Editor’s note: Just in time for Father’s Day, NYC real estate duo Frederick Warburg Peters and Clelia Warburg Peters share what they’ve learned from working together in the following co-authored article. Here are their top nine tips on woking together as family.
1. Keep personal and business relationships separate for clarity and ease
When Clelia came into her father’s business, she was all about keeping business and personal separate.
At the office, Clelia doesn’t call Fred by “daddy,” but instead treats Fred like anyone else in the office. For her, it’s always been easier to keep the relationship strictly professional. They do not discuss family issues at the office.
2. Be professional
Keeping it professional doesn’t mean not caring. At the end of the day, Fred is Clelia’s father. He brings the cookies that she likes before they get eaten at company functions. He makes her a cup of tea in the afternoon. There’s a kindness to that only a father can provide.
3. Always make time outside the workplace for uninterrupted personal time
Fred and Clelia recently spent the weekend together. They made Saturday an entire “Warburg-free” day where they discussed no business. It was all about family and cherishing those times together.
4. Blend traditional and innovative perspectives to showcase the best of both
They bring the best of both worlds to their work lives. Fred has known the best of real estate brokerage for almost 40 years. He knows what works and what hasn’t worked.
Clelia was at Boston Consulting Group prior and is only a few years into real estate, so she brings innovation to her ideas.
5. Be a mentor
A good boss, like a good father, is a mentor. You walk down the halls of the Uptown office of Warburg, and you will hear from many brokers who have been with Fred since the beginning that he is “like a father to [them]” because of his demeanor.
He is always open to listening to ideas. He is always available to go on appointments. He is heavily involved in the business. He pays attention to agents’ personal sides and has solutions to solve many frequent problems.
6. Know each other’s strengths and weaknesses
They know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and it makes them stronger. Fred and Clelia know how to complement each other in meetings while not stepping on each other’s toes.
7. Get down to business
By bringing his daughter into his company, Fred trusted her from the start. There was no initial getting-to-know you phase between them like many executives have when bringing someone new to their company, a major benefit of working with family.
8. Focus on each other’s natural abilities to achieve the most
Fred is involved in the day-to-day brokerage. Clelia is a visionary, like her mother. Fred is involved in many of the agents’ deals. Clelia is involved in the future of the company, next steps and taking risks on.
9. Set all your rules, but also be able to break them
Inevitably, because Clelia is a family member, she has a unique sort of access in terms of floating ideas by her father. Coming from his daughter, he is more open to considering things coming from her.
Fred and Clelia do not always follow their rules of keeping the business out of family time, but they always try their best. No one is perfect, and it’s best to remember that when it comes to family, sooner rather than later.
But this father-daughter duo enjoys their professional and personal lives, and working together has only strengthened their bond.
Happy Father’s Day to all the real estate dads out there!
Clelia W. Peters is the president of Warburg Realty in New York City.
A graduate of Yale College with a Masters Degree from CUNY, Frederick Warburg Peters entered the real estate business as a residential agent in 1980. After working as a Sales Director at Albert B. Ashforth for a number of years, he acquired and renamed the 95-year old firm in 1991. Since that time, he has expanded the company from 40 to 130 agents and from one to three locations.