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Phillip BaltazarPhillip Baltazar is the Founder and Private Banker of Reiden Group, a firm that offers short-term financing for real estate investors and wholesalers. He is also the Executive Advisor at Culture Index, a strategic advisory firm working exclusively with visionary entrepreneurs, business leaders, and management to scale and transform organizations using applied analytics.

Phillip is a business advisor, serial entrepreneur, and Culture Index licensee. With a passion for empowering people and impacting lives, he possesses expertise in the mortgage lending industry, specifically driving growth and developing affinity partnerships across direct-to-consumer mortgage platforms.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Phillip Baltazar’s journey from wrestler to ballet dancer
  • How Phillip got into the mortgage space
  • Overcoming the 2008-2009 recession in the mortgage business
  • Culture Index and what it does
  • Factors to consider in hiring and retaining top talent
  • How to become a better leader

In this episode…

Any company’s success is heavily reliant on its team. As a business leader, how can you orchestrate the growth of your business with the employees you have?

Statistics show that 55% of the workforce will change jobs this year, and only 35% are actively engaged in their roles. The issue happens because employers are putting people in the wrong position. Business leaders need to make the right hires, understand that people are different, and know how to incentivize, motivate and coach them to be perfect. Having launched and managed three successful companies, Phillip Baltazar learned many lessons on how to be successful, which he uses to help other CEOs and owners scale across a spectrum of businesses and industries.

In this episode of the Rising Entrepreneurs Podcast, John Corcoran sits down with Phillip Baltazar, Founder and Private Banker of Reiden Group, to discuss his journey as a successful entrepreneur. Phillip explains how he got into the mortgage space, Culture Index and what it does, considerations for hiring and retaining the right talent, and how to become a better leader.

Resources mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode…

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The relationships you form through podcasting run deep. Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting. They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast.

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Rise25 Co-founders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.

Episode Transcript

Intro  0:02 

Welcome to the Rising Entrepreneurs Podcast where we feature top founders and entrepreneurs and their journey. Now let’s get started with the show.

John Corcoran  0:13 

All right, welcome everyone, John Corcoran here and I am the co-host of this show. And for those of you who haven’t listened to these episodes before, we got a great archive of great interviews with smart CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs of all kinds of companies, especially here in the San Francisco Bay Area. And this episode, of course, brought to you by EO San Francisco, which is a local chapter of the global EO organization, Entrepreneurs Organization about 16,000 members worldwide, entrepreneurs who’ve reached seven figures and beyond with their business and want to connect together and learn and share experiences together. And I personally, my name is John Corcoran, I’m a member of EO San Francisco on the board. I’m also the co-founder of Rise25, where we help connect b2b business owners to their ideal prospects. And my guest here today is Phillip Baltazar. He’s a business advisor, serial entrepreneur, culture index licensee, which we’ll talk about what that is, as well. They’ve been kind enough to be an EO San Francisco, sponsor of our program, which has been a great partnership for us and you got to check out this guy’s background. We’re going to get into it in a moment. But formally Division One wrestling, okay, from that the professional ballet to acting off Broadway, did some television opened and operated a number of restaurants around New York City catering, business event planning, enterprise mortgage banking. I mean, there’s a bit of everything here and I’m sure it all makes sense now. But I got to get into all the background behind all this so now he’s a strategic adviser works with businesses to help them to get the right people in the right seats on the bus. We’ve all heard that before. But how does the rubber hit the road on that one? We’re going to get into that here in a moment. And Phillip, it’s such a pleasure to have you here today. So first of all, I mean, tell me about this crazy background so wrestling to professional ballet. I mean, that must have gone over really well with your wrestling teammates for sure.

