Jacqueline Geoffrion died in Montreal this week. She was my mother-in-law. I first met Jackie in 1993. She owned and operated a convenience store in the lobby of a huge apartment complex called Les Dauphins sur le Parc, across from Parc Lafontaine on The Plateau in Montreal. Jackie worked hard from when she was 16 in various businesses she owned until she sold the store about eight years ago.
In addition to being her livelihood, that store was her life as she also lived in the building for 30 years. Many of her customers became friends, coming down every morning to get their Gazette or a cup of coffee or one of those hundreds of other things that stores like that stock. They talked with her. Shared their problems. She listened. She was a very good listener. She was like the building therapist.
Jackie was also a very generous person. Over the years she helped many people out when they were down on their luck. She had a soft spot and sometimes she lent someone a few bucks even though she knew she was not going to get paid back; but she did it anyway because they needed some help.
For the past few years, sadly, she had really had no quality of life at all. It was one thing after another. I don't think she really wanted to live anymore and as I learned when I studied the stages of death when my Dad was near the end, under many circumstances, people can control when they decide to pass into the next world. I believe Jackie did this on her own agenda. She was a strong-willed woman (are there any other kind?)
Nevertheless, the loss, especially to my wife, an only child, is huge. Like many people who work hard all their lives and then 'retire' she didn't know what to do with herself after she sold the store. She never seemed to show much interest in anything after that which was sad in itself. The attending doctor told my wife that 'your mother died peacefully.' I guess that's better than checking out some other ways but it doesn't do much to pacify the terrible feeling of loss. Au revoir Jackie.
Word of the week: disfluencies. Here is an interesting piece on the subject by Lisa Marshall who is a communication coach.
- Sherry Rexroad, Chief Investment Officer of Blackrock's new global real estate securities platform
- Tim Bellman, Head of Global Research, Invesco
- Claiborne Johnston, Client Portfolio Manager, Invesco
- Noah Shlaes, Senior Managing Director/Global Corporate Services, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank
- Michelle Fang, Product Specialist, Principal Real Estate
Update: I've decided to change the name of my consulting business to The Felix Consulting Group. So, who's in the group? Well, I'll be announcing something soon but, trust me, it'll be more than just little ol' me. In the conversations I've been having with CEO's and other very senior people, I'm getting the most 'head-shaking' (yes, we could use your help) when we talk about: Presentation Coaching, Investor Conferences and "How do we get some of that there pension fund money?"
This last question is one that I've been asked for many years. The source of the question is typically a successful real estate firm that has developed or acquired income-producing real estate but usually in a one-off style, gathering money from investors on an as-needed basis ("I've found this great deal. How much would you like to come in for?") But, and especially now, when there are a lot of sweet opportunities out there, it'd be good to have money at the ready.
So, depending on the degree of experience that these firms have with raising and managing institutional capital, my coaching session may run the entire gamut of the philosophy and process involved when you are looking to get into the institutional real estate game (i.e. Patience, patience, patience and how not to take rejection personally). Also with firms who have had separate accounts with pension funds and want advice on how to launch and operate a fund (and at the same time, which is what makes today's landscape very interesting those who have historically operated in a fund format who want to get into the separate account business).
So, I've been pretty busy, both with providing value to clients and with having conversations (face2face is best) with people who already know and trust me. It's in those conversations that people think about how I could help them. I'm having a great time and all of my clients have offered to provide testimonials for me. It feels good. It feels right.
"CD Update." Thanks to all of you who have bought our new CD, "Wait for Me." It's available on iTunes (search "felix wait for me"). I also carry them with me when I travel! I'm still trying to figure out how to spread the word virally. For now, I need all the help I can get. Thanks.
Here's some feedback on the album:
"Great work Steve...loved the Lennon Song (SF note: My song called John Lennon) .....and really like the "feel" of everything...who's the girl singer?" CFO of Real Estate Investment Manager and garageband keyboard player.
"Enjoying the music very much. Several really good songs. Will see who I can expose it to." Broadway show producer (retired real estate investor)
"Well done. I haven't listened to all of them yet. Great recording on "Wait For Me".Who's singing that one? "Québécois" is a real departure." Professional photographer, great guitarist and my former longtimeago songwriting partner.
"Its great! And what a joy it must be to produce this CD with your sons, Brian, Kevin and your musical friends. What a great guitar player Ernie Hendrickson is. My compliments to all musicians on this CD. Great solid drumming and basswork. Its really hard to pick a favorite song from this album, but I played "Thank You" and "Distance" both four times. "Quebecois" is really fun song, there is some magic in the harmony that makes this a song can that should go on forever." Real estate publisher, former bass player in a popular European band and, most importantly, my good friend.
On the road....
July 11-13: Lansdowne, VA to attend the NCREIF Summer Meeting
July: New York & Boston
Aug: New York & Chicago
Sept. 11-12: Paris to attend the GRI Europe Summit
Sept. 17-18: Chicago to attend the NAREIM HR Roundtable
Oct. 14-16: Chicago to attend the NAREIM Fall Executive Meetings
Oct. 17-19: Denver to attend the ULI Fall Meeting
Oct. 22-24: Los Angeles to attend the PREA Plan Sponsor Real Estate Conference
Nov. 7: Washington, DC to speak with a group of real estate students at Johns Hopkins University about careers in real estate (Note: I'm putting together my fall "tour" speaking with graduate real estate students. If you're interested please contact me).
Nov. 8-9: New York to attend the PERE Summit-New York