Leading in Tough Times: Camille Renshaw, CEO and Co-Founder, B+E

Throughout the month of August, Connect CRE is running a series titled “Leading in Tough Times.” We’ve asked leaders around the U.S. and across the commercial real estate spectrum to share their wisdom and discuss lessons learned. In this installment, you’ll hear from Camille Renshaw, CEO and co-founder, B+E.

Q: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned about leading in a challenging environment? 

A: Story matters. Said differently, a leader’s job is to know the way, go the way, and show the way.  How a leader describes the challenges ahead and behind changes the company culture and how people feel about their work. 

Q: What’s the most valuable leadership advice you’ve ever been given? 

A: My grandmother told me it was okay to be afraid; I shouldn’t ignore healthy fears. Instead I should develop bravery as a key strength in the face of those fears. Be brave!

A: What’s the best decision you’ve ever made as a business leader? 

A: Coming out of the pandemic, I am most proud of the culture at B+E that we have cultivated and protected. In March 2020, we made a decision to have NO layoffs for one year and stuck by it. We retained all employees and invested heavily in their training throughout the crisis, letting every individual know that our greatest asset is our people. We started a Book Club, reading books like Michael Lewis’s Panic, so our youngest employees who had never seen a market cycle before could more deeply understand how to nurture a healthy investor mindset during a crisis. The employees created B+E’s Culture Deck, which we now share with recruits, that shares how the employees themselves view B+E’s culture and why they love working here. And in the end, Q4-2020 was one of our best quarters ever from a revenue perspective, and we were able to pay out great bonuses and commissions to our employees.

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