My retreating hairline, No Shave November and my Partners

Posted on November 4, 2014

I admit it. I was considering No Shave November ("NSN") because I hate shaving. Furthermore, whenever I have maintained a beard I meant my response when asked about it, "it is the only thing I can grow above my neck anymore." The good news though is that by the end of the month I will look 10 years older....which is completely irrelevant at this point in my life.
I love all of the viral campaigns, ice buckets for ALS, charity 5K's, and others. The meaning is even greater when I interact with someone who has been impacted by the issue. Honestly, I did not know the purpose behind NSN so I looked it up,, and it turns out it is a cause that has impacted all of us. The idea started in 2008 as a way for anyone - regardless of age, gender or income level - could raise money to fight cancer and have fun doing it. Nearly everyone spends some amount of capital on grooming and the idea is that individuals would give the cost (ranging from a few dollars for razors to a $100 salon visit) to a cancer charity instead. Friends and family could pool their money together to help cancer patients and their families. No Shave November started as a Facebook fan-page with under fifty participants in its first year. In 2013, NSN partnered with American Cancer Society to raise money and celebrate the hair that many cancer patients lose.
At CNL Commercial Real Estate, we lost one of our founding partners, Chip Lilley, to colon cancer just a few years ago. Chip was also my mentor and taught me more about real estate than any other influence in my career. I count it as one of my greatest blessings that we were able to re-connect and be a part of building CNL Commercial Real Estate and still think about him and miss him everyday. I am also not the only one of our partners who feels this affection for Chip and so I challenge all of the partners to No Shave November in honor of Chip. The idea is that you won't shave this month and donate to this worthy cause (Susan, you can just donate:) I also do it on a family level to honor my father in law, George Polk, who passed away as well from Cancer. Chip and George remain two of my greatest influences, they taught me about life, perseverance and the importance of laughter and I can honestly say both would experience great joy in laughing at me towards the end of this month when my "Santa like beard" is in full effect.
There is the challenge, a corporate response to a cause but with professional and personal motivation. If we are honest, any company response that isn't motivated by our heart and what is truly important is difficult to maintain and probably not worth the effort (somehow he linked it to our mission statement!) At the end of the day, it really is about honoring others and frankly I don't always do a great job at that. At least for a month, I will have a reason to think about it some more.
Written by Paul Ellis
Group President of CNL Commercial Real Estate 

CNL Commercial Real Estate is comprised of passionate individuals that love what they do. While our blog will primarily be directed towards our internal team, we hope that it gives those that we care about most, our customers, associates, partners and friends a look inside our culture and will give everyone a better understanding why we do what we do.