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A series of POWERFUL PODCASTS by WOMEN, about WOMEN. Women’s strength has shaped the world in which we live in all possible aspects, the likes of government, education, health, science, business, spirituality, arts, culture and MORE. NPR-WGVU Public Media’s POWERFUL WOMEN: LET’S TALK podcast is a series of interviews with diverse women who are trailblazers who have helped shape our community and transform who we are and how we live. Hear them tell their stories in their own words.This podcast will be released in the summer of 2020 which corresponds to the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote in the United States. This release will also parallel PBS national programming celebrating this historic event.POWERFUL WOMEN: LET’S TALK is hosted and produced by NPR-WGVU Public Media’s own team of powerful women, Shelley Irwin and Jennifer Moss.

Episode 003: Diane Griffin

Diane Griffin
The Mitten Tog Owner/Photographer

Diane Griffin makes her mark nationally and internationally, running Griffin Properties Residential Real Estate Team and Chairing the Board for Keller Williams United Kingdom. She is an Ironman, plus has seen the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Her adventure of life is sure to inspire!

Full Transcript:

>> Produced by women about many ‘Powerful Women, let's talk’ is a series of interviews with women who have helped shape our community and transform who we are and how we live.

>>I’m Shelley Irwin, today's powerful woman has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, she has a container House in Belize, she doesn't like sand, she's an iron man she has a day job as well, Diane Griffin is the owner and CEO of Griffin Properties, a residential real estate team in the operating principle for Keller Williams Grand Rapids North market center it’s a local branch comprised of over 100 agents in Grand Rapids Michigan. Internationally she serves as chair of the board for Keller Williams United Kingdom and well the list goes on.

Her entrepreneurial success of the last 25 years combined with a passion for coaching and  educating brings a unique combination of experience, strategic direction, and commitment to excellence into every new venture.

So please welcome to this ‘Powerful women, let's talk’ adventure, Diane Griffin. Hi Diane.


>>I'm glad that you are here and I hope that the iron man medal sits prominently on your fireplace mantel.

>>It does I am very proud of that accomplishment I have a tattoo to show it as well.

>>Okay well we might get to that later what do you see at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.

>>It is absolutely stunning and it's very cold so you're above the clouds and when we climbed we reached the summit as the sun was coming up so to watch the sun sort of Crest the Earth from that perspective was absolutely spectacular.

>>Congratulations on your avocational  and of course vocational successes. Do you remember the day you bought your first house?

>>I do very specifically so I’ve been in Grand Rapids for 30 years, I moved here right after University for my first career position, I rented for about a year and then bought my first House when I was 22, so I remember where it is I owned it for a very long time and I still drive by it regularly.

>>What got you passionate for real estate as a career?

>>Honestly as a career, it's my mother she didn't do real estate while I was growing up, but she has done it for 30 years and it's been a very good career for her and so she kept telling me I think you should try real estate, it's really great you should try it and I don't know about you, but whatever your mother says I do the opposite mostly.


>>And then finally I said ok, I'll give it a go and so she was really the impetus.

>>Do you remember selling your first House?

>>I do yes, the very first house was unusual in that the sellers had a very large snake tank. So it was actually known as the snake House forever that was the first House.

>> Diane what makes Griffin property stand out?

>>What makes us standout …Griffin properties is absolutely 100% dedicated to community our business has been built on community relations and community involvement and  our  whole team is part of the foundation. we believe very strongly that you give first and good things come back to you and so that's how the business has been built. its repeat and referral.

>>And yet you brought this opportunity internationally. How’d that happen?

I'm very fortunate to be part of Keller Williams, we’re the largest real estate company in the world we are in right now over 47 countries and they are all about whatever opportunity you want it's available if you do the work and you meet the people and make things happen so I just saw that I'm a builder right I like to look at an opportunity figure out how to build it and really figure out who I should be building it with and then I get out of the way and other people take those over and continue and make it better than I could.

So for me the international piece came from the Keller Williams international focus, and I really wanted to get on the bandwagon.

So 5 years ago, I opened a market center like the one we have here in Grand Rapids, North I opened one in Leeds England and that opportunity I was one of the first Americans with international opportunity so that really opened so I was able after that to be involved in both Belize and Poland.

Yeah, and so then worldwide came to me and said we think you can do great things with the United Kingdom are you interested, and I said yes.

