, you know, as well. And the benefit the bank receives, um, by doing that, you know, is tremendous. And like I say, most of them read, you know, they do see the value in that. Um, sometimes it just takes, and we talked a little bit about this earlier. You, you made a great point is, you know, that understanding that empathy and having someone like me that looks like me, but has been in their chair. Um, so there’s a credibility, uh, be able to speak from the empathetic standpoint because a lot of those bankers don’t live in those communities and they don’t have families in those communities.
Ron Brooks (00:22:16):
And so it’s, it’s when you don’t have that connection, it’s harder to, um, to feel that empathy. And that’s why the videos with the unfortunate incidents that have taken place and, uh, Minnesota and Wisconsin and other areas, that’s why the camera phone has been so valuable because it allows people to see, you know, say a George Floyd and know that, you know, a Georgia boy could be in anybody’s family. And, you know, there’s a human element to that. So you don’t have to be black. You don’t, you know, you, you can see the human element of, you know, what, that’s just not right. Right. And so the same thing, and, you know, with what I do with, uh, banks and can compelling them to work in those communities, as you know, for all of us to be able to say, you know what, that’s not right. You know, even from here, you know, I haven’t spent much time in Australia, but if that video popped up in Australia, right. And the person didn’t look at me, I should be able to look at that video and say, you know what? That’s not right. You know? Um, because you know, there’s a human element that comes first.
Reed Goossens (00:23:16):
It’s so true. The human element, it’s not, it’s not a political thing. It’s a human element. A fellow, a fellow brother and sister has been hurt. And that’s what we need all care about. And I think what you’re doing on the grass roots there and helping the elderly people in communities of low socioeconomic communities is so important because you, you, you have that empathy with them. Right? My, my question to you is how hard has it been to, to persuade banks? You know, these banks that have their systems in place maybe even nationwide or statewide, and you seem like a very slow moving set in their ways, you know, probably have a very white board, you know, like how do you, how do you get them to understand and bring that empathy to the fore? Because I feel like that’s, that’s so hard when we’re in this world of very polarized political stratosphere, that anything you trying to get someone to see the other side that, that may, they may not have never, ever experienced is like, merely like shoveling, excuse my language, uphill. You know what I mean? Like, they’re rolling a Boulder up a hill. It’s, it’s just it’s must be, it must be excrutiatingly tough. So what, how do you go about handling in showing them that this is the benefits that this bank could potentially benefit from by offering the same services as a, as an affluent neighborhood?
Ron Brooks (00:24:33):
Yeah, absolutely. No, it’s tremendous. And what’s interesting about that when you asked that question, Reed is, uh, a lot of the neighborhoods that I work in. It, isn’t always a situation where, um, it’s separated by race. Uh, in some instances it’s more just the social, uh, you know, economics piece of it. So, you know, I work a lot in the Midwestern part of the United States, and there are a lot of those counties rewear. Um, you know, they’re, they’re pretty much all, it’s pretty homogenous in terms of, of race. Um, but what you’ll see is you’ll have, you know, a, um, more well-to-do census track and then a less well-to-do census track, and they all may look alike. Right. Um, but there’s just that difference in the social economics. And so even in those instances, um, you know, to answer your question, I, you know, I sit down, you know, with the bank’s leadership and, um, banks are required to fulfill a regulation that was enacted in 1977, uh, by the Jimmy Carter administration, which is a community reinvestment act or CRA.
Ron Brooks (00:25:34):
And so, um, that prevents them from red lining, which is a tactic that they used to do on a map to determine, okay, we’re going to give, uh, terms here that are different than over there, or we won’t lend over here at all. And so it prevented that and made that illegal for them to do that. And so they’re required and they’re examined for that. Um, you know, every, you know, few years to make sure that they’re doing that. And so as a component of that, um, they’re already kind of being charged for it. Um, I think, you know, the big thing that they lack that I provide read is, you know, like I’m sharing with you, it’s the connection to the story, right? So I’m not coming in as the bully saying, you’re got to go on and doing it for black people. You know, that’s not really my approach, or you’ve got to go do this for poor people for seniors it’s to bring it to their awareness.
Ron Brooks (00:26:24):
So specifically it’s, you know, recording a story with, um, a senior who’s been impacted, right. A family member who may be also be a customer of theirs. So some of their big customers, a big, you know, say a big real estate investor whose mom is in a senior facility. Right. Um, he, or she would appreciate that bank’s support of, Hey, I’ve got my mom lives in that home and I don’t want her to, you know, find out her checking account has been emptied or, um, you know, have her abused at the home by a caregiver or, um, the, the iPad that, you know, mom or dad uses to communicate with grandchildren and great-grandchildren during, and even for me, you know, disappears and is stolen. Um, and so it’s sharing those stories again to drive that empathy, um, and then connect that to the value and the benefit back to the bank.
