10 Questions With…John Graham
Sunbelt Holdings Inc. Chairman and CEO
You went to Brophy Prep. Are you a native Arizonan?
I was born in Minnesota but arrived in Arizona in August of 1958 at the age of 1. I think that makes me a native.
You’ve had a hugely successful career as Sunbelt Holdings chairman and CEO. How did you get involved in real estate?
My dad worked for Coldwell Banker from 1958 to 1976. I really enjoyed being around the people he worked with, and it set the hook for my interest in the business. CB was my first job out of college.
Your affiliations and community involvement are legendary. Why do you choose to be involved with so many organizations and projects?
I consider it an honor to serve my community. I was introduced to the culture of community service and giving back as a Brophy student. Sadly, there is no shortage of critical needs to focus on.
Did you grow up in a particularly philanthropic family?
My family certainly engrained a culture of kindness and generosity in my life.
Tell us what you’re up to these days.
We are very busy and have been so through the entire pandemic. Our primary space is in the single-family and multi-family market in the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas. My community service work has been especially intense as we all triaged through the pandemic. And most importantly, I have been able to spend lots of quality time with my family. I became a grandfather a little over a year ago to sweet little Ellie May.
What do you do on a typical day?
Every day is different, and that’s how I like it. I am typically up at 6 a.m. and then try to balance every day with family, friends, work and community service.
Where are your favorite places to go?
My favorite place to get away with my family for downtime is Coronado.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Work hard and play hard, but always focus on a balance of life issues.
Is there anything you’d like readers to know about you?
I am a lucky guy who loves where he lives and what he has done professionally and in the community and especially appreciates his family and friends.
What is your motto?
My dad regularly said, “It is better to be nice than to be right.” It was his way of saying treat people as you would want them to treat you.