>>Let's talk about leading in my opinion powerful women lead how do you lead and what's working to make you powerful?

>>I lead by asking a lot of questions.  for me my leadership is all about creating opportunity for people in my world, so I don't know what opportunities are going to be available to them unless I know really what their goals are and have conversation around what that looks like I'm not always the one who can help them, but I usually can find somebody who can ,so I think of myself as a connector and I think being a connector is a big piece of the leadership.

So I do that then I also am not a micromanager. Many people in my world, you know they'll have a success and they’ll have a failure and they say oh, but you might have been able to tell me I could have avoided that it was like no,  we know we have to learn by doing that and so getting out of the way and allowing people to learn on their own and make some mistakes I feel has been very successful in the leadership component for me.

>>What are leadership traits you'd like to see in your leaders?

>>Oh I really like to have people who have a vision right. A really clear vision who can articulate that without too many words right if you're going to be able to stand at the top of the mountain and shout what you're doing it needs to be concise so people remember exactly what that was so for me that's having the vision and then the other thing is that, well 2 more things one is being learning based the world changes constantly and we have to keep learning and keep improving and then the other piece is to have the grit.

I mean in order to really persevere through all kinds of times and challenges and uncharted territory grit is an essential component.

>>What’s it take to find your own voice, your own Diane Griffin voice?

>>For me it takes conversation with other people to understand what triggers me right so if somebody is talking about something I’ll either think oh my gosh, yes, I agree, or I don't agree with that and I don't just back down I will stand up and say what it is that I agree or disagree with so a lot of that comes from the conversation and it also comes from me feeling clear about what my direction is.

>>You’ve climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, you have an iron man tattoo, but you also are the operating principle for both the US and UK company is this the answer to where does balance plans role in the life of you?

>>Yeah, that's a great question.

I think the answer is it's always an area for improvement because also my health is very important so trying to figure out how to run businesses and stay healthy is that it's a bit of a roller coaster when I first got in the business.

I am, was the Queen of dashboard dining I gained 60 pounds it was not a very healthy lifestyle and it was taking a toll on me physically and I knew I needed to do something different and then I sort of swung the other way where I was like doing so much physically that I felt that I wasn't holding up, one of the things that we talk a lot about instead of balance is counterbalance because really having to juggle is the important piece and not really letting any one of those things hit the ground.

When I struggle with balance again I reach out and look for mentors, look for accountability partners and I have different accountability partners with each of my areas and that helps me with the counterbalance.

>>Diane in prep you disclosed that you have an insurmountable work ethic, how important is work ethic today?

>>I think it's more important than ever and when we talk a lot about win, win and do the right thing and the reality is win, win doesn't resonate with everybody and the right thing is different for a lot of people so I just need to stick true to where I believe and what I think and stay focused on that and I spend time with people who are in that same category if people are acting in unethical ways or win lose ways I don't really spend time with them, you know there are plenty of great people and I look for those people.

>>You mentioned earlier you were a connector, how do you build community relationships?

>>For me, it's showing up right you show up and you be present and you meet people and you support businesses, support local businesses, support local people and not I mean financial is great everybody needs help financially but I think it's really feet on the ground and getting your hands dirty and helping in that way and I believe that  you show up first and then the community sees you.

>>In your profession, how does competition work? Are women able to build up other women?

>>Uh yes, yes, we do, I mean it's a really big focus. This industry is fascinating because there are more women in real estate than there are men but most of the top agents are men.

And when you start looking more around the country that balance is shifting more and more women are becoming more savvy and stronger business leaders and we're starting to see that shift so I feel like it's an amazing opportunity for women in real estate right now.

>>What do you do for fun besides run and climb mountains?

>>I spend a lot of time on my pontoon boat. I love that we have a pontoon boat right here in Grand Rapids.

And I fortunately can do a lot of work from my boat, so a lot of what I do is calls and coaching and so I can do that from anywhere and it has a really peaceful feeling I use that boat for my iron man swim training as well in the lake so it's multi purpose, but as far as fun we have our house in Belize and it's a really fun place to go and we have a whole nice group of friends there so when we can get there we definitely go and spend time and that's a fun place as well and I have some really close friend connections and most of those people, a few live in Grand Rapids but a lot of them live all over.

