S.E.C. Annual Awards & Installation Banquet

Tucson, Arizona – January 20, 2015
2015 S.E.C. President’s Address

Standing here tonight with all of you, I feel honored, humbled, grateful, and very blessed. In this room I see some of the most admired and respected people in our industry.

I see writers of books, educators, and successful real estate brokers and investors. As I look around the room tonight, I am struck by the fact that we all share so many memories. We have LAUGHED together, CRIED together, made FORTUNES together, and LOST MONEY together. We have GRIEVED and we have CELEBRATED and REJOICED together.

Through it all, one thing never changes: We are always FAMILY, and we will always be FAMILY. Some of my favorite memories are the personal moments we have shared: dinners, golf tournaments, and laughing at so many bad jokes and funny stories from over the years.

Personally, the most powerful emotions that I feel right now are gratitude and love. To each and every one of you here tonight, “Thank you!” I don’t know where I would be or what I would do without you in my life. Many people believe that the S.E.C. is a professional or business organization. But in reality, we are mostly about relationships, trust, integrity, and looking out for each other. We care about one another!

Life is a platform from which we are given the opportunity to make a difference in other people’s lives. I have learned this to be true because so many of you have made a huge difference in my life over the years through your kindness, wisdom, and generosity.

The Society of Exchange Counselors is a microcosm of society and it serves as one of the most significant vehicles through which we can affect other people’s lives in a meaningful and profound way.

We counsel clients to make quality decisions that affect their lives in a huge way.

We mentor others.

We solve difficult situations for clients.

We educate others with the goal of helping them achieve financial independence.

As building owners, we provide the opportunity for tenants and entrepreneurs to start businesses and help them to realize their goals and dreams.


I would like to take a brief moment to share with you three of my goals and visions for the Society.

First, in order to remain relevant, we must embrace technology. We must continue to promote and integrate Trade Tracker into our marketing meetings. As you saw in the Sunday education session, the benefits of Trade Tracker substantially enhance our marketing sessions and make them more efficient. We must embrace social media. Younger generations increasingly rely upon Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, other social media platforms as their primary means of communication.

We realize that face-to-face communication is critical, and the very best form of communication, but we must adapt and expand our way of doing business or face becoming irrelevant to a very large segment of society.

Second, we must think bigger. Going forward, we will be holding meetings in cities and regions where we have not been before, and we will be holding meeting in larger cities. In September we will be meeting in Boston, and in November we will be in Chattanooga. This will allow us to tap into larger, more diverse audiences, expanding our reach and influence.

Lastly and most importantly, we need to increase our membership numbers. We are aging and retiring faster than we are replacing ourselves. We need more women members. We need young members. And we will not compromise our standards of excellence. Our most critical Strategic Planning initiative is to focus on new guest and member recruitment.

We have bolstered the responsibilities of the Guest Relations Committee and implemented a system of accountability for implementation of the Strategic Plan. The first vice president will be responsible for maintaining accountability in the implementation of this critical Strategic Planning initiative.

I would like to share with you a personal story from my life which might serve as an inspiration or road map for the S.E.C. for the years ahead. My Tuesday evening Men’s Group in Dallas recently read the book, “Your Best Life Now,” by Joel Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston. We also had the opportunity to see him speak in Dallas at the American Airlines Center earlier this month.

His message inspired me to realize that our Society is beautifully positioned for the future. Joel Osteen made three points which are applicable to the Society.

FIRST: The year 2015 is our “Due Season.” Galatians 6:9 in the Bible says, “And let’s not grow weary of doing good, for we shall reap if we do not give up.”

This is our time. We will begin to accomplish everything that we have dreamed of. Our mind is the only thing capable of limiting us. Think big. Think grandiose. Think out of your comfort zone.

Whether your goal is to make more money, change lives, or teach and mentor others, you are fully equipped to achieve your goals.

SECOND: Live with expectancy! Expect that you will have everything that you desire, but you must do your part. It will take hard work. Believe in yourself and take action. Each and every one of you is an “A” type personality. God has given you significant gifts and talents: Creativity, Wisdom, Discernment, Common Sense, Drive, and Ambition.

THIRD: “Let’s Give Them Something To Talk About.” Like the 1990s song by Bonnie Raitt: Let’s do great things in 2015. Let’s get them talking about the S.E.C. in 2015 across this country.

LASTLY: “I Did Not See That Coming.” Largely in life, when a negative event occurs, our natural inclination is to say, “I did not see that coming.” I challenge you to change your thinking during 2015. Good things often happen out of bad circumstances. Begin to assume that when a hardship or difficult time comes that it will ultimately lead to a very positive outcome, and in time, you will look back and say, “I did not see that coming!!”

I clearly remember that several times early in my career I faced severe financial adversity and was shaken to my core; however, as a result, a positive outcome typically developed and advanced me to a much higher level in my career.

I would like to close tonight by sharing with you my favorite passage from the book titled, “A Return to Love,” by Marianne Williamson.

A Return to Love

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

No, let’s go out there and give them something to talk about this year!! 2015 is our “Due Season.”

Jackie Hellingson, I want to take a moment to acknowledge you, and thank you for all that you do for us. We appreciate you so much.

God bless the S.E.C., and God bless each and every one of you. Thank you!


  1. Great Presidential acceptance speech. Very thought provoking. We look forward to your leadership John!

  2. What an inspiring speech…..
    I like your out look for The SEC.
    Onward and upward in 2015!
    Best wishes,
    Kathryn McKenzie

  3. Hugely inspirational John. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.