WITNESS AT WORK
Q & A with Scott Gaspard – Realtor, Husband and Father
by Sharon Furrate Bailey
Scott Gaspard, realtor with the successful Gaspard Team, shared insight into how he manages his busy real estate career while still finding time to spend with his wife, Jessica, and be an attentive father to his growing young family. He has a house full of blessings—11 children! “Children are a blessing from the Lord,” Scott says.
Scott shared many special stories about his family and career that may help others understand that balance in life is maintained by setting parameters and knowing who you are in Christ.
The RE/MAX First Gaspard Team is comprised of Linda Gaspard, Scott Gaspard, Carol Cotten and Janice Dubios (Sisters Tak’n Care of Business), Mary DiBenedetto, and Ashley Terrell Ferrer. Scott and his mother have worked together for 18 years, and the team is still going strong. Last year, The Gaspard Team sold 224 homes and has been the number one real estate team in Louisiana the last three years. Their new tagline is, “selling a house every 36 hours”— it is clear they are doing something right.
This family team of realtors is very grateful for its successes but realizes that one must be relationship-focused and not transaction-focused. In other words, they are in the business of people. That mindset is something Scott gleaned from his mother, and the team continues to maintain that mentality today.
Scott shared about his career, family and spiritual life and gladly opened up about what he feels are the keys to the blessings he has experienced. “I do not live for myself,” he commented. “I know God will provide by setting certain parameters and my confidence comes from God.” Apart from God, there is nothing.
Scott shares what he hopes will assist others who are trying to learn how to manage their “to-do” list in a world with so many distractions:
Q: How have you learned to not get caught up in work while running a business and balancing the business with family time?
A: “Jessica, my wife, is a gentle reminder. She lets me know in a respectful manner when I need to be available or fully present. We have worked out a schedule that seems to help our daily life. Parameters are crucial and so there are a few I have set, and I stick to them. For instance, Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays are days that I have set aside for family time or at least part of the day, but Sundays are solely spent with family. On Tuesdays, I get to the office around 12:30 p.m. On Fridays, I take off around 3 p.m. On Sunday, the work clock is completely off. Sunday is family time. When Jessica and I worked on formulating parameters, this was what we came up with together. In my initial client meetings, it is important I let them know up front my schedule, then there are no expectations during the times I am off the clock.”
When he set those parameters, he was ready to accept whatever happened. Yet God blessed his family and business after that conscious decision was made. So, when he is at the office, his sole focus is working for his clients. “When you are on, you have to be fully on,” Scott says. “You cannot be on the fence. However, since I am part of The Gaspard Team, if something is a major concern to a client, another team member will help out.”
Q: Can you recall a time when your parameters were challenged?
A: “As I mentioned, it is important I share in my initial meetings that I do have my client’s best interests at heart but at the same time there a few parameters that are set in my life so I can maintain the various roles in my life as realtor, husband and dad. It actually builds respect if one is honest up front so there are no unrealistic demands or expectations. Honesty helps to maintain one’s integrity. However, there is a neat story that comes to mind regarding the parameter issue and it involves a couple that was with Campus Crusade for Christ and was re-locating to Baton Rouge.”
“I spoke to both the husband and wife together in our meeting regarding their home search and shared my schedule with both of them. They both heard me share that I do not work on Sundays but was happy to help them find a home. Well, the husband happened to call me one Sunday and I did not answer the phone. Later, the wife told me she was happy I did not answer that Sunday because she felt it showed that I was a man of my word. Setting boundaries are so important. It does help me to be client-focused when back at work. It helps me to be a better realtor because the time I have with my family is quality-time and it eliminates anxiety while at work because my family knows when I am available to be fully present with them.”
“When I am with my wife, eight sons and three daughters, I am in the moment. Jessica home-schools our children so it is important I am there to help and be an active dad. In addition, there was a time in 2008 that I felt led to eliminate television in our household. The market tanked in 2008 and aside from the market crash, the negativity on television did not help matters. It wasn’t like a major “Moses and the burning bush” experience, like I heard some loud voice say to turn it off, but Jessica did not seem to mind getting rid of the TVs in our home. Now, we do have one television, but we enjoy picking what we watch. As a family, we like to sit around, enjoy some popcorn together and live stream movies. This decision was also part of learning how to set parameters so my personal time is about family.”
“He who finds a wife, finds favor with the Lord,” Proverbs 18:22. This proverb is so appropriate when you speak about Jessica and your family time, which leads in to the next question:
A: “Believe it or not, I first noticed Jessica in second grade. We went to the same school and Jessica stood out to me with her long, curly, flowing hair. All the other girls had straight hair, so maybe that is why I noticed Jessica. We still laugh today that we are actually married and it has truly helped us understand fully God’s providence.”
“Before venturing into the real estate business, I enlisted into the Army. Jessica actually shaved my head before I went off to serve my country. I remember sitting on the end of my bed one day while in the barracks and prayed to the Lord about my future wife. Little did I know that my wife would end up being Jessica.” Scott says he prayed this exact prayer, “God, if you could provide me with a wife with the character qualities of Jessica, I will give you my life.” Scott and Jessica married in 2000, and one day in a church service under pastor Kevin McKee, the message was on the providence of God.
“While listening to his sermon that day I recalled that specific prayer while in the Army and understood how His provision felt. God’s provision has been experienced both in my marriage and business life and it is something I will always remember. We have the same values, and our faith grew while attending The Chapel on the Campus. It was important to both of us to meet other couples with the same values, and by attending The Chapel we have gained a great network of friends that are supportive and have been mentors to us both.”
Q: As a Christian, what would you tell other business owners in our city, and as a church, what can we do better?
A: “I would share that authenticity is crucial. Be yourself. I have to remind myself who I am in Christ in order to be authentic. Also, our world seems to be made up of extremes, which constructs barriers. There are too many haves and have-nots. We need to allow people to be different. Listen to people and try to hear what they are saying. It’s time to slow down, stop and take time to have genuine conversations with people.”
“I feel that all of us that comprise the Gaspard Team work at being good listeners, and we take time to hear what our clients need. Ninety percent of our business is from referrals, so I like to believe it’s because those we have helped to buy or sell a have had a good experience. My mom taught me a great lesson when I first became part of the Gaspard Team. She said, ‘Scott never watch the dollar or focus on only the transaction.’ So, we are in the business of serving others and that is what I would like other business owners to remember. If you provide customer service, word will spread and the people will come.
A: “If you did not realize it, there are two Scott Gaspards in Baton Rouge. People often confuse me with the attorney, so occasionally I will get a phone call from a person who believes he or she is calling the Scott Gaspard, attorney-at-law. One day I was at the office and received a phone call. The man mentioned he was selling his home because he was going through a divorce. I was not sure who this man was on the other end of the line, but I kept on listening. Later in the conversation, I knew he had confused me with the attorney.”
“However, he was trying to decide whether or not to sell his home, so I remained on the line. I asked him what he needed from me and he said he would decide to sell his home or stay in it depending on what I said to him. So, I finally let him know he called the wrong Scott Gaspard, but that maybe I could help him in another way. I suggested he contact a marriage counselor first and gave him some names. Who knows, he may have listened and somehow maybe I did help him at least really think about whether divorce was really the only option. My hope is that he and his wife are still together, so I like to believe my advice that day may have helped him.”
Q: What last thought would you like to share with other business owners?
A: “Be true to your word, honest with your clients and make your family a priority. God will take care of the rest if you put your trust in Him.”