Tom Londres has grown Metro Commercial — one of the region’s top full-service retail estate brokerages — to 85 employees who do everything from representing landlords to tenants, as well as investment sales and property management. Throughout his 25-year career, Londres has been instrumental in representing Dave & Busters, PetSmart, BJ’s Wholesale Club and other tenants and tackling the lease up of some premier retail centers in the region including East Gate Square Shopping Center, Centerton Square, the Court at Oxford Valley and East Market.
What is the most pressing issue facing our region?
Jobs. Keeping talent here, especially the young up-and-coming superstars graduating, year-after-year, from the region’s premier colleges and universities.
What factors most helped you get ahead in your career and contributed to your success?
Listening to my mentors, never compromising my values or ethics, and always mixing in a good dose of “GRIT” — the kind described in Angela Duckworth’s book by the same name.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken? Did it work? What did you learn from it?
I love this question. The biggest risk I’ve ever taken was when I said yes to join Metro Commercial 31 years ago. I was two years out of university, had a fast-tracking career in NYC with a Fortune 100 company and I quit that job to join Metro when it was a startup. I was newly married and I bet everything on that decision. The early years at Metro were difficult and it wasn’t working financially. That forced me to work nights selling life insurance and caused my wife to work nights in retail. For several years, my wife and I had four jobs between the two of us just to make ends meet. Eventually, the risk paid off and today I live with zero regrets!
What one word best describes you?
What does leadership and being a leader mean to you?
To me leadership means service. To be a leader means to be a servant. If your mindset is you are better, stronger and dominant I think you have leadership mistaken for a masked form of insecure narcissism. I think true leaders yield, serve, encourage, prop-up others and take the last place in lines. If you study the really great leaders, the ones who have had the greatest impact, I think you’ll find these qualities.
Who is a CEO you admire, and why?
There are two:
1. Phil Francis, former CEO of PetSmart. He’s been one of my professional and personal mentors. He once said to me that a good CEO could be measured by two things: ONE: if the CEO was not there, would the organization continue to grow and thrive? If the answer was yes then that CEO was doing a great job. TWO: if that same organization, knowing it would continue to thrive and grow without its CEO, would choose to keep that CEO in place, then that CEO was doing a great job.
2. Joe Coradino, CEO of PREIT of Philadelphia. Joe has been a professional mentor and has become a personal friend. His knowledge of the industry and leadership qualities have always been something I’ve aspired to mimic. Joe has always said yes to every request I’ve brought his way. I’ve come to learn he’s a leader that finds a way to say yes. That’s had a huge impact on me. Sometimes, when I’m in a jam and don’t know what to do related to certain HR issues, a strategic decision impacting the future of the firm or deciding on large expenditure/investment to be made with the firm’s funds, I say to myself “What would Joe do?” Once I determine that, I go! I think that says a lot about why I view him as a CEO I admire.
To read the full special section profiling Tom Londres visit The Philadelphia Business Journal weekly edition on December 7th here.