Who has had the greatest influence on your career and what was the best advice he or she gave you?
I don’t really differentiate between life and work anymore as they are one in the same at this point. As I reflect on who was the greatest influence in my life, hands down that would be my mother. We grew up very modest, at times in a shelter and on food stamps, and I have realized that her never giving up, her fighting for us to have a better life, and her relentless support of my dreams had a profound impact on the man I have become today.
What qualities do you think are essential to be an effective leader?
One of the most valuable skillsets that I have worked very hard to develop as a young entrepreneur is to ask questions, listen with integrity, and always focus on the fact that your interpretation may not be accurate. With this skillset you have the opportunity to constantly learn and grow with a community of people, which I find both noble in the pursuit as well as deeply rewarding in building relationships.
As a high school dropout from Olympia, Washington who moved to NYC with $4,000 and a duffle bag, I am extremely proud that we held ourselves to a higher standard of design and building performance, “burned the boats” and never wavered from our objective. Our project was designed with passionate vision, and we have set a bar for ourselves that will continue to focus on innovation and the environment.