Ron Brooks (00:27:17):
So it is addressing the what’s in it for me, um, which, like you said, I mean that always can end up being the elephant in the room, you know, it’s oh yeah, that sounds great, Ron. But you know, again, what’s in it for us. Why, why should we care? Or why should we do that? Um, and so it’s, you know, tying that back to the value. And I leveraged a lot of my experience, you know, they’re read, um, as a business owner and as a former banker, and I say, well, here’s the benefit. Um, you know, a lot of these homes, you know, those folks, uh, even if they’re not high on the economic scale, um, they tend to have nest eggs and they tend to look for banking services and, um, you know, what better than to have your bank go in and showcase as a good faith that you’re supporting the senior, you know, facility and, you know, want to, you know, see crime, you know, reduced or instances of abuse or, uh, and then definitely the financial exploitation, the second piece.
Ron Brooks (00:28:13):
So that’s kind of the, the opportunity business development, a piece of it read the other piece is the compliance piece and the, um, the risk management that comes from it, because guess who holds the bag when the senior comes to the bank and says, my money’s gone, right. Um, they’re do an affidavit with the bank and the bank’s given them the money back. And then they have to go after the person who did it. Well, the person who did it may be in Nigeria, right. So good luck getting them to extradite, you know, a person and, and do all that type of thing. Um, and so oftentimes you end up in a situation where you’re, um, you know, uh, I guess holding the bag. So it’s an economic loss for the bank. And so when you look at, you know, how much loss they take from fraud, um, it behooves them then read to, you know, to really be active. So it just takes someone like me, who’s kind of coming from a slightly different community, um, but knows their language and knows what makes them tick. Um, and being able to just share with them that empathetic piece of it, um, to understand how they can make that investment and then, um, making that then as the investment piece, as streamlined as possible.
Reed Goossens (00:29:27):
Yeah. And I think it boils down to that fair and reasonable, right. What’s fair and reasonable in life. What do you expect is this, is this a fair and reasonable ask that this community, and does not have a certain banking system because it’s a lower socioeconomic community, not by fault of its own. And so understanding the empathy of it. I think it’s super important. I want to pivot a little bit into the, the affordable housing piece, because I know that’s another big arrow or tool in your tool belt that you’d love to. You’re a massive proponent of it. So do you want to walk me through what you’re doing? There’s a banking side of it, but then what are you doing from, um, the, the urban development side for the low cost housing to help the low socioeconomic communities be bolstered up with some affordable housing, as things get more and more expensive and, and, and, you know, wages aren’t growing, but the cost of living seems to always keep, keep increasing at the
Ron Brooks (00:30:14):
Same time. Yeah, absolutely. No, tremendous they’re read, um, you know, with affordable housing is interesting in that a lot of these communities and you hit the nail on the head with pricing. And so, you know, from the developer contractor standpoint, you know, they’re always balancing the, you know, the cost of labor, the cost of materials and, and, you know, that kind of from your business, um, you know, those costs are always, you know, they rarely go down, but they certainly can go up. Exactly. Um, and then there’s the, the geopolitical piece of it, there’s the taxation and, you know, some things like that, um, you know, that make it difficult to build or rebuild in certain areas. You’ve got gentrification, uh, oftentimes that can be a detriment to an area while it can help areas. In some instances I’ll oftentimes it ends up in the relocation of the current population.
Ron Brooks (00:31:03):
Uh, so then it becomes, you know, criminal, in my opinion, um, you know, but, you know, from the affordable housing standpoint, it’s, it’s also, you know, compelling these lenders and banks to, uh, and invest in these areas, um, and, you know, kind of rebuilding and restructuring housing. And so there’s, you know, a number of community-based groups that I connect with. Um, and it’s something that I do, um, you know, from the real estate standpoint is, um, you know, uh, you know, teach people know one, um, how to prepare to be an owner, right. Um, you know, that’s so important because there’s a certain mindset that you have to have, um, to get people to understand that even in your community, um, you have the option to purchase your housing. And it is not as limited as what you’ve got to have this great credit, and you’ve got to have all this cash sitting around and a lot of people, that’s what they believe they believe.
Ron Brooks (00:31:59):
So they have more of a defeatist attitude towards it because they say, well, Ron, I don’t have $50,000 sitting around and I don’t have, you know, uh, an 820 credit score. And so I’m sharing with them that you don’t have to, and none of those, um, there’s a ways that you can own either through terms, um, there’s ways you can get involved in wholesaling, um, and things like that to, to help people and then help get to a point of, of ownership, you know, for yourself. And so, you know, they’re getting, going into these neighborhoods, connected with the banks and then connecting with the people. So specifically, you know, working with a bank and, and their retail marketing team, you know, making phone calls and even visiting, um, those people in the neighborhood. And a lot of times you find that you build the credibility just by spending time.