I was told many years ago that there will be a time in your life when you have to fly to see your friends and I thought that's crazy, I actually laughed, I'm pretty sure, and and now that's true and I'm doing that flying to see friends and that's an important component to me.

>>I'm not quite ready to leave the iron man conversation.


>>What drew you, drove you to do this event?

>>Yes, well I’ve been doing triathlons for about 10 years, I do 8 to 10 per year and I really enjoy that I've done mostly the Sprint and Olympic so little bit shorter distance but I went to see a friend do iron man in Austria and to be present in the crowd and feel that energy and watch the emotion as people cross that line I thought this is something I have to do and I thought ok, here's what I'll do I'll do a half and that maybe that will be enough but as I started training for the half I was training with a friend and we sort of talked each other into doing the full, so we signed up at the same time hit send and I'm like ok, I'm not fully knowing what I was getting into from the time commitment to but I again, I'm really happy I did I feel so proud.

>>But I understand Diane Griffin doesn't like sand or salt water.

>>That's right, neither, it makes some triathlons a little complicated because sometimes you have to run along the beach but we figure it out .

>>What is this container House in Belize?

>>Yeah, it’s just made of shipping containers, there are 2 40 foot shipping containers, they're 20 feet wide and just like this kind you see on boats or on backs of trucks and they're separated by another 20 feet so you just have about a 1000 square feet it's up on stilts so it’s is 9 feet off the ground and it's right on the water.

So it gets great breeze, ust one bedroom one bath so it's really just our little hangout place and it's a nice combination between cozy and modern.

>>You go to burning man every year, what’s this?

>>I do. How much time do we have? Burning man is an amazing event. I've been 3 years and this year's not happening.

But the community around it is incredible.

The camp that I'm part of is called the love’n oven and we make fresh bread every day we serve anywhere from 5 to 800 people a day fresh bread and it's free that's our gift so it's a gifting community it’s not barter its gifting.

And I'm also part of the core members of the team of our group so we work on our camp all year long I'm in charge of the kitchen and we make 3 meals a day for 46 members of our camp and so I've do the menus and buy the food and make all the directions so people can help some it's a really it's a giving and loving camp.

>>Share a motto or recommendation of a good book.

>>Oh um, one of the books that we've read recently that I like is is ‘Grit’ by Angela Duckworth and it just really helps even when you feel like you're gritty you read this and it really helps you dig in and figure out ways that you can be more so.

>>you mentioned that earlier in our what it takes to be leader.

>>Yes, that's right.

>>And yet you're still reading about it.

>>Oh, yes, yeah we read constantly I say we because we do it as a team we do it as a market Center for me, it's usually books on you know audio books or podcasts.

>>What's the next step for Diane?

>>The next step for me is to hit my goal of having a 20 passive income streams and I'm at 18 so my goal is to get those additional 2 passive income streams within the next year at 20, I say passive, I'm still active in 3 of the business is very much so and my goal is to change my activity not be less active but be differently active in those 3 businesses so that eventually they are truly passive and then my goal is to travel a lot, love travel.

But  educate at the same time so with Keller Williams being in 47 plus countries I can travel just about anywhere I want to go and I can pour into people and through coaching and leadership and training and motivating and that is really what fills me up and my goal is that the businesses I have support financially the ability to do that so that I can go an offer that and not be charging for it just another gift back.

>>Is it still location, location, location?

>>It's always location, yes.

>>Thanks for joining us.

>>Yeah, thank you, it's my pleasure I’m honored to be here.

>>Thank you Diane Griffin, our powerful woman that does it for this edition of ‘Powerful Women, Let’s Talk’. I’m Shelley Irwin.

>> Produced by women about when these powerful podcasts focus on powerful women and how their strength transforms who we are and how we live want to hear more ‘Powerful women, let's talk’? Get additional interviews at WGVU.org or wherever you get your podcasts please rate and subscribe ‘powerful women, let's talk’ is produced by WGVU at the Meijer public broadcast Center at Grand Valley State University, the views and opinions expressed on this program do not necessarily reflect those of WGVU, its underwriters or Grand Valley State University.

Shelley Irwin is the host and producer for The WGVU Morning Show, a newsmagazine talk-show format on the local NPR affiliate Monday through Friday. The show, broadcast from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. features a wide variety of local and national newsmakers, plus special features.
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