Penn State’s Franklin Gets Motivational on Football, Charity, and Community

by Mallory Siegfried

James Franklin, the 16th head football coach in the storied history of Penn State University’s Nittany Lion program, headlined the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® (GLVR) 6th Annual Signature Event on Thursday, May 31, 2018.

Franklin, who drew close to 700 attendees to the Sands Bethlehem Event Center, discussed his philosophy on teams and the importance of team building and mentoring – all of which are crucial to success on the football field, in business, and in life.

“Franklin provided valuable insight and inspiration to salespersons within and outside of the real estate industry,” said GLVR CEO Justin Porembo. “With Franklin’s teamwork message, we were excited for our Realtors® – and salespersons outside of our industry – to hear how working together can better their lives and their community.”

Several nuggets of wisdom from Franklin included:

  • On work ethic: “No one is going to out-work us. No one. You don’t get to East Stroudsburg University to Penn State University without knowing how to work. Wake up every morning ready to attack. There is no such thing as a snooze button. You do a back handspring out of bed and attack.”
  • On competing: “Compete in everything you do. Compete in the classroom. Compete in the weight room. Compete when it comes to community service. Compete in everything.”
  • On sacrifice: “Do you want to be successful? Yes. But very few people are willing to do the things necessary to be successful. Success is being disciplined to make the right decision moment after moment after moment. You don’t take the path of least resistance. You must be willing to make the decision that the common person wouldn’t make.”
  • On healthy relationships: “The only way you’re going to be successful is with positive, healthy relationships in your building, in your organization. Ask yourself, ‘Is this going to foster healthy, positive relationships in our organization?’” If not, you better believe we’re not going to do it.
  • On motivation: “I gave all the pre-game speeches at Vanderbilt. What happens when you’re the only one talking? You start turning into Charlie Brown. ‘Wah wah wah, wah, wah.’ We’re constantly asking other people, coaches and players to motivate our team. If I have to get the team fired up two minutes before running out to play in front of 100,000 fans, we’ve got a problem.”
  • On resumes: “Resumes are the most ridiculous things. References are more stupid than resumes. You’re going to give me a list of people that are going to say wonderful things about you? I’m not hiring anyone unless I know you or someone I know knows you and can vouch for you. I’m going to call people who will tell me the truth.”
  • On community service: “I’m a huge believer in community service. We fill the entire football program on buses. We go down to Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital and assault the hospital with the most positive attitude you could imagine. Once you realize in life you can get everything you want by serving others, it comes back to you tenfold.”

With the community in mind, a charity auction followed Franklin’s speech. And, yes, Franklin got competitive and helped drive up the bids. In total, $11,400 was raised. The Boys and Girls Club of Bethlehem received $6,600, and the local Penn State alumni chapter received $4,800.

Attendees had the opportunity to bid on various kinds of Penn State memorabilia, some of it signed by Franklin. Items included a mini helmet, game tickets, posters, and more. Kevin Smith of K.D. Smith Auctions was the auction’s master of ceremonies.

Going Beyond the Transaction

The charity auction is not the only assistance GLVR has recently provided to the Boys and Girls Club of Bethlehem. On June 19, 2018, Realtors®, sponsors and affiliates converged on the club for tasks and activities that included yard work, window cleaning, arts and crafts, dodgeball and basketball, and time spent with some amazing kids.

The Boys and Girls Club of Bethlehem is part of a nationwide affiliation of local, autonomous organizations of Boys & Girls Clubs. These clubs, which help children ages 6 to 18 develop the qualities needed to become responsible citizens and community leaders, have opened their doors to youth in communities across the country, serving as a “home away from home” for nearly 4 million kids each year during the critical time after school and in the summer.

The time spent with the Boys and Girls Club is part of a Quarterly Community Events Program. The program was launched in 2017 in a joint effort with GLVR’s Young Professional Network, Diversity and Community Involvement Committee and Affiliate Committee.

In addition to working with the Boys and Girls Club, the Association has organized blood drives with Miller-Keystone Blood Bank, cleaned up parks in Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton counties, created a team for the March of Dimes walk, collected donations for Third Street Alliance, assisted the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley with their annual “Bowling for Kids’ Sake” fundraiser, volunteered at the Lehigh Valley Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of the Lehigh Valley’s Great Strides fundraiser, and more.

As Porembo always says, “We’re not just here for the transaction, we’re here to help build the community. We soon hope the word ‘community’ comes to mind when you think of our Realtor® members.”

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