Bozzuto Group President, CEO Discusses Culture of Kindness in Business

Students

“We basically believe that we are in the business of creating sanctuary … We believe that if we always do the right thing for our customers … then the net effect is very happy customers and employees who embody these values.”

This approach to conducting business was proffered by speaker Toby Bozzuto, president and CEO of the Bozzuto Group, at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School’s annual Allan L. Berman Lecture, held November 1, 2018. The Bozzuto Group, founded in 1988, is one of the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area’s leading residential real estate construction, property management, and homebuilding firms, employing 2,500 people, managing more than 70,000 residences, and operating in 11 metropolitan areas.

For the past two years, the Washington Post has named the Bozzuto Group as a “Top Workplace,” based on employee feedback and submissions. Among many accolades, Toby Bozzuto was named “Developer of the Year” by both the District of Columbia Building Industry and Maryland Building Industry Associations. He was also recognized as one of the Maryland Daily Record’s “Most Influential Marylanders,” as well as included in the Baltimore Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” list of the area’s rising executive leaders.

Bozzuto pointed to the culture of the organization (espousing kindness, empathy, and putting clients’ needs first), as established by his father, co-founder Tom Bozzuto, as key to the firm’s rapid growth and commensurate success. “[The company] started with values that have driven our growth and decision making on a daily basis.  He [Tom Bozzuto] started the company with these core values and I’ve taken the baton of this business and enforced those [values],” said Bozzuto.

Through the years, the firm’s employees, observed Bozzuto, have in turn hired others who share that value system, further reinforcing those concepts.  “Kindness begets kindness,” he observed.

We believe that if we always do the right thing for our customers … then the net effect is very happy customers and employees who embody these values.”

TOBY BOZZUTO | PRESIDENT AND CEO OF BOZZUTO GROUP

Bozzuto also pointed with pride to the fact that the firm employed 72 student interns this past summer, with 75 percent of them offered permanent positions last month (to be filled upon students’ graduation in June 2019).  “We’ll have wonderful new blood in the company,” he said.

This idea that kindness is something that you can allow into leadership, I don’t conflate that with weakness,” said Bozzuto. “I actually think it’s strength.”

Bozzuto also discussed the “double bottom line” of both profit and social goals, and how that has been intrinsic to the firm’s success. “What can we do to change the community and how can I change your life?” he asked. “If you’re one of my residents, how can I make your day better? That’s allowed us to have success to date,” he added.

“It’s an unbelievable business,” added Bozzuto. “We’re in the business, where at the end of the day, we’re creating something tangible. I think it’s a tremendously rich industry, and it’s rich in the sense that you can truly impact a community.”

This idea that kindness is something that you can allow into leadership, I don’t conflate that with weakness ... I actually think it’s strength.”

TOBY BOZZUTO | PRESIDENT AND CEO OF BOZZUTO GROUP

Allan L. Berman was a Baltimore-based real estate entrepreneur and diamond merchant, possessing a keen interest in real estate along with an intuitive talent for recognizing development opportunities. After his death, the Berman family’s gift to Johns Hopkins in his memory allowed for the creation of the Jean R. and Allan L. Berman Auditorium as well as the Allan L. Berman Institute for Real Estate Development. The institute has acted as a catalyst for research initiatives, conferences, visiting speakers, and new and expanded programs in real estate, including the Johns Hopkins Master of Science in Real Estate and Infrastructure degree. The annual Allan L. Berman Lecture honors the Berman family for their generosity and dedication to higher education and devotion to community.

Posted on November 21, 2018 In