Entrepreneur of the Year: Tyrone Leslie
Entrepreneur of the Year: Tyrone Leslie
Tyrone Leslie is a family man. When he’s not playing dad to his two teenage girls, he’s living out his entrepreneurial dream of running a successful business. And actually, he’s running five.
Tyrone is owner of Fargo-based homebuilder Heritage Homes, real estate company Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Premier Properties, as well as Total Home Services, DT Holdings and RM2 Developments.
His roots though didn’t start here. Growing up, the Leslie family visited Fargo often, and eventually moved here from Canada. Tyrone tried many jobs, including bus boy, coat check attendant, front desk clerk, and bartender at the family hotel, and line cook at their A&W restaurant. It was then he realized sales was what he wanted to pursue.
When Tyrone turned 18, he got a real estate license and started selling condos to people more than three times older than he was. (Not to mention he grew a mustache to look older so clients would take him seriously.) It took him 3 months and 10 days to make his first sale, and he credits his father for teaching him how to work hard and persevere to make it in the end. “One of the most important lessons he taught me was that selling for a commission is not why you’re in this business,” he recounted. “Instead, it’s the fact that you are selling what most likely will be a life-altering decision. Therefore you need passion, respect, trust and the ability to have tremendous care when selling such an emotional purchase.”
When he moved from Winnipeg down here to Fargo, Tyrone had a vision and pursued it by partnering with the right people to build Heritage Homes and Prudential Real Estate, which is now Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Premier Properties, now sitting as owner of both. “With determination, passion and the right team, we have become the number one builder in our league of homes and one of the top real estate companies in our market,” he said.
It’s clear that his vision is paying off, as he’s built the businesses up to see great successes and growth, earning many accolades along the way. He takes pride in every aspect of his work, believes in building relationships around the community and giving back whenever possible. In fact, he’s participated in Extreme Home Makeover three times!
But he is careful to not take all the credit for his own success, instead turning to his team. “Our company is not about any one person but a team of people that genuinely love what they do. Their passion ignites my passion to always continue to do better, continue to grow and learn from our mistakes.”
Tyrone views owning real estate as one of the top ways to achieve wealth, but notes the importance of remembering the customer journey. “The journey homebuyers have throughout the process will always be a beautiful memory that they deserve to have. After all, everyone deserves to live the American dream of homeownership,” he says.
A phrase he often references is “to whom much is given, much is required,” and he lives his life and runs his businesses with that at the forefront. All the while crediting his family for teaching the lesson of the importance of respect, integrity, passion and love, and his team for success.
“You live half your life working. Love it, embrace it and constantly challenge yourself to be better.”
A tribute to family
“On a personal note, the birth of my two girls has leveled my being to what really matters in this world, and I thank God for them every day. They make me want to be a better dad and a better person. Meeting Christina, my love, has been a very powerful thing for me personally. Being able to love someone is so important but feeling it back is equally rewarding. She has shown me that feeling and I can’t thank her enough for that. My oldest brother Norman Leslie is my truly my motivator, I have looked up to him all my life. I say that figuratively because really I look down physically at him. He is a beautiful soul that has the heart of an angel and the tenacity of a lion. He is my go-to person when I need help in pretty much every way. I thank him for everything he has done and continues to do for me.
Lastly, my Mom is my angel that reminds me that there is more to this world than working, and that love, integrity, passion and empathy is what truly make a man or a woman. She believes you shouldn’t be head strong, controlling or disrespectful to anyone, but be thoughtful, caring and most importantly, love. To truly listen and understand one another is important. Life isn’t about winning an argument; it’s about truly hearing one another, collaborating with one another and walking away loving each other and growing together.”