Ron Brooks (00:32:47):
Um, you go there, you spend time, you go to the community center, uh, you know, uh, yeah, you might play a little basketball with some of the kids and then you sit down and have a car, right. Um, and then some of those community leaders, you sit down and you say, you know, how can we, um, be able to get you connected to the resources? And, um, I found to read that oftentimes, um, people who have resource, they want to do things there’s just no one there to connect the dots. Right. Um, you know, so they often shy away because they get beat up a lot. They get pounded, you should be doing this. You’re not doing that. You know, and it’s, you know, people are always quick to, you know, to up or join the Twitter mob and, you know, try to counsel everybody and that sort of thing.
Ron Brooks (00:33:32):
And so I’m going to, um, uh, in, uh, from a standpoint of, you know, let’s connect let’s network and give you a chance to see it. And as you see it and experience it, you know, your mind will connect to, you know, how you can help and, and that sort of thing. So it’s not you running the people with your hands out and saying, oh, give me, give me, give me so, you know, getting people to understand that, you know, these folks are not looking for handouts contrary to the popular belief. Sometimes they don’t want handout. Uh, they just want to be treated fairly, you know, like you said earlier, um, you’ll fair and equitable and you’ll give them a chance. Right. And, and, and giving them chance they may not have the, the most polished record, um, for the most polished speech. Um, but the, you know, most of them will work hard and, um, they want to be able to do for themselves.
Ron Brooks (00:34:24):
Right. And so it’s, uh, once you connect them, uh, you know, connect the parties together and let them experience each other, cause that’s been a big thing, you know, for, for myself, three is yeah, because I’ve had this diverse, um, exposure and upbringing, uh, and understanding how people on different sides of the tracks think. And there’s a lot of misconceptions on either side, right? Yeah. If I go back to my old neighborhood, they think everybody that’s got money cheated somebody and, you know, was able to get over or had a silver spoon in their mouth, you know, and all this type of thing. And then when I go to the, the other side of the tracks, they think that everybody over here is lazy and you know, all they want to do is live off the government and, you know, and what happens is when they get together, they find out, again, going back to what we talked earlier, there’s a human element involved.
Ron Brooks (00:35:11):
And there’s three things, things that we all want, no matter what we look like in the mirror, you know, we all want to do a little better for ourselves, a little better for our families and a little better for our committee. So all of us have that common goal. Now how we get there is, you know, we all have our different ways to Sunday on how we get there, but we all generally deep down, that’s what we want. Um, and then we want to be able to obviously enjoy life and that sort of thing, um, and, and give back. And so, uh, yeah, that’s been the, you know, the big ways and it’s, it’s not easy, right? It’s not easy to get people to, um, see outside their bubble. Right. And so what you have to do is bring it close to them and think of those situations, like we talked about, you know, George floor that could be any in anybody’s family and anybody could have a brother or cousin or a dad or an uncle, um, a really good friend, um, that that can happen too. Um, and, and there’s been, you know, those were high profile, but, you know, read, there’s been tons of things that have taken place, um, all around. And so it’s, it’s connecting people to that. Um, so they can see the empathy and, and see that human side. Wow. Well, I, a lot
Reed Goossens (00:36:25):
There to unpack it and I do want to be respectful of your time. But one of the, one of the things that came up to me was the analogy of like a cooking pot, like a recipe, you know, and part of the recipe is adding some flour and adding an egg and adding different elements. And these are all, whether that be through banks might be the egg, but, but also what I heard you there is, is, uh, financial education, um, on the, at the grassroots level and showing people that there’s, they’ve got this preconceived notion of how, of home ownership and there’s many ways that you can get to that goal without thinking you need to have a 8,820 score and $50,000 sitting around how important is,
Ron Brooks (00:37:04):
Well, maybe not in how important, what
Reed Goossens (00:37:06):
Elements are involved in that recipe, because obviously that you need to buy in from the bank, you need to have the, you need at the local community and, and the urban development, you know, the city involved with, um, wanting to, to improve neighborhoods, um, that, that, that are in the low socioeconomic and beat maybe have been neglected in the past and trying to change that viewpoint of the lowest side of the tracks of XYZ, which is really tough in itself with deep seated, but both racial, but also upbringing type of, of, um, mindset. But then there’s also the financial education piece and tying those all together, that recipe together in order to bake the cake is really where you come in, right? Like, you’re that you’re sort of the glue to keep it all together. So I guess, is there any one element that’s more important than the other all needs to come together on the table to make sure that we are making this cake correctly and everyone’s going
Ron Brooks (00:37:57):
To benefit from it. Yeah. You know, that’s a beautiful, uh, you know, analogy that you give read. And yet I would answer that to say that it, you know, just like a cake, you know, every ingredient is important, right. Because when you have your cake as a whole notice, you don’t see all the ingredients once you have the whole cake because you see the outside of it. Um, but anybody that’s baked anything knows that there was butter that went into that. There were eggs, there was flour, there was, yeah, there’s icing across the top. And, and what makes that analogy really beautiful is the diversity of all of that. Think about it. Every ingredient in that cake came from somewhere else. For the most part, it was produced somewhere, the eggs might’ve came from Kansas, you know, the, the sugar and the icing might’ve came from Florida, you know, it, but it all comes together for this one cake that’s on your table.
Ron Brooks (00:38:42):
Right. And so every component of that then becomes important because also someone who eats cake a lot, you know, because you can’t see my stomach or listening someone who loves cake. Yeah, exactly. That, you know, that if, if some of those ingredients are missing, you know, that impacts the, either the, the integrity of the cake, its ability to form, um, it impacts the taste, the smell, you know, if you ever had a cake, you know, without sugar, you know, you know, that that can be impacted, right. Um, you know, without using the eggs and flour, it’s not going to, um, bake up and fluff up without using the yeast and all the different, everything that goes into it. And so, you know, I equate that analogy, um, to, you know, within the community is that, you know, there’s no kind of one ingredient it’s incumbent upon us all, um, to be able to come together and work.
Ron Brooks (00:39:33):
And so it requires the financial education. It requires, you know, kind of things at the government level to set, um, kind of the playing field, um, all of us as, as citizens within a community to, um, to help connect and support. And so, you know, at the very beginning of that is, um, is mindset and mindset gets shaped by that exposure. Like we talked about earlier, um, when you can see it and you can see it work, um, that takes away that pessimism in that cynicism, sometimes that people have in communities, um, because they’ve been, you know, sometimes led astray and, and that sort of thing. And, you know, they’ve been scammed. And so they have that pessimism and cynicism, and so they haven’t seen it work. And so then they don’t trust it. And so what you have to do is you have to build that trust up by letting them see that.
Ron Brooks (00:40:26):
So at the very beginning, they need to see people own their home. Right. And so what you have to do is, is, uh, expose them to that, that you can do that you don’t want, like you say, have to have all those things in place. Um, let’s help you get those things in place. Um, but in the, in the meantime, let’s challenge the critical thinking in the minds that, and then when you go to the banks and you say, yes, we know you have to have risk management. We know you’re not in the business of just giving out money to every single person, right. Um, they’re required by law to be prudent with, uh, with the money that they’ve been entrusted as a steward to manage. And so we get that, um, they’re also in the risk business and sometimes you have to remind some banks that they’re in the risk business.
Ron Brooks (00:41:12):
That’s what banking is. You’re in the risk business. You put money in the air, um, you’re taking the credit risk and you’re looking to get paid back with interest on that risk. And every single person that walks through the door is some level of credit risk, right. Because we’re human beings, right. Biggest wildcards in the world. And so, because the human being can change, you know, it’s not like a rock, right? The rock is a rock, right. If you sit it down, it won’t move to you, move it. Human beings are completely different. Right. You know, we, we have a thought at one o’clock in a different thought that one-on-one, um, and so it, it’s, it’s bringing all those things together. And that’s why I love that analogy that you gave read, because you know, all those ingredients, like I spoke about the, the education, the health, that’s another piece of it.
Ron Brooks (00:41:58):
Um, that’s a huge impact. Um, you know, the ability to feel good about yourselves. I mean, you know, there’s, you know, when you have a business that’s doing what you feel good about yourself. If you’ve got a job, you know, that you love and, you know, doing well and you know, that sort of thing, you feel good about yourself, you have an identity. And, uh, sometimes in these communities, people don’t have that identity. And so they go create it. Right. And sometimes they created, um, unscrupulously and then that creates a lot of major issues that, uh, oftentimes we see. And so, you know, having that cake and the ingredients come together, um, and I think that’s what you’re seeing around the country is this awakening to, you know, we saw it in a way, oh nine. And we talked about my podcast with you was, you know, in a way, this awakening of entrepreneurship, that, all right, boys and girls, we, you know, you can’t put all your eggs in one basket and that sort of thing, and you kind of need to diversify and you’re why are we okay having multiple debts, but not multiple incomes, you know, that sort of thing.
Ron Brooks (00:43:01):
And so that began challenging the thinking of this country. And now I think what’s happening read is, um, that critical thinking is getting challenged from a, um, you know, from a social justice standpoint and, you know, the benefit of, of equity. And I think companies that embrace that and banks that can be embrace that are gonna do very well in this next evolution of what life is, wants this pandemic subsides. I think the people that are willing to truly embrace that and see that human element and see that cake and know that, um, you don’t bake a cake by just eggs, right. Or just sugar, right. Won’t make a cake. And so, um, I think as, as you know, leaders see that and they transition and they get more comfortable with it and more exposed to it, um, and have it in their circle, you know, a lot of times you’ll, we’re, we’re so segment in this society, no, you know, I’ve got my friends, you’ve got your friends, you know, and these are the only people I ever interact with. Um, and so, you know, once you get a chance to kind of step outside of that and see these people, and you’re like, you know what, it’s not so bad. Or it’s not like what I read or what someone told me, right. Or my preconceived notion about it. And again, that’s on either side, right? Because both sides of the tracks have that. Right. And it can impede that ability to come together for those ingredients to bake a good and tasty cake.
Reed Goossens (00:44:35):
I want it, I want to be respectfully, Tom. But one question I have for you right at the end here is we’ve got a lot of investors who listen to the show. A lot of people who are very into, let’s just say, financial freedom for themselves right now, but what can we all do as real estate investors and business investors
Ron Brooks (00:44:49):
To make an impact on the greater community?
Reed Goossens (00:44:52):
What’s one thing we, you know, what’s a piece of advice you can give to all
Ron Brooks (00:44:54):
Of us. Yeah. I, I think a big thing is, um, to be able to have the empathy through engagement, through listening, um, you know, w you know, many of the they’re in real estate and you become a landlord and, and that can be a tremendous thing. You know, sometimes being a landlord can have a negative connotation. Um, yeah. But it’s tremendous around this country. It’s one of the things that makes this country great is the ability to own real estate, um, being a landlord and, and provide housing, you know, for someone else. But I think the one thing that real estate investors can do is, is have that empathy and, and be willing to listen. And I love what you said, you know, and, and interview on my podcast about how you work with tenants. And, and even as, as the pandemic was coming along and anticipating, um, where there might be gaps or, or concern, and then the relationship that you have with the tenant, with, you know, the ability to have, um, that two way communication, uh, I think is tremendous.
Ron Brooks (00:45:51):
So I think that, that’s the number one thing that I think real estate investors, particularly those that are, you know, you’re, you’re buying and you’re holding and you’re, um, you, you know, you have tenants and that sort of thing is that, you know, kind of listening and that connection. And then, you know, kind of along that, the other side of it is if you’re kind of, you’re more of a buy and flip, uh, you know, type guy or girl, um, you know, look at who you’re selling to, and being mindful that, um, you know, going into a neighborhood and adding Starbucks and, you know, adding, you know, uh, all these corporations and things like that can look good. They can have nice, they can convert real estate into beautiful structures and then things like that. But, um, oftentimes what can happen is you can contribute to the gentrification to where the current resident population can no longer afford to live there.
Ron Brooks (00:46:44):
And they end up being forced to move or, um, you know, uh, getting pushed out or that sort of thing. And so, you know, I I’d hope that real estate investors would be mindful of that. And that goes back to that empathy piece of, um, you know, going in, when you go into neighborhoods and you look at the spreads and, and things like that, that’s all tremendous. Um, but don’t forget about the people that are there. And is it such that, you know, find creative ways to be able to, um, restructure and, and improve a community, um, but not move the current residents who, uh, love that community and have supported that community. Um, you know, don’t price them out or know, kind of, you know, create a situation where economically they, they can’t remain in their home. And so I challenge you all of us know in that capacity that’s in real estate.
