Woodbury Awards Degrees to 468 Members of Class of 2016; Graduates Advised to 'Play Full-Out'
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Top Executive Eugene A. Blefari Shares Secrets of His Success, Receives Honorary Doctorate in Leadership
Blefari, who delivered the commencement address and was awarded an honorary doctorate degree in Leadership, shared seven principles of success that have helped propel him from the ground floor of real estate to the executive suite: "Play full-out," "Have a good morning routine," "Be humble," "Build a great team," "Provide extraordinary service," "Read" and "Experience continuous improvement."
"Never stop growing. Never stop learning. Never hide your talents. And remember: When you are through changing, you are through," Blefari told the graduates and 4,000 friends and family members in attendance. "If you are silent, you'll be forgotten. If you don't believe in yourself, that will make it unanimous. If you do not advance, you will fall back. If you walk away from any challenge today, your self-esteem will be forever scarred, and if you cease to grow even a little, you will become smaller. Reject the stationary position, because it is always the beginning of the end."
Blefari is founder of Silicon Valley-based Intero Real Estate Services, Inc., which became one of the fastest organically growing companies in real estate history. As CEO of HSF Affiliates, Blefari now oversees Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - the fastest-growing real estate brokerage network in America - plus Prudential Real Estate and Real Living Real Estate. The network includes more than 47,000 agents and 1,500 offices in 48 states.
Sharing the podium with Blefari were Master of Business Administration recipient Abdulraouf Albaijan and Tina Ashvanian, who received a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and History.
At age 37, Albaijan and his wife, Sumaia, who received a degree in Management, came to the U.S. and Woodbury from Saudi Arabia after a Saudi businessman said he was too old to go back to college to learn English and earn a degree.
"As I was preparing to leave Saudi Arabia, I called the businessman and said, 'Thank you for motivating me to go back to school. I am on my way to the airport, traveling to the USA,'" he told the audience. "'Are you crazy?' he asked me. Yes, I was crazy. But not because I had decided to change my life at 37 years old, but because I hadn't been going after my dreams."
Said Ashvanian of her experience: "When we began our college careers, we were all full-grown lobsters carrying our shells with us, but none of us expected the social, personal and professional challenges that Woodbury would bring. Whether we liked it or not, we were urged out of our comfort zones and forced to break out of those shells and learn and think in ways we never had before. I see before me a group of passionate, hard-working, ambitious future leaders. The goals we set, whether they be to continue our education or to go straight in the workforce, are the results of the education and experiences that Woodbury has made possible."
About Woodbury University
Founded in 1884, Woodbury University is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Southern California. With campuses in Burbank/Los Angeles and San Diego, the university offers bachelor's degrees from the School of Architecture, School of Business, School of Media, Culture & Design, and College of Liberal Arts, along with a Master of Business Administration, Master of Arts in Media for Social Justice, Master of Architecture (MArch), Master of Interior Architecture (MIA), Master of Science in Architecture (MSArch), Master of Leadership, and Master of Arts in Media for Social Justice. The San Diego campus offers Bachelor of Architecture and Master of Architecture, Master of Interior Architecture and Master of Landscape Architecture degrees, as well as an MSArch degree with a concentration in Real Estate Development and Landscape + Urbanism. Woodbury ranks 15th among the nation's "25 Colleges That Add the Most Value," according to Money Magazine and is a 2014-2015 College of Distinction. Visit woodbury.edu (http://www.woodbury.edu/
Edge Communications, Inc.