“If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.” This saying couldn’t be more true of Wadid Daoud, a founding partner of SunCap Real Estate Investments and several other ventures across the globe, including American Supply and U.S. Fibertech, Inc. Having attained a level of success in the business world, he’s equally involved in his church, community and family. While he’s always believed in bridging his faith with work, Wadid said his experience with Lifework Leadership, a program that examines the life of Jesus as the best example of leadership, rocked his view of how to live life.
SunCap is now a major sponsor of Lifework Leadership, making it possible for other business people to benefit from the course, which is committed to transforming leaders by clarifying their calling, challenging their minds and engaging their hearts for service. Wadid sat down with me at his waterfront home on the eve of Thanksgiving to share what Lifework Leadership has meant to him.
Good News (GN) – Why don’t you start by telling me a little about SunCap Real Estate Investments.
Wadid Daoud (WD) SunCap was formed as a result of me going through Lifework Leadership… The original partners in SunCap are Scott Auker, Brian Marks, A.J. Belt and me. Scott was not one of my Lifework coaches, but he did reach out and invite Christina and I for the Boat Parade, and this is how we met. About a month later he shared with me his idea of Suncap…
The vision for SunCap was to offer Christian business guys in the community that we were in, which was basically Lifework and NCF (the National Christian Foundation), an opportunity to invest and make money without having to go through middlemen, which is either a hedge fund on Wall Street or an asset manager or that kind of thing. So they are going to get net returns by investing directly with the people that would hire us and invest with us. The idea with Scott was basically, let’s approach our immediate Christian group of friends and make them more money with the idea that they would be more generous with the extra money they make and put it back into the charities locally, or make that extra income or the profits to grow the Kingdom.
So we reached out to most of the people that we knew and the Lord has really blessed it. Our investors have been really happy and it’s grown by word of mouth. We recently cashed out of our first deal and made a really nice return for investors…
We bought Turtle Creek, which is over on 441 and just North of Sample where the Target Center is. So we own all of that, and we just sold out of the Buffalo Wild Wings outparcel for a nice profit. We also own Penn Dutch, which is literally two miles south of there. And we sold the bank out parcel that’s there. These are our South Florida holdings. The rest of the holdings are farther north. We’ve got a property in Orlando, one in Lake Washington, and the rest of the properties are around Atlanta where we can find value for our investors.
The way we run SunCap is very unique. One of the unique features is you get to opt in or out, so you get to see everything that we get to see… The other way that we structure is we pay quarterly dividends as the investors hold the property…and we are on a tiered profit sharing… That’s an incentive for us to do really well, and our interests are aligned with our investors. So, we only make good money when we perform for the investors by extracting value out of the properties.
GN – Are there certain charities SunCap supports as a company?
WD – As a company the only thing we support is Lifework Leadership because of our involvement with it. Scott is very heavily involved between that and NCF, and we think it’s a great program for leaders.
GN – Why do you think it’s so important to invest in Lifework?
WD – It’s a program that really rocks your view no matter what background you come from. It really challenges everything that you have taken for granted and thought to be the norm or the best practices. At least for me that’s what it did. It challenged every preconceived idea of how you live your life. Integrating my faith into my business was not my main struggle. I mean, I live my faith out every day, but it’s a lot of the comments from the speakers and the case studies that you can sit there and reflect on. It definitely brings out and challenges everything that you thought to be right, in a really good way. I’m a deep thinker and I really like to analyze and simmer over things, and so does Scott. We do have that one thing in common.(Wadid Chuckled.) He’s quiet and lives his life on a spread sheet, and I’m off the cuff, but we make…actually all of us partners, we make a phenomenal complement to each other, and this is why I think God has blessed SunCap and it has been successful so far.
GN – In what ways did Lifework Leadership change your thought process?
WD – It definitely accelerated or enhanced or augmented it. I really don’t think we would be where we are with starting over again with three young girls. It just puts a lot of stuff into perspective that you know, but you don’t act on. We all know that eating a lot of chocolate is not good for you, but very few people act on that. It makes you more in tune.
One of the great things was Blackaby… In his book, Experiencing God, he says, “Find out where God is working and join his work.” You don’t need to go out there and invent stuff… So, we try to be mindful about stuff that happens to you on a daily moment by moment versus just plowing through and work, work, work. I’m a very hard worker, but I’m a very hard player, and I do everything probably to the max. This is why I need to self-check myself very often because I seem to take away a lot of the margin in my life, which I need to always have. I like to do things to perfection because I think God expects the best out of us, so I give everything my all. And that has a cost, obviously, because I’m involved in four different businesses. We’re doing two startups right now, which are just absolutely sucking a lot of time and effort and money out of me.