Ron Brooks (00:47:34):
Um, if we can do that, those one, you know, kind of one thing combined, you know, Reed, I think that, you know, it’ll be, again, it creates this trifecta of wins, right? Real estate investors win. Um, the community wins and then, you know, overarching, you know, our, our country wins, uh, when we’re able to do that. And I think as you know, like we talked about before on either side, I think when real estate investors see that and see that as being something that’s beneficial, um, certainly economically, but just overall to their business and that you can lay your head on your pillow and feel good about what you’re doing. Um, I think that’s going to speak volumes for us. Yeah. 100%
Reed Goossens (00:48:12):
Mine, I think at the end of the day, we’re all in the business, we’re in the people business, right? Whether we’re real estate investors, we’re providing housing, whatever spectrum of the housing sector you’re on, but providing shelter. Right. And one thing that pandemic has at least taught me is that without my tenants, I don’t have a business. Right. And so making sure that we are not the big, bad landlord, we’re not that sort of stuff. We’re there to support them and, and, and see them and hear them in the fact that they might’ve lost their job without, because it’s not no fault of their own. Right. And we want to work with them. But I also understanding how the investment decisions you make today will impact a community in years to come. And so being empathetic towards that, and I think that’s what it’s been the real crux of this show has been showing empathy towards one another, regardless of what side of the tracks you’re on, because we are all humans at the end of the day. It’s not a sort of political sport. It’s, it’s, we’re, we’re just trying to try and do what’s fair and reasonable for everyone involved, not just for your own back pocket. So yeah, love it. Or am I look, we’re going to get into the final lightning round. It’s called the top five investing dips. Ready to get into it. Yep. Let’s do it, mate. What’s the number one habit you practice to keep on track towards your
Ron Brooks (00:49:19):
Goals? Um, yeah, th th the top thing for me read is, um, to, you know, write down, you know, I, with all the technology that we have today, I try to make sure that I, I write things down. I, every morning, uh, I write down just real good, and it sounds kind of cheesy that sort of thing. But I write down just a couple of things real quick, that I’m really, um, you know, either proud of, or that I’m grateful for. Right. And then what do I need to accomplish at the end of the day? Right. So, you know, whether it’s recording this podcast with you, whether it’s, you know, recording on my own podcast, whether it’s having a conversation with a bank you know, what do I do that moves the needle? Can I talk to one person, you know, um, you know, in the community or, or, you know, you’re one banker and, you know, maybe share with them a video of, of, you know, here’s, what’s going on right here in your backyard that you may not see.
Ron Brooks (00:50:10):
Right. Um, and so, you know, and then you think of that personally, you know, with my girls and, you know, with my wife and with family, you know, w what do I need to accomplish? What do I need to be available for? You know, that sort of thing. So I like to write it down, cause it helps commit that commitment piece of it you’ll find when I just I’m typing stuff, just copy and paste and stuff. It doesn’t have the same effect on me. I can still get it done, but there’s nothing like, you know, just, you know, taking a pencil and, or a pen and just writing it down and putting a couple of notes beside it, you know, what am I doing? And what’s the impact, right. And who’s benefited from it besides just myself.
Reed Goossens (00:50:52):
So right. And now I’m writing down for the people who can’t see it because it’s obviously audio, but if you get jumped on the YouTube channel, you’ll see it. I’m old school as well. I have a number of these in a box and I write my to do list down every day and to your point, the gratitude list. But there’s also an element of that, that physical writing on the paper that sort of is then in bending your brain, subconsciously that you’re going to go off and do that, whatever that task might be, whatever the, whatever you’re grateful for that day and over time as you do it again. And again, at least in my experience, it becomes second nature. Right? It comes ingrained in you. And then the other thing that I love about writing down is big on to-do lists, get across it out. Right. And that act of crossing it out is like I did
Ron Brooks (00:51:34):
Something else real quick to add to that read is something that I’ve done before in the past. And I probably should do more of it now is I used to, I would know. And again, this sounds cheesy, but I would write myself a quick note and mail it to myself. Wow. What would happen is you’ll say like on a Monday, if there’s something I need to do, I’d write great, you know, great job wrong. You know, you’re able to get that done, you know, Wu or something like that, or something funny, a funny quote or something I saw. And then, you know, again, I stick a stamp on it, you know, if I’m happy to be out, I drop it in one of those, you know, USBs, yellow mailbox, slot things or whatever. And I address it to myself. Right. And so then, you know, by Wednesday or Thursday or whatever, it’s coming in the mail.
Ron Brooks (00:52:16):
And so now I get that and it’s like, okay, it’s from me. Okay. And it’s a big thing about, you know, like we teach in the community, you know, it’s, it’s got to start with you. Right. You’ve got to, you’ve got to want it for yourself and you’ve gotta be able to encourage yourself. Um, and that’s one thing that, that helps me is just that we don’t get a ton of mail like that anymore. Right. Like we talked about it’s electronic. So you can just getting that note in the mail and it’s coming from me and it’s just an encouragement. So that Wednesday, I may be struggling with something or, you know, maybe, um, you know, I’m not feeling as upbeat or something like that. And now I get this from myself. Um, that’s saying, Hey, only keep pressing, man. You know, you love it. You’re on the right track. So it’s, it’s kind of you talking to you. Um, so it seems kind of weird. Someone listen to this may be like, God, it’s weird, but
Reed Goossens (00:53:07):
Who’s that creepy guy mailing me stuff. Right. Yeah, exactly. But yeah, it definitely helps. No, I think that’s a great little piece of advice. I’ve never even thought about that, but it says the mile is always something, you know, you’ve got to address something you got to do with myelin. So it can be a little bit overwhelming, but I definitely love that. Uh, question number two, who is the most influential person in
Ron Brooks (00:53:31):
Your career? Uh, yeah. God, that’s a tremendous question. I’ve, I’ve had so many, um, I’ll tell you, it’s not even from banking. Um, I had a high school basketball coach Reed, and I’ll try to make this as brief as possible. He, um, when I came in as a freshmen, I was a little bitty kid. I was very, I was fast. Okay. I could move around. I could run fast. You know, I had, you know, athletic ability, something, he told me early on that really stuck with me. And I didn’t know what the hell he was talking about when he said this, it sounded dumb to me, but he said, Ron, you got to learn to be quick and not fast. Like what the hell is the difference? You know? Um, but you know, you fast forward through just my basketball career. I learned that, you know, what, what I was bad about doing was I could take the ball and run, but I get in trouble.
