Joined by 15 other real estate professionals, he helped start REO4Kids.com, which earmarks $100 from every REO sale for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. In 2010, the group donated more than $185,000.
The Internet has changed everything, Sloan says. "There’s tremendous pressure from large companies who are looking to turn [real estate practitioners] into a commodity, as they did to the travel agent," he says. "If you’re not on the top of your game, potential clients will know more about your neighborhoods than you." Sloan, for one, is up every morning before sunrise, reading and listening to audio books. He takes advantage of the Internet’s cost-saving potential, using a VoIP phone system, Google Apps, and social networking. His advice: Being an effective leader depends on consistently growing intellectually.