An Interview With Johnny Hanna, CEO of Homie
Johnny Hanna is CEO of Homie, a tech-enabled real estate brokerage headquartered just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. Since the company’s launch in 2015, Homie has become the number one listing broker in UT, raised millions of dollars in funding, launched in Phoenix, AZ (and soon to come, Las Vegas, NV), and employed over 200 agents and other tech-savvy professionals.
That’s the typical introduction that startup entrepreneurs and executives have come accustomed to. While that bio shines with accolades and success, it’s missing the most important thing about Johnny Hanna.
He is a human.
Johnny Hanna is a father, a husband, and a leader. His passion for helping others prompted him to start Homie, a tech-enabled real estate brokerage, headquartered in Utah, that saves buyers and sellers thousands of dollars in commissions. In his spare time, Johnny enjoys spending time with his wife and seven children. Johnny feels strongly about promoting mental health, work/life balance, and self-care in the workplace.
In an interview with Johnny, we explored the stigma that the startup world creates around crushing it, all the time.
Question: Can you share with us a personal story about mental health?
Answer: “I recently posted some thoughts on LinkedIn. I explained that I’ve been trying to not label myself as CEO of Homie. What you do isn’t who you are. I talked about how, if I am just the CEO of Homie, my value is attached to the company. If the company isn’t doing something newsworthy, I am a failure; if the company is doing well, I am arrogant. I shared that we are currently going through training at Homie on self-care and mental health.
With that post, I learned that everyone bottles things. Five minutes after I hit that Post button, I got a private message. It was from another CEO who told me he was struggling. He asked for info on the training. Instead of just giving him info, I called him directly. He was just really upset. He needed someone to talk to.
Until you open up, no one knows what you’re going through.
I’ve had tons of messages from people stemming from a similar post in the past. The number goes up to around 70 people, people who need support.”
Question: Can you share the process of protecting work/life balance for Homie employees?
Answer: “We have mental health training going on right now. We talked about understanding self-care and what it is. Our executive team went through it, and our mid-level managers are doing it now. Soon, we’ll roll it out to the entire company.
Some things I focus on from the training include drawing boundaries, taking time to think and meditate, and prioritizing my life. Now, I can’t control what people choose to do. I can give them tools to help them balance their lives.
Another key point in our training regards vernacular. One of our company values is balance. We can more easily hold each other to that value if we all speak the same language. We can promote balance by using the same words and having a common understanding of what self-care is.”
Question: How do you practice what you’ve learned in the training?
Answer: “Being present. I am married, and I am a dad. When I go home, I recognize that I just left a full-time job, and I am starting another full-time job. If I check out of my job at home, then I am just avoiding my responsibility as a husband and as a father to be present. It’s constantly a challenge. You have to build the habit of being present. You’ll have slip-ups, but it’s working toward the end goal that’s important. If you’re not working on self-care, you’re not healthy and you’re not balanced.”
Question: What tips would you give a new business owner, an entrepreneur, or a leader in an established company about mental health?
Answer: “Recognize your feelings. Share your feelings. Be vulnerable. Everybody struggles. Everybody bottles it up. No one [in the workplace] is really open with their feelings. We’ve been taught NOT to be. Sharing what you feel is not a weakness, it is a strength. Tucking everything away is hard. It’s numbing. That is a weakness, and people don’t realize that. When we have these pains, we go home and try to ignore it; we binge watch TV and try to shut down our brains because we had a painful day. Instead, acknowledge those feelings and work through them. If you treat them like water under the bridge, they’ll come flowing back later on.”
Question: What do you want people to take away from this interview the most?
Answer: “If your entire worth is tied to whatever label or job you have, you’ll end up in a dark place. Your worth as a human being never changes. You are loved. You have a support system out there that you might not know about right now. Find it. I know it’s easy to act like you’re crushing it all the time because you compare yourself to other people in your position. What you need to remember is that comparison is the thief of joy.
Don’t let your worth be tied to things that are out of your control. Being overwhelmed and stressed is a choice you make. Don’t take things on because you think other people are out there doing it. You’ll have a distorted view of what self-worth is.”
We want to thank Johnny for opening up for this interview and for his time. Homie is currently using ConneXions for employee mental health curriculum.
Johnny Hanna is CEO of Homie, a tech-enabled real estate brokerage headquartered just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. Since the company’s launch, Homie has become the number one listing broker in UT, raised millions of dollars in funding, launched in Phoenix, AZ (and soon to come, Las Vegas, NV), and employed over 200 agents and other tech-savvy professionals.