This Oklahoma legend was raised by tenant farming parents on a Dust Bowl, Southern Great Plains farm in Garfield County that her grandparents had once owned. She wore feed sack dresses to school. Approaching middle age when her husband Richard suggested a career change from high school piano teacher to real estate, she rose through the years to the person that the world’s largest real estate franchise company well describes on its own website:
“She is the heart of Keller Williams, and her personal integrity and unending drive are touchstones that have made KW one of the most successful franchises in real estate history.”
When she ascended to the roles of Keller-Williams (KW) vice chairman and CEO in 1992, the company had 3,200 agents. After two decades of her leadership, it had more than 180,000.
Now, the pretty farmgirl with the winning smile prays for the President of the United States as he sits nearby with head bowed and eyes closed at the Presidential Prayer Breakfast. She leads the great and mighty of Oklahoma in a chant of “Should you be afraid to dream big? Should you be afraid to grow older? NO, NEVER!” as she gains induction into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.
Richard, himself a businessman par excellence and former OU basketball standout, offers an insight gleaned from over 60 years of marriage into her success:
“Of all Mo’s many talents and gifts that I’ve seen in the sixty years since we met in high school, greatest among them are when she meets someone, she is automatically their cheerleader, whatever their problem. She boosts them up to help make them successful.”
She credits hers and KW’s success to a challenging and uplifting value statement, which empowers rather than limits an organization, and can drive it to a superior purpose. Rather than limiting the quality of people it draws, she said, it empowers it to draw the best. Also, “the importance of bottom-up” leadership, wherein people in every office and cubicle of a company spawn the ideas, experiment with their validity, and allow those that work to make their way up through the office, the region, internationally, and only then to corporate policy.
The most important thing Mo has learned in her four score-plus years of life:
“Be grounded in your Christian faith, because we are only passing through this world. Our real home is yet to come. The challenges you face in a world filled with conflict is often times dark and discouraging. Your faith will lift you above all that and you’ll see the real home that you’re headed to. If you don’t have that grounding in your faith and you don’t know what the scripture says about our life in the future, it will be a very difficult journey. It is the most important thing you can do, because there you have your purpose, there you find your vision, and there you find your values.”
The above article is a bonus to the fascinating historical content found within our book
Oklahomans Vol 2 :
Statehood - 2020s
which can be purchased HERE.
View the inspiring 2-minute preview video HERE.