Growing up, I remember feeling trapped and lost. I thought my life was destined for digging foundation trenches and bussing tables for wealthy tourists. My dream of being a professional athlete was crushed when I was 15 and wasn’t very good at any sport. Luckily, I had a mentor in a literature teacher that insisted my passions for writing, thinking, and interest in people around could be jettisoned for a productive and fulfilling career in literature and volunteer work. I asked her how to do this; she walked me through applying for colleges, and once there, I found new mentors and loving guides who gave me a light to forge my own path. The age of miracles is still here, and they dwell in the generations of kids coming behind us. Every member of The Collective Access has related similar stories. Our energetic mentors and members seek only one goal: “To create a movement that engages the generation before us to help build the generation behind us.” AND WE’RE ONLY GETTING STARTED! Join us and make a difference in a kid’s life like what was done for each and everyone one of us!
It doesn’t take more than 5 minutes of hearing Jeff Discher speak to know he is a motivated individual. He sits in front of me, smile on his face and I struggle to equate the visual with the words coming out of his mouth. He’s wearing an impeccable suit, a known timepiece on his wrist, and shoes that are so shiny you can see your face in them. And yet, the man before me is humble and animated- hands moving rapidly and quickly as he reflects on his career and childhood in San Diego.
He smiles as I ask my favorite question to anyone I talk to- “What did you like doing as a child”. He smiles as he begins to tell me a story that is anything but ordinary. It’s a story about overcoming obstacles, being an underdog, but above all persevering and seeking knowledge when you need to. It’s no surprise then that while most kids spent their time growing up riding bikes, going to camp, and playing. Jeff chose a different route. His entrepreneurial spirit began early. There was something about creating something that had him hooked- and his hard work paid off. From an early age, he was starting businesses and trying to get his friends to do the same. He would find items that were broken, fix them up, and then resell them at up to four times their purchase price. He found a motivator early on that garnered him a strong work ethic- the financial rewards of creating something and being able to be compensated for his work. When he wasn’t sure what to do- he would look up in a book the steps he needed to complete a task. He made a mini empire by the age of 13, when kids were games- Jeff was making deals- and turning a profit.
I met Jeff a few months ago. We both were founding members of The Collective Access, an organization dedicated to formulating success for the underserved in San Diego, CA. I had heard about him- but wasn’t particularly motivated to get to know him. Truth be told there are tons of people that do Real Estate in our city, but very few who have the work ethic to stay in the business in good times and in bad. The minute I met him- I knew I was talking to a multi-dimensional individual. He is dynamic, bright, motivated, and willing to do work. To know him today you would never guess his humble beginnings. Every conversation has a moment of learning on both sides. Early on his career, he focused on fitness, training some of San Diego’ elite business executives. He accomplished what most trainers dream of, a steady schedule, premier clients, and the ability to build his brand.
Like most stories, it was an outsider who saw Jeff’s potential. There are moments when those around us can see potential we have not fully realized.
A client who was in the mortgage industry offered him the opportunity to pursue business development. He was able to refer one client, then several, and build up a significant referral path. It was so large in fact, that he wondered why he couldn’t do this same line of work himself.
The entrepreneurial pivot took place and he began to focus on Real Estate. In 2006 he ranked in the top 20 out of 500 agents in his real estate firm. In 2006, he received his broker’s license. Less than a year and half later, he took pause to focus and evaluate what he truly wanted in his life. After soul searching he realized- his relationships had always been the key to success. He loved meeting an array of different people from all walks of life that wanted to take the next step in their Real Estate Process. It comes as no surprise to anyone that knows him that he puts that level of effort and energy into his brokerage, Discher Real Estate Group, a division of Canter Companies. The countless testimonials from his clients- formal and informal- all attest to the qualities that Jeff has exhibited since early childhood.
