Warren Frank
Chief Operations & Financial Officer, Chicago Association of Realtors

Chicago Association of Realtors Chief Operations & Financial Officer Warren Frank was a participant in Kellogg Executive Education's Leading Into the Future program. Here, he discusses what brought him to the program, how it added to the knowledge he accumulated while earning his MBA, the value of spending time with executives from around the world, and what he hopes to implement back at the office after learning about it with Kellogg Executive Education.

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What attracted you to Kellogg Executive Education and the Leading into the Future program specifically?

  • I wanted to learn, refresh and renew — and break some bad habits. The program looked like it was all-encompassing. I reviewed it with my CEO, and she thought it would be a great idea.

How did an Executive Education program add to what you learned while earning your MBA?

  • When I was in school, people didn't talk about mindfulness. People didn’t talk about the data analysis that one does now for marketing. In school, we focused on the four Ps. Now we're segmenting, and we’re using analytics. We didn’t even talk about either of those things back then. Now, have I been completely naive when it comes to that? Of course not. However, we did not have the formal education of learning from people who were experts in the field.

How did taking the program alongside executives from all over the world help broaden your perspective?

  • It was extraordinary. We had 50 people in the class. With more than 25 of them, English was their second language. Those from the States made up, at most, half of the group. The interaction was very, very helpful because it gave me — and, I'm sure, each person that was there — a view they could only get by having that type of conversation. They couldn't get it through watching video, watching television or watching movies because they would have never gotten that intimacy.

We like to describe the Allen Center's atmosphere as being like a learning retreat. Would you agree?

  • The Allen Center is wonderful. It is a true learning environment.

Do you have an example of something you learned that you hope to implement?

  • Mindfulness is something that I want to focus on. I'd like to also focus more on analyzing our customers. Our customers are our members because we're a trade association, and I want to expand upon that work with our director of marketing. I'm really at the point where I want to take all of the topics we learned to my colleagues and say, what would you like to focus on? Would you like to focus on marketing mindfulness? Would you like to focus on having more of a learning environment? Would you like to focus on increased innovation and becoming more innovative? I've got some things in mind, but I want to open it up because I may think something is the best thing since sliced bread, but they may not agree.

Many potential participants say they'd have a difficult time getting away from the office. What would you tell them?

  • You work it out with your CEO, and you work it out with your colleagues and staff and you say: “I’m going to be gone. I’ll check in for an hour a day, but I’ll be gone.” I found that it wasn’t difficult, but I think the reason for that is that all around, everybody knew that was just the way it had to be.

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