JFS Perspectives

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Thanks for Investing in JFS at 14th Annual JFS Executive Luncheon

Thanks for Investing in JFS at 14th Annual JFS Executive Luncheon

Barbara at the sponsor receptionBarbara Corcoran, real estate mogul, business expert, and investor/shark on ABC’s Shark Tank, entertained nearly 600 business and professional leaders attending Jewish Family Service’s (JFS) 14th annual JFS Executive Luncheon held on April 18 at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center.

Before the program, Chief-level sponsors attended a brief reception and photo op with Corcoran. As the program began, JFS interim president and CEO Debra J. Zimmerman acknowledged the event co-chairs, David Feiner and Rob Kaufmann, and the committee for their dedication and support, as well as expressed gratitude to JFS’s 155 staff members.

Several members from the JFS community shared, through video, why they “Invest in JFS.” Shortly after, Corcoran took the stage and entertained the audience with her rags-to-riches story of how she went from growing up in a two-bedroom apartment with her parents and nine siblings, to selling her first real estate business for $66 million. Some of the business lessons she’s learned along the way include:

  1. Barbara Corcoran speaking to the audienceThere are two kinds of people—Expanders and Containers—and hiring the right people in the right slot is key to a successful business. Find someone with opposite skills and personality traits to help grow your business.

  2. You need the “fun card” and that’s what set her businesses apart. She always threw the best staff holiday parties and had fun with her staff. She said, “I modeled that after my father—he was like my mother’s 11th child and was always out playing with all the neighborhood kids.” She also encouraged people to distribute a “fun budget” and find the right person on the team to spend it! “It’s the best way to build loyalty—everyone gets creative when they’re having fun.”

  3. “I’m great at failure.” She said her most important function when growing her real estate business was interviewing new salespeople. “It wasn’t about how hard people worked, or about their connections. The one quality I honed in on was the people who spent the least amount of time feeling sorry for themselves and were used to rejection.” She also said that when choosing entrepreneurs on Shark Tank, she looks for people who can keep getting up and moving on.

Barbara finished her talk with some behind-the-scenes tidbits about Shark Tank and her fellow sharks.

Lunchbox Express program pitchAfter her presentation, JFS staff members pitched their programs to Corcoran in a show JFS called “Just for Sharks.” Staff members Lisa Rincon, Doug Vega, and Dicia Kemp pitched KidSuccess, JFS’s school-based mental health program; Lunchbox Express summer lunch program; and Preventing Homelessness to Corcoran and the audience of “sharks.” Corcoran was so impressed that she personally pledged $10,000 to each program, and emcee Jim Benemann followed up with an announcement of an anonymous $50,000 match. Attendees’ donations helped meet that match and the event grossed more than $481,000 to support the life-transforming programs of Jewish Family Service.

Thank you to everyone who invested in JFS by supporting the event! 

See more event photos