Day in the life of

The Keller Williams New York City CEO talks about brown-bagging his lunch and starting up a kids’ ice cream line

Eric Barron
Eric Barron

6:15 a.m. I wake up at 6:15 or 6:30 a.m. [For breakfast] I eat a ton of organic fruit and a Greek yogurt. I’m as organic-y as I can be.

6:45 a.m. Lia, my wife, would love to sleep till noon if she could, so I get the kids [Zachary, 6, and Jacqueline, 9] going. We live in the South Orange/Maplewood area of New Jersey. Everyone from my area is a transplant from Park Slope or Manhattan. We moved out of the city two years ago, after 20 years — we lived on the Upper West Side for 10 years, then moved Downtown. We had to be within 30 minutes of the city and weren’t going to Long Island — nothing against Long Island.

7:30 a.m. I typically take a 7:34 a.m. train, and by 8:20 a.m. I’m in the office at 425 Park Avenue. We don’t even think about [the fact that the building will be demolished in 2015 by L&L Holding to make way for a new office tower. When that happens, the firm’s headquarters] will stay in Midtown. And then we’re going to have four or five boutique offices. I’m looking at retail space Downtown today. The first location is going to be south of 23rd Street, and will be open in three to five months.

8:30 a.m. I check in with Zhann [Jochinke], the COO, my right hand man. I typically do a quick walk of the floor. We have about 280 brokers now. Our goal is to end 2014 with around 450 agents. I love to see who’s here early.

10 a.m. I probably get about 250 emails a day from attorneys, agents, potential recruits, and our headquarters in Austin. I carve out a half-hour in the morning, a half-hour in the afternoon and a half-hour in the evening to respond to them. We also hold a lot of the leadership meetings in the morning. I make sure that we’re working efficiently as a team.

12:30 p.m. I have a business lunch about three times per week. Last week, I had a great lunch on 53rd Street at Hillstone — best tuna burger in the city — with a potential recruit, [an agent] who was looking to jump from making $12 to $15 million a year to $20 to $25 million a year. We did a business plan at lunch: “What are they going to do to be more of a listing agent?” No [other firms] are teaching business planning. Everyone works hard, but the question is, how efficiently do people work? If I’m not eating out, I’m bringing food back and eating out on the floor. We have a lunchroom, but I sit out in the training room. I send an email saying, ‘Hey guys, I’m brown-bagging it in the training room, come sit with me.’ And agents will come.

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2 p.m. In the afternoon I have a lot of meetings with agents to talk about their business plans, and what are they doing to achieve their goals. I tell people I’m focused on anything growth-related. If it’s not growth-related, don’t talk to me.

4 p.m. I probably do, on average, five recruiting meetings a week. I’m typically spending most of my time meeting higher-producing agents. We’ve recently hired Leisa Aras from L.G. Fairmont Group, a boutique firm Downtown, who’s started her own team here. She’s done $10 million in sales since joining us two months ago.

8:02 p.m. Every once in a while I’ll catch a 5:18 p.m. train because I coach Zach’s T-ball team. But I usually take an 8:02 p.m. train, which gets me home by 8:45 p.m., and that gives me a few minutes with the kids. They’re probably going to bed around nine, so I squeeze in a last-minute dessert with them. I’m not a big dessert guy, but we eat ice cream. We’re actually thinking about starting an ice cream line made for kids, by kids — it’s in the development stage right now. One of the flavors is called “Smash.” The concept is, you take all the toppings and smash them into the ice cream. Jacqueline and Zachary are putting together their board of directors. They’re each putting three of their friends on the board. It’s hysterical. I’m big on kids being entrepreneurs. My daughter makes a fortune doing her lemonade stand.

9 p.m. I go for a three- to five-mile run a couple nights a week. Or I go to the gym.

11 p.m. Lia and I will try to catch an hour of DVR. We religiously watch “Homeland,” “The Good Wife,” “Dexter,” “Ray Donovan” and “The Newsroom.”

Midnight [I go to sleep at] midnight. It’s too late. I’d like to be in bed earlier.