Happy Friday. After completing a remarkable first two weeks for Gate House Strategies, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone with whom we’ve had the pleasure of engaging and many others who have been in touch.
Already, the firm has forged meaningful partnerships with longtime colleagues in the housing market and beyond, rekindled relationships that we believe will help the industry resolve critical and timely policy challenges (some age-old and others arising out of the pandemic), and been contacted by numerous others whose unique goals and enterprises portend well for future relationships with our firm.
We are hard at work discovering paths forward, finding new avenues for success – merging the unique expertise and perspective within the industry with our knowledge, experience, and relationships, forming coalitions of key allies, and leveraging it all to achieve results.
Now while that’s a mouthful after just two-and-a-half weeks, as we tried to convey at the launch we are on a mission to assist our clients’ efforts to build, to innovate, and to grow — to add to the long tradition and commitment to a strong and vibrant financial services and housing market that serves the interest of all Americans.
A few days after announcing this venture, I was on a plane to Jacksonville, FL to attend the Mortgage Bankers Association of Georgia (MBAG) annual conference, the first in-person event I have attended in over 14 months and one rescheduled twice last year (and I suspect the same for the other attendees).
Suffice it to say we were all incredibly excited to come together once again like real, non-virtual people, to see one another, and to begin to share ideas again amidst a sure sign that things are starting to get back to normal. The excitement was palpable and it warmed the heart to see close friends and colleagues see each other face-to-face for the first time in many, many months.
The next morning, Rob Chrisman and I conducted a panel together, and we could feel the readiness to look ahead and to build upon what was an extraordinary year in housing. Just before we walked on stage Rob turned to me and whispered, “I have the hiccups!”
Perhaps it was the perfect metaphor for involuntary, seemingly inexplicable contractions of the COVID-19 era that require creative, innovative solutions in front of a live audience.
Without missing a beat, our moderator (upon hearing a hiccup) declared she had a sure-fire cure that never fails. She rose up and walked over to Rob imploring him to stand up and raise his arms high above his head. She asked for a glass of water but saw one on the podium (Note: it was mine from the previous session which I did sip from (sorry Rob)). The moderator then held the glass and told Rob to tilt his head back and keep drinking but to wave his hands when he had enough. I immediately thought of waterboarding but Rob kept chugging before giving the audience his version of “jazz hands.” And it worked much to the audiences laughter!
We had a great session and can’t wait to do it again soon. (And thank you, Rob, for the shout-out on your unmatched-in-influence blog about Gate House as “the new kid on the block.”)
But getting back to business, we are hearing from a lot of people, new and old, who are seeing the challenges we are seeing and who are looking for the best solutions, working to position themselves to both take advantage of new opportunities this year has in store and looking beyond the pandemic to strategies that will achieve the mission.
Again, we are looking forward to it all and can’t wait to help our partners navigate this journey ahead.
–Brian Montgomery, Chairman and Founding Partner, Gate House Strategies