“The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.” —Tommy Lasorda
Before becoming a REALTOR®, Colin Gunderson, of Keller Williams Realty, spent 12 years working as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ press coordinator and assistant to baseball legend Tommy Lasorda. After relocating to Washington, D.C., Colin hoped to pick up a job by leveraging his expertise in communications. But rather than sliding into a new industry with ease, Colin was faced with unexpected obstacles.
The Road to Real Estate
“After working at the highest levels of Major League Baseball for as long as I did, I thought I could show up in D.C. and be hired immediately. I was flat-out wrong,” Colin says humbly. “Instead of employers viewing me as a communications professional whose skills could transcend industries, they looked at me as just a baseball guy.”
During this time, Colin wrote a book, Tommy Lasorda: My Way, and hosted a podcast, Love of Baseball. As he searched for steady work, Colin developed a distaste for what he coined, “the online resumé game.” He recalls the time when his struggle came to a head. He was on the way to his seventh interview for a speechwriting position when he reached out to an old friend.
“I was casually texting my buddy, Josh Dukes, asking him to wish me luck on the interview, which he did. I told him that if it didn’t go well, I would have to come to sell real estate with him. I didn’t use an emoji because they weren’t yet created at that time, but if they were, I would have used a few of those smiley, laughing ones with tears coming out of the eyes. Being a realtor was never a thought.”
A month passed, and Colin had yet to hear from the organization he interviewed with. That’s when he decided to call Josh back. To his own surprise, Colin found the opportunity to become a real estate agent enticing. “After talking with Josh about the industry, I was so pleased and relieved to find a profession that matched my values. Service above self.”
That was 2017. Over the past four years, Colin has seen his real estate business take off. In 2020, he closed 27 transactions for $12 million, and in 2021, he’s tracking to close 30 homes for $20 million. He works alongside Josh and their team leaders, Bruce and Sharon Wasz (who, coincidentally, represented Colin during the purchase of his first home).
Making an Impact
Four years passed between when Colin moved to Alexandria in 2013 and when he began his real estate career. Colin has found some success with his podcast and his book (which spent three weeks as number one on Amazon’s sports biography best-seller list), but his struggle to find full-time employment affected his family. However, when he teamed up with Josh, Bruce, and Sharon, he knew he had found his professional home.
“Josh took me through the entire industry. What it really looks like on a daily basis, yet also that the possibilities were endless. I could have called my network with the Dodgers or MLB. Through that network, I could have taken a baseball job. I could have taken a communications job way below my ability. I could have gone into finance,” Colin reflects. “Yet, I wanted to be my own man.”
Colin credits his early success to the tutelage and guidance of his mentors.
“Through their belief in me, they gave me the opportunity to build a business based on service above self, a business with limitless possibilities, a business that changed my family’s future and gave me a new love,” he beams.
Colin had always desired work that allowed him to serve others. That was certainly the case when he worked for Tommy Lasorda and the Dodgers. Every day, he had the opportunity to give people a life-long memory. His efforts helped Tommy live a purposeful and fulfilling life. “And my real estate business is the exact same,” Colin says. “Every day, I have the opportunity to help people reach life-long goals and achieve generational dreams. That is a privilege and an honor.”
“Josh, with Bruce and Sharon, have made it possible for me to give my family a lifestyle the likes of which they never dreamed [Colin and his wife, Silvie, have a 7-year-old son, Vincent, and a 3-year-old daughter, Nina]. I couldn’t be more thankful to Josh, Bruce, and Sharon. I pay them back every single day with my loyalty, love, and respect.”
Lessons on Life
Although he’s now cemented in his real estate career, Colin often reflects on his time with the legend Tommy Lasorda. The lessons he learned during that era continue to fuel the fire of his love for service — and for life. “Not a day passes that I do not use a lesson Tommy taught as a baseball manager in my real estate business,” Colin explains. “In essence, Tommy taught life lessons through baseball.”
As Colin looks toward the future, he keeps those lessons close to the heart. Rather than planning to control his future destiny, he remains ready to face the unknown. “Baseball is a beguiling game,” he says. “During moments of frustration with players, or managers, Vin Scully used to say, ‘If you want to make God smile, tell Him your plans.’”