So, Mayer, what’s your story? I was born in Los Angeles, California after my parents migrated to the United States from Israel. Experiencing first hand the struggle my family went through living in a foreign country, I developed a deeply rooted motivation and determination to work hard, be opportunistic, and be a part of making the world a better place.
After college, I got my real estate license and began to oversee operations at the Los Angeles Property Company. This job influenced my career path greatly because I was able to learn the ins and outs of the industry and recognized what the residents of California wanted, as well as what their homes were lacking.
In 2010, I was promoted to the position of CEO of Prime Five Homes — a full-service, real estate development company that specializes in the construction of modern, eco-friendly, sustainable homes. After also founding Dahan Properties in 2012, I use my companies not only as a way to build beautiful, innovative homes, but also as a way to raise public awareness about energy efficiency, the use of solar power, and the importance of quality materials.
Now think about your role as a CEO, what things do you not like to do in this role? If you can’t deal with stress, never become a CEO! It can also be a very lonely job at times because you have to be the boss and make the hard decisions by yourself. In the start-up phase, there was an increased pressure to perform and succeed even though I was learning as I went. But after five years, I am much more confident, have learnt how to manage my schedule effectively, and still have the same hunger to succeed as I did on day one.
When have you been most satisfied in your life? In 2013, I lost a close friend suddenly and it made me look at life in a new way. I realized how important it is to offer a helping hand to those in need. But as with everything I do, I didn’t just want to help on a small scale. In my friend’s name I wanted to make a real impact, and for this reason, I founded The Dream Builders Project (The DBP). Replicating Prime Five Homes’ philosophy of making LA a better place, The DBP’s mission is to grow and develop the community through aiding, funding, and raising awareness for many of humanity’s key social issues, including homelessness, child abuse and neglect, education, and human trafficking.
Since founding The DBP, charity has become a huge part of my life and I strive to make a bigger difference each and every day. Since 2013, The DBP has hosted over 12 Charity Flash Mobs, two Charity Galas, remodelled one orphanage, and supplied more than 600 school children with new school supplies, and is currently planning its biggest campaign yet – an anti-human trafficking campaign that will launch in January 2016.
Have you got a role model? Who is it, and why? I don’t have a role model in particular, instead I have values and beliefs that I aim to uphold. I value integrity and determination, and believe that we all have a duty to protect our environment and evolve our people. I aim to “be” a role model and encourage others to do the same.
What was the biggest work challenge for you? The biggest challenge in my career is constantly improving my business and its impact. Our most recent project will not only be the most energy-efficient, luxurious home in its neighborhood, but will break records for the most cost-effective building per square. I aim to always be one step ahead of everyone else, and this is evident in others attempts to copy our designs.
What would you recommend to a potential new home owner – one who intends to build not buy? When you are building a home you want quality materials, sturdy infrastructure, efficient functionality, and reliable and sustainable design. Aesthetics are important when building a home but it is the functionality and efficiency of a building, the “feeling” you get when you step inside of the door, that takes a building and makes it a home. Be specific in your selection of materials, and be sure that your architect and/or builder are skilled in designing for energy efficiency and earthquake resistance.
Mayer, thank you very much for a great interview.