Merry Christmas, Ebby Halliday Acers

At The Ebby Halliday Companies, we are fortunate to have some of the best Sales Associates in North Texas – and these loyal and supportive individuals are truly the reason for our success. As Roger Staubach said in the preface of Ebby’s biography, “Ebby and I had something in common, we both had great teams.”

A Christmas Card of Ebby Halliday & Maurice Acers. Courtesy of The Ebby Halliday Archives.

That is true, but we also believe that the excellence and high standards our company is known for today comes from the top – specifically from our founder, leader, biggest cheerleader and, most importantly, friend, Ebby Halliday Acers. Those of us who are affiliated with this company are so fortunate to have the privilege of working for a true legend – a legend in real estate, in business, in our city, state and world. Few people can say they’ve worked for, much less personally met, one of the true greats of their time. But we can. So to honor our great lady this holiday season, we thought the following speech best summed up our feelings.

It was delivered by Ebby Associate Tricia Rhea at the Ebby Preston Keller office holiday luncheon last week. While it was beautifully written and delivered by a single Associate, we know that it accurately expresses the feelings of every one of our 1,500 Sales Associates and Staff. So please enjoy our gift to our First Lady. And because we know she will see this:

Merry Christmas, Ebby Halliday Acers. From your entire extended family of Sales Associates & Staff. We love you.

The following speech was written and delivered by Ebby Associate Tricia Rhea:

You want to know the secret of success? Ebby would ask this question to audiences at speaking engagements across the country.

Make people feel that you are interested in them. Make them feel special. Make it real.

She would always attribute this advice as having come from her beloved husband, Maurice. She would say that it was a gift of advice he gave to her and attributed it to her great success in real estate. In her book you really get to know the personal world of our great mentor Ebby and how very much she loved Maurice. There are nuggets of wisdom throughout the pages and most go back to what she and Maurice shared. She stated:

Maurice Acers (rhymes with bakers) understood that he couldn t control the economy. He could not control the stock market or the rate of unemployment. He couldn t control the price of tuition or rent or food. He COULD control his own thoughts, his own choices, and his own actions.”

She believed that too and it became the bedrock of everything she set out to do.

I love the many thoughts Ebby shared in her book because I think they are golden rules. They aren’t broken and we don’t need to fix them. It s no secret we have all struggled in a very, very, tough market and world economy not for just one year, not for just two years, not for just three years – we are now well into several years of a tough market back to back. Real estate gurus are saying 2012 will remain about the same. On first impression those words don t offer us much encouragement as we head into a new year but I believe they are reliable and not necessarily bad news. There is a lot to be said for reliable versus being told what we may want to hear. Most of us have had a better year this year than last and even in these tough times we are gaining momentum. I ll be the first to say that I know there are days when I can hardly put one foot in front of the other. We are all worn out physically and mentally. Real estate IS exhausting work. Only the best of the best can stay in this business and run the course. Ebby stated that:

There is no easy road to anything worth achieving. I worked like a dog and acted like a lady.

It s so true. Her great compadre aside from Maurice was her co-conspirator and friend Mary Frances – she too has coined so many great words of advice – golden nuggets over the years – some that particularly fit with my message today include her credo:

Get up, suit up and show up – no matter what.”

And her words, reflecting over 50 years of experience in this industry:

When the public likes and trusts a company and its people, they do business with that company. That is the reason we have remained successful for so many years. We realize we have to work smarter and harder to increase our market share and maintain profitability. To that end we have experienced several years of capital expansion of facilities and infrastructure and are well positioned for growth. What exactly that growth will look like, the shape of the tools and technologies and services the company will offer in five, ten, or fifteen years is difficult to predict. What is predictable remains the spirit of the enterprise.

Hear that one again because I think it sets the tone and reminds us all of who we are as Ebby Halliday real estate professionals:

What is predictable remains the spirit of the enterprise.

I recently read the book Be My Guest by Conrad Hilton. What inspired me was his model for success: Success is not how much a man gets as how much he has to give away. He believed the true fruits of successful living were not material. They were contentment, the joy of usefulness and growth through the fulfillment of one s particular talent. Mr. Hilton also believed that everyone no matter what he or she did in life from housekeeper to CEO strives for success, but that there was an art to living successfully . He believed there were ten ingredients. 1. Find your particular talent, 2. Be Big: Think Big, Act Big. Dream Big., 3. Be honest, 4. Live with enthusiasm, 5. Don’t let your possessions possess you, 6. Don t worry about your problems, 7. Don’t cling to the past, 8. Look up to people when you can and look down upon no one, 9. Assume your full share of the responsibility for the world in which you live, and 10. Pray consistently and constantly.

Does any of this sound like someone we all know? I could not help but think this is exactly the core beliefs and ethics Ebby Halliday and her team have built their empire on from the day the company was conceived. Interesting, that two of the most successful business entrepreneurs AND businesses I can think of, really, in the world include Ebby Halliday and Conrad Hilton. Measuring the bottom line to both of their successes is inconceivable to me and awe inspiring.

How amazing to know we have been a part of that great Ebby Halliday legacy.

All that said I believe everyone in this room is a professional entrepreneur who has been given the privilege to work under the greatest broker there is. No one touches Ebby Halliday and everyone, including our peers, knows it. Ebby Halliday and her team, according to Mary Frances believes:

The quality of any real estate office can be measured by the quality of the sales force .

Ebby is the best, her team is the best, the sales force that works under her name is the best. Period.

Ebby was awarded the Horatio Alger award in 2005. She will tell you of all the awards she has been given this one meant the most to her. The recipient to that award is chosen based on their dedication to the simple belief that hard work, honesty, and determination can conquer all obstacles. Ebby was the perfect candidate for that award and I can see why she believes it to be her finest moment. She started with nothing and by 2005 had a company with twenty five offices, 1,200 selling agents, 17,500 homes sold, and annual sales of $3.8 billion. And those are statistics from her book written several years ago not even the hard numbers for 2011. I say all of this because I hope each of you owns your part in this great success. Each of us are part of this great success. WE everyone in this room is a great success. We are or we wouldn’t be Ebby Halliday agents. In the current market the opportunities have never been greater to make a difference in someone s life. I challenge each of you to be the agent who holds on, faces each day with steady resolve that this market will pass and believing we will ALL still be here when it does. I also challenge you to successfully live while striving in your work every day to live successfully. That is a personal goal of mine to make a difference in someone’s life through my work and to successfully live recognizing all the good in everything that I can. Even in the worst of times we all have so much more than so many in our world today.

I cannot help but believe if Ebby were here having lunch with us today she might end with a thought she has spoken so many times and goes like this:

Be honest, touch people s lives, look at people when you talk to them, don’t criticize the competition and do something nice for someone every day!

I think if we can remind ourselves every day what our mentor, teacher, friend and leader has accomplished in her life, how she has lived, what she has believed in and held strong to, to become one of the greatest real estate agencies in the world, we can surely follow her model and press on toward the continued success I know she wants for each of us. I truly believe she wants that for each and every one of us.

I am deeply humbled and tremendously grateful to be a part of the Ebby team. I believe all of you are, too. To you, my friends, I wish you the happiest of holidays in whatever way that is sacred and dear to you as you celebrate them with those you love, along with great amounts of peace, joy, contentment and that you will each have the very best year of your career in 2012.