Jeff reads an average of 3-5 books a month- In topics ranging from health and fitness to mindfulness and developing business acumen. The word “no” does not exist in his vocabulary. He also believes when he encounters an obstacle, it is his mission to learn as much as he can to help overcome it. It’s incredibly refreshing to dialogue with him because he expresses a true interest in people and problem solving. It's no wonder his clients benefit from his unique perspectives and negotiation skills.
Most recently, he has mentored and brought an agent who is in the midst of a military transition. Most employers don’t understand how a military skill set can apply in the civilian workforce- but not Jeff. Jeff saw in Ben Biggs, his newest addition and newly retired veteran, a person who had the drive to succeed. Jeff's unique ability to see potential and nurture his team and clients translates to his success in the San Diego Real Estate Sphere of Influence. Think I'm lying? Check out his testimonials here.
The best part of this? He's not content to be a one trick pony. On top of his Real Estate career, he has also invested in several businesses within the community- creating job opportunities for local San Diegans to help them reach their goals. Limits don't exist for Jeff Discher.
Maresa Friedman founded The Executive Cat Herder after running Corporate Operations & Business Performance Management, Market Development for Halo, a global analytics firm. She specializes in creating high impact changes with simple execution strategies. Her simple, no frills, and direct approach to project engagement has created a fractional COO/CSO model that has been embraced within the technology community She also serves as a Analytics & Data Strategist for Omni Creative Labs. Maresa is in the top 1 percent for Social Selling in the technology industry. Most recently, Maresa was awarded San Diego Metros 40 under 40 and a finalist for the San Diego Business Journal's Women Who Mean Business Awards. She was also a judge for the Business Intelligence Stratus Awards and is currently a contributor to the Innovation Enterprise a platform connecting leaders from startups to Fortune 500 companies. She writes for the Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Data Officer and CFO channels. She is also on the board for the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet. She is also a founding member of The Collective Access, an organization dedicated to empowering the underserved within the San Diego Community.
Pure Indoor Cycling hosted The Collective Access as it’s featured charity for October’s Pay It Forward Ride. The Pay It Forward Program was created by Maria Disla, owner of the San Diego Spin Studio that everyone’s been raging about. Each month, Pure hosts an hour long charity ride where each rider can book their bike online and pay a $25 donation. 100% of proceeds from each Pay It Forward ride will be given to local charities in San Diego with the cost of the instructor being covered.
The Collective Access hosted it’s 1st EVER KID NETWORKING EVENT. We have to say, it was a phenomenal success. Every individual was dressed to the nines and the energy in the room was buzzing with anticipation.
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The attendees were thrilled by the selection of mouth watering organic fruit snacks, Pepperidge Farm goldfishes, and Nabisco oreos. They washed their hors d'oeuvres down with Honest Tea juice boxes and glasses of milk.
There were four stations setup.
One for check in and registration where the kids could pick up a free copy of bestsellers “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Suess or “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” by William Joyce. The books were a donation courtesy of Claudia Erickson and the American Academy of Pediatrics CA3, Reach Out and Read San Diego Program.
Next was the Believe In Yourself station where kids were encouraged to write down 5 things or more that they liked about themselves. This station was designed to build self confidence in the abilities of our youth and create a pause for reflection. The kids wrote down their answers quickly while the adults pondered what they would have written if it had been there turn.
The third station was called Dream Big and the children were able to create vision boards with adjectives they felt described them. You could see the shock on parents faces as they realized their children were just as aware of their own personalities as their parents were.
The last station was the "I Am The Next Generation of Leadership" stand. The kids were prompted to write down what they wanted to be when they grew up.
After the parents and children moved around the room and made their way through each of these stations, The Collective Access members gathered to the front to segue into the basics of networking and the importance of business relationship.
They encourage the children to:
Have a firm handshake
Make eye contact
Introduce themselves with confidence
Put away phones
Remember to ask if you forget
And always smile
Andre Kwan stopped to say a few words and advise the students to be thoughtful and to be genuine.
Some of the kids couldn’t move away from the view.
We all left knowing there were some future leaders in the room.