RECon 2019 was kicked off — almost literally — by former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo on Sunday, who riveted his audience with football reminiscences, career advice — and a ball-throwing competition that produced a substantial charitable donation.
Valerie Richardson and Tony Romo
“So much of [one’s success] is about how you handle people and relationships,” Romo said, noting some parallels between football and the real estate industry. “Football is the ultimate team sport, and for you guys it’s the same.”
Interviewing Romo was ICSC’s 2018–2019 Chairman Valerie Richardson, CRX, CLS, vice president of real estate at The Container Store — a fellow Texan, who teased out of him anecdotes about his career and discussion of the philosophy that guided him.
Romo played 14 seasons with the Cowboys, serving as the team’s primary starter from 2006 to 2015. He led the team to four postseason appearances and was named to the Pro Bowl four times. Upon his retirement from football in 2016, Romo was hired by CBS as an analyst for its NFL coverage, a position he holds today.
But his success was anything but preordained. On the cusp of his professional career, Romo remembers sitting through seven rounds of the NFL draft pick without hearing his name called. And even when was finally signed as an undrafted free agent with the Cowboys, nothing was set in stone. “My first game for the Cowboys could so easily have been my last,” he recalled wryly.
The fact that it was not comes down to ambition and hard work, he said, observing that success in any field requires that same level of dedication. But it also helped a lot that he enjoyed what he was doing, Romo stressed. “It’s so much easier if you really do like it,” he said.
Success also depends on the entire team, however, and not just the individual, both on the field and off, he advised, returning to the theme of collaboration.
Romo’s appearance concluded with a football throwing contest with Kristin Baisch, corporate branding and innovation manager at Dallas-based Centennial Real Estate LLC., who won an ICSC drawing to participate. The contest, sponsored by CoStar Group’s LoopNet, an online marketplace for commercial property, was accompanied by a $50,000 donation from the company for Children’s Cancer Fund.
By Edmund Mander