When did you join Cushman & Wakefield?
Bobbi Mathies : In March 1976, I joined the Los Angeles office to work for John Cushman, who was at that time Executive Vice President and a Director of the Executive Committee.
Describe your daily activities.
Bobbi: My day-to-day responsibilities have always been to facilitate the smooth operation of our office. However, the individual tasks involved have changed many times.
What’s your background?
I was originally hired as Executive Secretary for John Cushman. Almost exactly two years after that, John left Cushman & Wakefield and started his own firm – Cushman Realty Corporation. He called me from New York and said, “Well, I resigned, and I resigned you too!” From that day forward everything changed. We started our new firm with seven people. I was the only support person, which meant that I answered the phone (including calls from tenants that their toilets were clogged), typed letters, sorted mail – and took care of HR and corporate finance (kept the books, paid the bills, collected the money) and, overall, tried to keep everything moving in the right direction. Gradually we added staff, brokers and new offices – and actually hired people for HR and finance.
Cushman Realty grew to 200 people in 11 offices and my role changed again. In addition to working for John who was Chairman of the Board, I handled special events like our top broker weekends, Day at the Races, our Showcase House event, and John’s client event at his ranch in Driggs, ID. One of my favorite events was the Boy Scout Golf Tournament that John sponsored each year. The logistics were incredible, but it was a favorite of our clients. Over the years, we raised over $3 million for the local scout councils.
What’s it like working for John Cushman, III?
Bobbi: Working for John Cushman has been a pretty wild ride – never a dull moment! I must say that John has always been very generous and has always offered opportunities to grow and excel. I have had the opportunity do so much more than the ordinary executive assistant and have truly expanded my horizons.
I have to brag for John and myself. Our small staff is the most incredible. John has been with the firm for 54 years, I’ve been here 41 years, Deanna Marinez (Executive Assistant) has reached 29 years, and Alex Ticehurst (driver and office help) has been with us for 23 years. That’s almost 150 years of combined service!
Describe your work on behalf of executive women.
Bobbi : Early in my career with Cushman & Wakefield in Los Angeles, I joined an organization called Executive Women International and John asked me to represent the firm. This was an exciting prospect and a tremendous growth vehicle for me. As a new resident of Los Angeles, I was introduced to my counterparts in the top 100 firms in the area. This opened doors for professional growth and access to the CEOs at these firms, many of whom were clients. There was a philanthropic side also. We organized job fairs for young women entering business and awarded scholarships. Cushman & Wakefield even hired a few of our scholarship winners. In 1987, I was elected President of the organization and found myself speaking in front of those 100 business leaders and their assistants.
What do you like to do in your personal time?
Bobbi: On a personal basis, my husband Dick and I love to travel, cook, and garden. We live in Dana Point, CA, which is like being on vacation every day.
If you could have dinner with one or two people, living or dead, who would they be?
Bobbi : Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, as they were among the greatest and most influential politicians. Here’s some quotes I like:
“ Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” — Margaret Thatcher
“Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave the rest to God.” — Ronald Reagan
If you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Bobbi: Energetic, enthusiastic, and fun-loving.