… But I want to make sure that everyone that works or is associated with me has a very good chance of success. And I want to make sure that everybody who is associated with me is a strong believer, is unshaken and unwavering, and they do the best work that they possibly can. The results are up to God. We preach this across our distribution with all the companies we have. Even with Scott, we talk about that all the time. We pray about every deal… We do our best. We try to mitigate as much risk as we can for our investors, and the rest is up to God, whether we get the deal or not.
GN – Your mentioned Lifework made you think differently about everything and as a result you have the three girls. How did that transpire?
WD – That was just God having a laugh up there. We had the one year anniversary of their adoption recently, so they’ve been with us for a year and four months. One of the books that had a lot of impact through Lifework Leadership was the book by Bob Goff, Love Does. And a lot of the stuff I could identify with because I’m like that. Just go and do it. It doesn’t matter. If it turns out great, good. If it doesn’t turn out good, well so what. You’ve done it. So, I can identify a lot with what Bob has done, says, his comical stories. And so our pastor, we go to church at Victory and our pastor Don and Cathy Karpinen, they are a wonderful couple… They are gung-ho for the whole church about adoption. You know they have adopted baby Jay… So we’ve had a lot at the church about fostering and adoption and all of that, but it really wasn’t on the radar for us. We’ve got three grown children. Our grandchildren are …well the youngest is 12 and the oldest is 16. So, you know, we are kind of on the way of empty nesters. But pastor Don decided to do a series of sermons on the book Love Does, and at the end of it the whole congregation was invited to do works on a Saturday. We ended up in a foster home cleaning it up and painting and all of that. So, over lunchtime Christina ran into the girls. We all sat down and had lunch and the foster mom said, “You know their parental rights have just been terminated,” and they are up for adoption. So Christina jokingly said, “How about it?” and I said, “Well, why not?”
We ended up finding out that there were three sisters, the three girls (now ages 6, 7 and 9). I was off to Panama for a week on business, and I said, “Why don’t we pray about it. You pray about it and I’ll pray about it.” I was sitting there in meetings and all I could think about was these girls… Like an out of body experience, I’m just thinking about the girls and I’m not even participating in the meeting… I kept on fighting with God and saying, “Why not? We have the resources. We have the ability to do that. Just give me a reason why we shouldn’t do this.”
So, I came back and I’m gung-ho and I’m expecting Christina to be the same. So I was like, “So how about it? Are you ready?” And she said, “hang on. I’m not there yet.” He laughed. It took her another week to just sort through it and then she said I think I’m ready. So we called 4KIDS and just the process was flawless… It just went through very quickly… There was never a doubt in my mind that they were not meant for us.
GN – Since you’ve joined Lifework you’ve started a new business and adopted three children, so that’s quite a change.
WD – Our life is always on the move. One of the main things that I think I got out of Lifework Leadership is a total focus and commitment on the way we give and what we get involved with. I’ve been invited to be on multiple boards, which I have declined most of them. I’m only involved with Life the Life. And we really want to be very intentional as using it as a showcase to show how nonprofits don’t have to be on a begging budget… There has got to be a better way to solve that.
Omar (Aleman) and I talked during Ministry Ventures (an educational program on establishing best practices for nonprofits) and proposed a completely different way of going about and doing God’s work.
We also have a group of guys that we meet every Friday morning for Bible study, and we’ve been really trying to crack the nut of how do you marry business with nonprofits to where you can get the nonprofits to be excellent at what they do, but be totally transparent and totally self-sufficient.
What are some of the Christian nonprofits you are working with?
I’ve done a lot of projects in Central America to give back to some of the countries we’ve done business with. I’ve done a lot of sustainable projects with Food for the Poor.
I am more intentional; apart from the local charities we do a lot of work overseas. One of the guys that I really connected with when I went through Lifework Leadership was Brian McNeely with Global Refuge. The work they do is amazing, and we do support them. They go into conflict areas. They take the refugees in the camps and train them to be doctors and nurses and take care of the population in the camps…
And then we do stuff on our own. I’ve got a scholarship program in Guatemala we’ve developed that came out of a project we funded… It was a real treat last year we went down and they hosted a dinner for us with some of the graduates… The most impacting story was this young lawyer who said, “When I was 10-years-old I was shoe shining in my village,” and now he’s a lawyer. And their heart and their struggle is nothing short of phenomenal, so whatever we do to help put them through their careers is really meaningless compared with their struggle…
And we build houses at the garbage dump. They wanted to name the place after us, and I said, “no.” So, they called it City of Hope. Building the homes at the garbage dump has transformed the lives of the people from just having a house, now their looking for a job.
GN – Who should attend Lifework Leadership? And what would you say to someone considering the program?
WD – Lifework Leadership was originally designed for true business owners, leaders and innovators. Now there are some middle managers who are going through the program. But the quality of the speakers and the interactions among the tables and groups within Lifework Leadership is a combination you can’t duplicate. If you go through it, it will rock your world.
To learn more about Lifework Leadership, visit lifeworksouthflorida.com.