Today’s guest was Neil Amper, Vice-President at Capstone Properties,
a commercial real estate company. Commercial real estate companies buy, sell and lease (rent) factory buildings, apartment complexes, and other company buildings.
There was no class host today. Rather, there was a test
to start the class. Neil arrived early to Hope High School and went directly to our Life Skills classroom. After Neil chose a desk to sit, I simply observed how Life Skills students would react to a guest already seated in the classroom. The result of today’s test was impressive. Almost every student, upon entering the classroom, approached Neil, extended a handshake and a “welcome to Hope High School”.
Neil’s story was both astonishing and inspirational.
“I grew up in a very privileged family.
My father started what eventually became a $500,000,000 (million) scrap metal company in Pennsylvania. We lived in a huge house with live-in servants. My father owned his own plane. We never wanted for anything. After I graduated from college, I managed one of my father’s facilities in Rhode Island. I was making a lot of money.
At the age of 28, I was worth $10,000,000 (million).
My family at the time, my wife and two children, lived a great life.” And, then, the unexpected happened. At the age of 31, Neil received a phone call from his father on a Sunday evening. “Neil, tomorrow morning we are closing the doors of our company. The company is bankrupt.
We’re out of business. You no longer have a job.“
Neil then described how he responded to this shocking news that suddenly disrupted his wonderful life. “I had responsibilities to my wife and children. I could not let them down by feeling sorry for myself.
I began contacting people in my network,
informing them my family’s company went out business and I was looking for a job.” Neil shared with the class how his wife reacted to the news. He then shared with the class that only I person in his network helped him find a new job.
“We all face adversity some time in our life.
It could be a school or job failure, even the loss of a dear friend or family member. It could be a personal injury. It could be a grievous mistake you make. Whatever it might be, your reaction to adversity will be indicative of how successful you will be in your life.”
Neil said he took a job in a commercial real estate company.
“I found a new career.
I enjoy my job. While I’m no longer a millionaire, I still earn a good living and I thoroughly enjoy what I do.“
Neil then spoke about his present job in real estate.
“I am constantly networking. I push myself out of my comfort zone to meet new people. For instance, I never go to the same coffee shop in the morning. I’m always going to new places to meet new people. In fact, some of the people I’ve met have become my best customers.
I encourage all of you to network, to engage new people in conversation.
You never know who you might meet. You might end up finding a best friend, someone who can help you find an exciting job or a trusted mentor.”
The class ended with a Life Skills networking time where students and Neil exchanged business cards and expanded each others’ network.