Welcome to the “Show Me The Way” podcast with David Seitter
In this episode of “Show Me The Way,” Dave sits down with Rita D’Agostino, Deputy General Counsel and Vice President, to dissect the art of due diligence during company acquisitions, the critical elements of understanding a company’s workforce dynamics during an acquisition, the importance of cultivating meaningful relationships in the workplace, and being a good neighbor.
Ep. 26 — Real Estate Successes and Exits with Rita D’Agostino
Rita, a seasoned attorney and professional in the real estate industry, provides insightful commentary on her experiences and learnings in the complex world of real estate acquisitions, succession planning, and exit planning. She gives a detailed account of her professional journey from her education, to her work experiences that shaped her understanding and expertise in the multi-faceted real estate industry.
Raised in a large family with a strong emphasis on education, hard work, and community service, Rita shares how these values have been instrumental in shaping her career. She emphasizes the importance of giving back to the community and discusses how this ethos has been an integral part of her success in the industry.
Rita discusses her first job as the General Counsel for the Kansas Banking Department, where she had the opportunity to learn about the banking industry’s workings. This experience was invaluable in understanding the interplay between banking and real estate, particularly regarding loan portfolios. This knowledge has served as a valuable asset throughout her career.
Due Diligence in Acquiring Companies
Rita then discusses the importance of meticulous due diligence when considering acquiring a company. She emphasizes that this process should begin on day one, and be approached as if the acquisition is to be completed in a month.
The key here is to have a well-structured process in place. Having a point person who can manage the due diligence process, keep everything organized and ensure that everyone involved is on the same page is crucial. This person may not need to understand all the intricacies of the acquisition but needs to have the capacity to oversee the process and ensure that everything is progressing as planned.
Moreover, she highlights the importance of developing a relationship with the seller before any paperwork is signed. This is due to the fact that it is impossible to document every potential risk or scenario that may arise during the acquisition process. Having a relationship of trust with the seller is a significant advantage during this process.
Company Culture & Hybrid Workforces for Success
Together Dave and Rita explore the importance of understanding the dynamics of a company’s workforce when considering an acquisition. A deep dive into this topic reveals that the company culture and the structure of its workforce can play a critical role in determining the success or failure of an acquisition.
Rita highlights how a diverse and culturally aware workplace can add immense value to an organization. It is also important to note that this diversity extends beyond cultural backgrounds and encompasses diversity in skills, experiences, and thought processes.
Next, Rita explains how servant leadership, a leadership style that prioritizes the growth and well-being of the team members, creates an environment of mutual respect and collaboration, where every team member feels valued and empowered. This positive workplace environment can significantly impact the success of an acquisition process, as a motivated and engaged workforce can drive the company towards achieving its strategic objectives.
Dave asks Rita her thoughts on hybrid work, to which she explains that while a proponent, maintaining the company culture and fostering collaboration in a hybrid workforce can be challenging. She then runs through her company’s strategy to ensure that a hybrid workforce model is implemented effectively, without diluting the company culture.
Emphasizing Relationships, Thinking Outside the Box
Rita emphasizes the importance of avenues for employees to get to know each other, such as TGIF breakfasts, corporate challenges, and other events. She also discusses the value of giving back to the community as a way to bring people together and strengthen relationships in the workplace.
She also says you will need to think outside the box when it comes to real estate, as developing relationships with county and city officials, as well as their staff, is critical for success.
Lessons From Real Estate Experience
Rita begins her first key lesson she learned is the importance of being a good neighbor in real estate. She explains that demonstrating a willingness to help others, even if it means bending the rules a bit, can significantly showcase your commitment to the community. It can build trust and foster positive relationships, which are essential in the real estate industry where negotiations, collaborations, and partnerships are common. This goes beyond just having a professional relationship with other businesses or clients. It’s about being a part of the community and contributing positively to its growth and development.
The second lesson she shares is the importance of viewing failures as growth opportunities. In the real estate industry, like in any other industry, not everything always goes as planned. Deals can fall through, projects can fail, and sometimes, despite the best efforts, the results can be disappointing. However, Rita emphasizes that these failures are not the end of the road. Instead, they are valuable opportunities to learn, grow, and improve.
She advises listeners to stay flexible and adaptable in the face of challenges and not to let setbacks deter them from their goals. By maintaining a positive outlook and learning from mistakes, one can continually improve and achieve success in the real estate industry.
Rita’s last lesson for listeners is the importance of handling disagreements or situations where you feel wronged in a respectful and professional manner. In an industry as vast and diverse as real estate, conflicts and disagreements are bound to occur. However, it’s crucial to handle these situations professionally, maintaining respect and dignity for all parties involved. This not only preserves relationships but also upholds the integrity of your business.
This podcast is provided for educational purposes. It does not constitute legal advice and is not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. The recommendations contained in this podcast are not necessarily appropriate for every individual or business. In determining the best course of action, business owners should consult with an attorney on their distinct circumstances.