Ron Brooks (00:54:21):
Right. If I get there and the other guy’s seven feet tall. Right. And so I’d go flying down the court, but I turned the ball over. I throw it away or I go and miss a shot because I’m trying to shoot it over some big tall guy. Right. Versus what I learned was to be able to come down and allow my teammates to fill in and be able to survey and assess what’s going on. Where, where is everybody do I have, um, uh, you know, uh, one of my teammates who’s got a good shot is one of my teammates in a better position. And then if not be able to run our offense. And so I took that from sports, from basketball and applied it to in business. Right. Instead of just being fast. Right. So fast means that you like, from my standpoint is, you know, I can jump on a plane or in the car and run to a bank unannounced, then, Hey, I want to talk to your CEO about investing in this.
Ron Brooks (00:55:13):
Right. That would be fast. Right. And someone may meet with me. Right. Let’s say, all right, come on. But, um, being quick is being able to survey it’s being able to, um, like you do with in real estate to be able to assess know property and assess, um, its status and assess, you know, where the opportunities are around it. Um, and then be able to strike quick. Right. So quick means I can come down and I’m under control. Right. And if I see an opening to the basket, I go, right. If not, I pull it back back. Right. And something else, that’s always the same thing in business. I encourage listeners is, you know, you’ll see your opportunity sometimes to strike, just go right. It doesn’t the lanes open wide open for you to go and get a shot at the basket, if not, take a step back because you have teammates, you know, other people that you’re connected with, you know, that are trailing or coming in that may have a good shot or may have an opening. And so, uh, that was a big piece of advice that I learned early on that helped me. Right. So I didn’t go chasing every opportunity just because against the shiny object. Right, right. On the object syndrome of chasing every idea, every business, um, you know, kind of running around, um, without any kind of real focus.
Reed Goossens (00:56:32):
But I think that’s a very, very valuable piece of advice, not being quick, not fast and assessing and surveying the issues as they come up rather than just reacting all the time, which we sometimes, as humans can tend to do. Uh, love it. Uh, question number three is in your business, what’s the most influential tool. And when I say tool, it could be a physical tool, like a journal or a phone, or what, or, or a piece of software, like a digital tool. So what, what’s the most influential tool you use in your business on a daily basis?
Ron Brooks (00:57:01):
Yeah. Um, you know what, right now it’s the podcast, to be honest with you. Um, when I, you know, I know we’ll talk about this in a little bit, but you know, when I got into the podcast as, um, I wasn’t smart enough to make the, the dot connection read of, um, how my voice would be amplified to reach people. Right. So, you know, I’ve been in banking for like say my time in banking all those years, but I’m finding now that those bankers are knowing me from my podcast, right. I’ve been doing, you know, for a much shorter period of time. Um, and, and certainly, you know, I always thought, at least for them may not have the same sex appeal as Ron, the former VP of retail. Right. Versus Ron the podcast. But, you know, I’ll go to a bank conference, um, and this, you know, a complete, true story.
Ron Brooks (00:57:51):
I went to one in Michigan and the guy recognized me from my podcast graphic. And he said, are you this guy? And he, he had it on his phone. He was listening to a net book. That’s also CFO of a bank. You know, this, guy’s making $400,000 a year running this big guy and he’s walking through the conference, he’s got headphones on. And he just asked me, he’s like, man, this looks a lot like you was this, you like, yeah, that’s me, man. He’s like, oh man, that’s awesome, man. You know, did he give him this tremendous? But what it did was it opened up a lane for us to have a warm conversation about his bank and what they’re doing, you know, like say in the community read. And so, um, that’s, it’s become a powerful tool over time, but it, you know, and that, you know, like you mentioned, there’s other tools that I use Salesforce and like say my journal and calendar and that type of thing, those are all obviously influential in their own rights. But, um, the, the PI cast has allowed me to also, um, kind of serve as a digital resume sorta speaks. So they get to know me, um, prior to even meeting me, um, by listening to episodes and hearing conversations I have with people. And so it’s, that’s tremendous
Reed Goossens (00:58:59):
And building that, building that credibility instantly, which is really, really good. Yeah. So love it. Love it. Question number four is in one sentence, what has been the biggest failure in your career and what you learned?
