I believe we’re given talents so that we can benefit others as well as ourselves.
I think it’s important for us to recognize when our unique abilities match a need
in our community, however large or small that community may be.
One of my heroes in this area is John Reale, cofounder and CEO of Station Houston. I’ve seen him in action on the board of Houston Exponential. This group is working to transform Houston into a hub for tech innovation and entrepreneurship.
John calls himself an Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builder. He’s passionate about helping others, learning and entrepreneurship. What impresses me most about John is his ability
to bring key influencers to the table, and his giving spirit.
An example of that is the launch of the Houston Innovation District in April 2018.
It’s a collaboration that involves our city’s Mayor Sylvester Turner, Rice University
and the broader Houston technology, innovation and entrepreneurship community.
Entrepreneurs are constantly overcoming barriers and winning over disbelievers,
John says. “I think that entrepreneurs get used to hearing ‘no’ more than ‘yes.’ It’s rewarding
to watch how folks have worked together to activate a startup community. We realized
we are solving a problem as much as we are creating tomorrow. We knew we would need
the involvement of corporations, entrepreneurs, investors, academic institutions, and local government. It’s awesome to be a part of that and do our bit.”
John is humble about his significant role in the business community. He says he has a natural inclination to serve. “It’s part of my faith. I had great role models. The late Father T.J. Martinez was a great inspiration to me. He was a Jesuit priest and founder of Cristo Rey Jesuit College Prep in Houston. He showed me what it means to build a community and to serve. I worked alongside him to co-found a mentoring program at the school.”
I’m on the same page as John when he talks about the rewards of volunteering our talents for a greater cause. “When you give, when you’re building and when you’re helping other people, it’s an amazing thing,” he says. “When you help other people become successful, you want to keep giving back. I see it every day.”
It just takes one person like John who works sacrificially to create the NEXT wave of needed change. Ultimately, his life work provides the leadership that benefits the whole Houston community.