We are proud to recognize CEO Tom Tognoli’s recent speaking engagement at his alma mater, Chico State University. While Tom is now widely known in the real estate community for his dynamic discourses, this was his first commencement address ever, delivered to the 2017 graduating class of the College of Business and the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management on May 21st, three decades after officially receiving his Bachelor’s Degree from Chico State.

The invitation to speak to his alma mater is a capstone in Tom’s ambitious and successful career. In his address to the graduates, Tom detailed his own life struggles as he built his real estate business from the ground up, indicating that he faced similar challenges with his education. Having encountered a number of obstacles due to undiagnosed learning disabilities, Tom revealed he did not graduate from Chico State until much later in life, and only after Intero had become one of the most recognized real estate brands in the country.

Inspiring the 2017 graduates with his signature positive attitude, Tom urged them to never give up and to rise to any challenges they face now and in the future. Tom went on to illustrate that, despite the setback of not finishing his degree early on, his perseverance paid off with time, effort, and passion. Recounting his experience of building a real estate business during one of the most difficult financial periods in our country’s history, he said, “While other companies were going out of business and the world was imploding financially during the recession, people were looking for leadership, confidence, integrity, and a great culture. We offered that at Intero.”

Tom shared with the graduates that in order to truly overcome big obstacles and succeed, it’s essential to keep moving forward, not succumb to doubt, and most importantly, to not go it alone. Keep those people around you who will cheer you on as well as jump in to support you through rough times. Tom went on to emphasize, “Because, it’s when the pain is almost unbearable that success finally arrives. Push through the pain and remember that success is just on the other side of wanting to quit. It is impossible to do this without the support of others.” With those beliefs, he was able to ensure not only that Intero came out intact during the Great Recession, but also that it thrived. Tom said, “It was all worth it, and I’m so glad to have made the decision to keep going and face all of those challenges. Now, we are one of the top 10 real estate companies in the country.”

To watch Tom’s address follow this link: