Best Minds Podcast: John Cecilian, Jr., CEO & Co-Founder, Cecilian Partners

July 22, 2021
By Todd LaRue, Managing Director
Podcast Master-Planned Communities

Find out how Cecilian Partners is simplifying community development by combining customer experience and operations into a single platform for the homebuilding business.

In this episode of Conversations with the Best Minds in Real Estate, Managing Director Todd LaRue speaks with Cecilian Partners’ CEO & Co-Founder, John Cecilian, Jr. about his personal career journey and thoughts on the evolving homebuilding industry. Cecilian Jr. discusses beginning his career in retail before transitioning to the “family business” of real estate, and what lessons he learned that gave a unique perspective into that industry switch. He addresses the importance of equally prioritizing work, family, and self to create balance and grow as a person and leader, and delves into the issues that businesses are facing as digital transformation brings more technology into the daily work of the real estate industry.

“There are so many moving pieces in placemaking and community development. We are trying to simplify that.” – John Cecilian, Jr.

About John Cecilian, Jr. & Cecilian Partners

John Cecilian, Jr. is the CEO & Co-Founder of Cecilian Partners, a real estate technology company based in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Before the creation of Cecilian Partners, John spent eighteen years in retail leadership and brand strategy working for a variety of global lifestyle brands: Abercrombie & Fitch, Michael Kors (Pre-IPO), and the first “Brand House” Division for Under Armour are notable. In 2018, John decided to transition his passion for creating impactful customer experiences into the Master-Planned Community niche of residential real estate and form Cecilian Partners, a team of outside industry experts with a unified vision.

Cecilian Partners is a Proptech company built around the customer experience for Community Developers, Home Builders, and Homebuyers. They simplify data, digital marketing, and operations by centralizing the entire new home buying process. Cecilian has created a real estate software platform, The XO, that simplifies the management of community development through smart inventory management, lot management, and the most accurate anti-repetition algorithm and sophisticated business reporting in the category.

About Todd LaRue & RCLCO

Todd LaRue joined RCLCO in 2004 and serves as Managing Director in the Austin, Texas office. He manages and directs engagements for developers, landowners, investors, and public sector entities seeking strategic development, investment, and/or planning advice regarding their real estate. His work is focused on providing strategic guidance for complex, large-scale land-use projects including master-planned communities, high-rise mixed-use developments, and resorts. For these engagements, he conducts analyses to help guide clients’ planning decisions and development strategies.

RCLCO is proud to be the “first call” for real estate developers, investors, the public sector, and non-real estate organizations seeking strategic and tactical advice regarding property investment, planning, and development. RCLCO leverages quantitative analytics and a strategic planning framework to provide end-to-end business planning and implementation solutions at an entity, portfolio, or project level.

Topics in this episode include:

  • Beginning a career in retail for 18 years before transitioning to the “family business” of real estate (1:51)
  • What John learned about the customer experience from the retail industry and how he brings those experiences into the homebuying business (3:52)
  • How John’s focus on health and athletics influences his approach to business (6:50)
  • The importance of equally prioritizing work, family, and self to create balance and grow as a person and leader (9:43)
  • John’s use of the “Action Priority Matrix” framework to stay disciplined and transform “quick wins” into ongoing momentum (12:46)
  • Compensating for vulnerabilities by working harder, staying focused, and being prepared. (15:43)
  • The story of John’s biggest career mistake (18:39)
  • Leveraging professional associations and multigenerational mentorship to learn about real estate and become a better leader (23:07)
  • The different qualities that make one a great leader or a great manager. (26:15)
  • The issues that businesses are facing as digital transformation brings more technology into the daily work of real estate. (29:21)
  • How Cecilian Partners’ platform, The XO, is simplifying community development by combining customer experience and operations into a single software product. (33:05)
  • What the future has in store for Cecilian Partners and The XO (36:28)
  • How The XO is digitizing and improving the customer experience for the homebuying process. (39:45)
  • Using new technology to foster customer loyalty and maintain relationships after the purchase of a home (45:16)

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