When Brenda Tushaus punched the clock for the first time at ReMax Results nearly two decades ago, landing the top job wasn’t on her to-do list.
She was the “IT girl,” she said, who installed Windows updates on computers and taught sales executives how to use e-mail. As the company grew, her roles and responsibilities expanded, and about four years ago, it was made clear to her that she would be in an executive-level role when the owner/broker John Collopy let it be known that he wanted her to carry on his legacy.
And now, Tushaus has replaced him as CEO of Eden Prairie-based ReMax Results, the largest ReMax franchise in the nation. Tushaus will be in charge of revenue-generating business initiatives and leading the overall strategy for growth.
Q: You didn’t come into this role as a sales agent. Instead, during your time at the company you’ve held several key roles in a range of departments, including chief operating officer, IT manager, director of operations and director of recruiting. Did you join the company expecting you would be running it someday?
A: Never in a million years did I imagine I would be at the helm someday; I couldn’t be more thrilled for this opportunity.
Q: What are your top priorities in the coming years?
A: My current priority is to realign some of the roles of our existing management talent. I want our core values and company mission ingrained into our day-to-day, starting with, “The sales executive is our customer. We are committed to providing them an environment that delivers personal and professional growth, the best technology and the finest of facilities to conduct their business so they can provide the best experience possible to their clients.” … By next year, I hope to refresh the “Results Experience” for our sales executives, staff, home buyers and sellers. Working with Re/Max Results on all levels should have a lasting positive experience.
Q: If you were in the market for a great deal, where would you be shopping?
A: In my opinion, there are opportunities in virtually every neighborhood. There is no part of the metropolitan area where there aren’t houses that need attention, could use improvement, or other factors that make them desirable in terms of an economic standpoint.
Q: Do you have a leadership hero/role model?
A: My father’s work ethic has had the greatest influence on me. He’s retired now, but there is no doubt I was influenced by his competitive activities of target-shooting and drag racing for most of my childhood years. He was a hardworking, blue-collar race car driver-turned-mechanic, who never missed a day of work. As a small-business owner, he was also a perfectionist and obsessed about the quality of his work. … Whenever I brought home straight-A report cards, he had to focus on the “socializes too much in class” comments from my teachers. I still giggle when I think about these conversations with him.
Q: What are your strengths/weaknesses?
A: My strengths are my strong relationships and my ability to communicate with my staff and customers on a transparent level. I am also very headstrong and will fight hard for something that I wholeheartedly believe in. A weakness? I am headstrong and will fight hard for something that I believe in … LOL. Some colleagues may say I am a control freak. I am OK with that and I am working on it
Q: When you are not at work, what makes time stand still?
A: I unplug with two extremes. I enjoy doing some sort of physical activity or I am planted on the couch binge-watching Netflix or reading a book. For exercise, I enjoy hitting the bike trails along the river or lifting weights. I read anything from business and personal development to a classic fiction murder-mystery.
Q: You have a tech background; how do you see it changing the industry?
A: We are already seeing changes with big data, predictive analytics and artificial intelligence. Real estate agents can now target their farming [or prospecting] to homeowners who have a high likelihood of moving in the near future. Brokerages, including Re/Max Results, are using artificial intelligence to engage and respond to online consumer requests more efficiently. Big data is improving auto-valuations of homes on many websites. Virtual showings via a VR kit can be a timesaving and unique experience, but they won’t ultimately replace experiencing the home and touring the neighborhood in the real world. Technology will continue to improve inefficiencies, speed up the transaction process, save money and create new opportunities. Our sales executives know that I love and will always embrace technology.