Ron Brooks (00:59:10):
I’ve got to think about that. Not that I don’t have any failures, you know, as far as my biggest one, um, you know, almost influential. Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s a good way to put it. Um, when I became the executive, um, it was at my last place. Um, it was not, um, being too ambitious about my career progression. Um, and so that, that’s how I’d say that in one sentence I was, I was really aggressive towards my career ambition and that costs me, um, I think down the line because I lost that focus and that focus and start to become singular.
Reed Goossens (00:59:53):
This is to learn not to be so hyper-focused on one thing and one pillar in your life and you let other pillars in your life, fall away is always you here.
Ron Brooks (01:00:03):
Uh, yeah. I, um, you know, read that I was 35 at that time. And, um, I had been on this career progression and, uh, I felt that I was going to be, you know, eventually on a, that career path to that next step. You know, you got to keep in mind that at that institution, I was the second black executive ever in their 60, well now I guess, about 65 year history. Um, and so I was excited about that and, and start the, you know, have my, um, you know, uh, almost like delusions of grand jury, but, um, by my head got into the clouds about, um, you know, how I could progress to that next step and the next step would have been yo. Right. And, but by doing that and losing sight of the, the moments that from moment to moment, um, I, I think that was, uh, a huge failure, but that I learned from, and that I carry now and to, to what I do. That’s awesome.
Reed Goossens (01:00:57):
Beautiful, lovely. Uh, last question might for the show, and it can talk a little bit about your podcast is where can people reach you to continue the conversation they want to be in your sphere? Where do they go?
Ron Brooks (01:01:06):
Yeah, so, uh, no great. They can, um, connect with me on social media, um, um, uh, at, uh, champ Ron, or actually at champ underscore on underscore. So at champ underscore Ron underscore, that’s on most of the social media, you connect with me there. Uh, I’d love for you to email me or firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to connect there. And, uh, as you mentioned, the, the mind, your business podcast, um, where we, um, kind of blend that fusion of, uh, business and lifestyle, uh, into one, uh, you can always check me out there wherever you find your podcast. And so, uh, love to be able to connect with you there and continue dialogue. Awesome.
Reed Goossens (01:01:46):
I want to thank you so much for jumping on the show today. I just want to reflect some of the things that I took away from today is, is firstly, want to thank you for being so vulnerable, uh, around some topics that need to be talked about right now and need to be ed and, and with your experience in the world of trying to be more empathetic and trying to be that glue in the cake to bring the pieces together, uh, is really influential in because of your upbringing. And probably some of the challenges that we spoke about earlier through that upbringing that you see folks in low socioeconomic areas struggle with, but knowing that there’s solutions to those, to those problems, right? And as long as people are willing to come to the table and have a little bit of empathy and doing what we taught at Pokemon, which is fair and reasonable, I think that’s the biggest thing that I’ve taken away from today’s show.
Ron Brooks (01:02:31):
Yeah, no, you hit the nail on the head. I think that’s a tremendous and know, again, I appreciate this opportunity. It’s, uh, it’s excellent to be able to speak with you on this tremendous platform that I’ve been following. And, uh, uh, th this is just awesome. I love it.
Reed Goossens (01:02:46):
Thank you so much for jumping on the show, uh, enjoy the rest of your week and we’ll catch up very, very soon.
Ron Brooks (01:02:52):
Yep. Sounds good. Read. I appreciate it. Thank you so much.
Reed Goossens (01:02:55):
The cracking episode jam Packers of incredible advice from Ron and, uh, he is just a wealth of knowledge when it comes to everything related to trying to build that empathy from the lowest side of the tracks and, and, and trying to bring people together to the table and to try and propel the community forward. And I think that is such an influential thing that we need today in today’s society. And as all real estate investors, we need to understand and wake up a little bit about what we’re doing and how we are impacting the community, how we can all be better, um, because it is our responsibility as investors to do what’s right. And do what’s fair and reasonable, which is what this real theme of the show has been today. Well, I want to thank you all for jumping on this show today. Take some time every day to continue to grow your financial IQ, because that’s what we’re all about here on this show. And we’re going to do it all again next week. Remember be bold, be brave, and go give life a crack.