Phillip Baltazar  2:06 

Well, listen, forget about the wrestling teammates. Let’s talk about my father but he’s retired, Air Force Major, older brother, Army Colonel, younger brother navy seal, and I decide that I’m going to go down this other path here, right. And so how it happened is I had been awarded a scholarship to wrestle at West Virginia University, right and I did a year there, got redshirted came to California and came back and was at George Mason University, walking through the halls wanting. And again, I didn’t mention this, but believe it or not Chippendales. Like I actually did a stint at Chippendales as a waiter. And that’s when I saw these guys dancing, and I said, I can do that man, you know, whatever I got to do. So I went back to Virginia. I’m walking through the hallways, I’m enrolling in school and my parents wanted me to do a business background because I started a business building, brick patios on top of Mount solid out here in La Jolla, California. I’m walking through the hallways there and the wrestling coach falters are, what are you doing? I need 167 pounder. I said, sorry, coach. I said, look, I hung up my wrestling shoes. I’m going to study business. And he gave me all this stuff. And so he pulls me back on the team. So first day of practice. And so when I was signing up for my curriculum, it was all business accounting economics that, but I’m driving home. And I’m like, you know what? I really want to be an actor. So I turned the car around, I went back to school, I changed my entire curriculum, and they said, I had to take a dance class. So one was ballet. And the second one was modern, and I thought modern was what I saw at Chippendales, right? So I signed up for modern and the first day of class, I was in the dressing room, or the art. Yeah, the dressing room and the locker room calling a dressing room. Now I’m getting all mixed up, right. I’m in the locker room. I got my GMU wrestling t-shirt on, GMU wrestling sweats, right? And my buddies are saying, where are you going? I said, I got a PE class, right? So I slipped out the door. And I got to the stairs, and I opened this door to the dance studio. And you could have heard a pin drop. And it was like all women, right? And then a female teacher. And she looks up at me and she says, can I help you? And I said, yeah, I said, Is this Das one on one? And she says yeah, and I said, well, I’m Phil Baltazar, I’m in your class. You could have heard the second pin drop right? So check this out. This was like the hardest thing I ever tried to do with my body. In high school, I was captain of the wrestling team captain the football team, captain of the track team, right but going into this dance class, it was like, I felt like I had to completely re-educate my body because wrestling and it’s all like you know a contract and pulling it all in. Dance is all about elongating right? So I started the whole thing and I fell in love with it because I didn’t have to beat anyone up to prove that I was good. Right and I didn’t make it to Nationals that year I only placed fourth in our regionals. So I decided to quit school and I moved into Washington DC and I found my teacher who had a studio there.

John Corcoran  5:22 

And Washington DC, doesn’t not necessarily a hotbed of professional ballet, is it or?

Phillip Baltazar  5:27 

Actually it is, Washington Ballet is a feeder for American Ballet Theatre and for a New York City Ballet. So it is a big center there. So I walked in and I said to the director, Mary Des I said, hi, my name is Phil Baltazar and I said I want to be a dancer, and like a scholarship. So she gave me a scholarship. I moved in and I attacked Des like it was an athletic endeavor, right? I danced nine hours a day. I waited tables at night, went back to the studio. I mean, and then within a year, I started performing and I was asked to come to New York City, and I got into the Joffrey School of ballet. And I studied there. And then my career just took off. I started dancing all over the country. Got a job in Kansas City Ballet, worked my way from apprentice to soloist there. And then my girlfriend and I went to Europe, as a lot of Americans do. You tour around and you audition at different companies. And so the goal is if you get a job in Europe, unlike the US in the US, maybe you get 36, 30 weeks of employment, and the rest of the time you’re unemployed. In Europe, you get a job with a State Theatre, you sign a 13-month contract, you dance for 12 months, and then you got a 13-month of vacation paid vacation. In America, it’s unheard of as a dancer that you get paid vacation, right? So I just incredible career I danced for kings. I danced around the world. I performed cabaret in Berlin when they were celebrating their 750th anniversary as a city. So I had this incredible career. I come back to New York, and I decide that hey, you know what? My artists needed to speak. So ballet and dance is a mute art form. Right? So when actor, so I became an actor, and that was during that time that I met some Enchanted Evening and restaurants. So I walked in and like, I saw my wife-to-be across the room and our eyes clicked. And I walked up to her. And I said, may I be so bold as to sit down and introduce myself. And the next thing you know, we were together. And that’s a long story. But we got married, and we wanted to buy a house or buy a co-op in New York City, right? So we had to get a mortgage. And so I didn’t even know how to spell mortgage at the time, right? But so we went and applied to a bunch of different companies. We got denied because I’m an actor, oh, entrepreneur. She’s an academic. She’s at NYU grad school. So I finally got turned down, I think denied four or five times. And then finally I figured it out of what they were looking for. So I walked into the Kingsford Corporation, which was on Madison Avenue and 33rd Street at the time. And I said, who’s Kingsford? And so they point out to the corner office, and I knock on the door, and this is like out of central casting. This big old guy sitting behind the desk, but he’s smoking a cigar, right? And he’s on the telephone and I said, and he goes, can I help you? And I said, Are you Kingsford? And he says, yeah. And that’s what he goes, can I help you? I said, I don’t know. Let’s find out. So I walk into his office, I closed the door, and I sat down in front of him. So he tells the guy on telephone, look, let me call you back. So I took my file, and I gave it to him. I said here help me to understand why you can’t give me this mortgage. Because I’m going to show you how. And he said to me, he goes, you’re the most persistent Eph I ever met my life, man. And he goes through it. And he says, okay, do you have time for lunch? And so he takes me to lunch and he offers me a job. So I said, look, give me the mortgage. And I’ll come back. So he gets me the mortgage, we buy our Co-Op, I come back after some renovations, whatever. And I said, I’m going to get a job there. Right. And he goes, welcome and he sits me down. I got a rotary telephone and nothing. Right. And I had to think you’re cold calling.
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