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Maryellen and Bob Goodlatte
Maryellen on Bob: Honest, efficient and driven. Bob on Maryellen: Organized, healthy and energetic. Maryellen and Bob Goodlatte
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JoAnne and Len Boone
JoAnne and Len Boone. Len on JoAnne: Focus, ambition, and great taste. JoAnne on Len: Intelligence, hard work and honesty.
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Bill Poff and Spring Cho
Bill Poff and Spring Cho. Bill on Spring: Risk taker, family oriented and lifelong learner. Spring on Bill: Analyzer, planner and go-getter.
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John and Sue Ellen Rocovich
John and Sue Ellen Rocovich. John on Sue Ellen: Optimistic, compassionate and committed. Sue Ellen on John: Outgoing, positive and fair.
Ever wonder what it takes to make it to the top? Or what habits and qualities it takes to excel? We asked some of Roanoke’s most prominent couples to spill their spouses’ secrets… of success.
Everyone knows – or knows of – a super-couple.
A married pair with both partners wildly successful in their chosen fields. A well-matched duo who both have intense ambition.
We tracked down four of Roanoke’s most successful couples and asked each partner to name seven secrets of his or her spouse’s success.
Len & JoAnne Boone
A multi-talented team that rocked the valley real estate world in 1976, the Boones merged his strong organizational skills with her hard-hitting marketing talent to launch the area’s three-decade market leader and nationally ranked real estate company, Boone & Company Realtors, recently sold to state powerhouse Long & Foster. The couple went on to found two major residential construction companies – Boone Homes, Roanoke – now building South Roanoke’s controversial Wilton community – and Boone Homes, Richmond, each its area’s largest upscale builder. A civic leader and Virginia Tech graduate, Len has served as president of the Roanoke Valley Economic Development Partnership and Virginia Western Community College Foundation. JoAnne studied at Richmond’s Medical College of Virginia. Married for 31 years, they have two sons, Ben and Alexander – now associated with the family business interests – a grandson and two shih tzus, Yorgi and Jackson.
Len on JoAnne:
1. Research and attention to detail.
“When she’s selecting paint for a decorating project she will end up knowing more about it than the store manager. She’ll talk to the company’s technical assistance department and ask what the best application of paint is under certain conditions.”
“Her personal and professional drive is beyond belief. She converts that into a need to know everything about projects.
“She’s also an extreme perfectionist. In the early years of our company, she would go into the office at 2 a.m. when she was working on a project and couldn’t sleep. Then she’d go home around 7 a.m., shower and go back.”
“In anything she undertakes, no one educates themselves like she does. Marketing is her field of expertise. She taught herself to excel. She understands advertising and what it can do, and is involved in landscaping, drawing plans, architecture, interior design, real estate sales and training.”
4. Long hours.
“When she started in the business she worked between 80 and 100 hours a week. She did that for years. Today, she works between 50 and 60 hours a week, and she’s learned to manage by telephone. She can be in Florida three to four months a year and still run her part of the business working an hour or two a day and using the fax and e-mail.”
5. Phenomenal natural taste.
“She’s converted that into phenomenal decorating. She has a great sense of color and proportion. When selecting furniture, she’ll research everything about it and then her taste will kick in. She knows quality construction and design and balanced proportion. She can also show colors in artwork and how they blend with fabrics in the room.”
6. Maintains excellent physical condition.
“JoAnne works out every day for an hour and a half. She treated health the same way as other things and educated herself on what a healthy diet is all about.
“She also gets plenty of rest. JoAnne is in bed around 7:30 and reads until around nine or later. After being in the office so much in the early days of the company, she doesn’t go in the office now until 10 or 10:30.”
7. A strong sense of family.
“That’s the core to everything. It allows her to concentrate on being successful in business.”
JoAnne on Len:
“Len is extremely intelligent. Generally speaking, that’s true of most successful people and it’s critical in most instances. He’s also highly creative and talented. He’s a visionary and perfectionist. An avid reader, very organized, and he makes scrupulous notes.”
2. Hard work.
“For 20 years, he worked between 80 to 90 hours a week. He would to be in the office by seven; now it’s 7:30 or 8. He leaves at 6. He used to go back at 11 p.m. or midnight when necessary.”
3. In-depth knowledge of his business.
“He has a great knowledge of topography. He can take a piece of land and preserve it while getting the most out of it. He has a natural instinct for it, as well as years of experience. He has more ability at this than anyone in Southwest Virginia.”
4. A people person.
“Len understands people. Has a calm nature and solves problems. He relates to people, can manage them, and has the ability to delegate duties. He’s also a very nice man.”
5. Integrity and honesty.
“He never takes advantage of a situation or person. That’s what’s given him longevity in business. He will even leave money on the table to make a buyer or agent happy.”
6. A team player.
“He can work with company boards, while I’m more of a loner. I cut to the chase and am more intense; he’s very patient. He likes people.”
“He’ll read, watch movies, and take the phone off the hook. He’ll go to Florida and relax. He enjoys his home and garden. You’ve got to renew your battery, and for him, it’s gardening.”
Maryellen and Bob Goodlatte.
U.S. Senator Bob Goodlatte has been representing the Roanoke region – the sixth congressional district – for six terms of office. He is chairman of the Agriculture Committee, and serves on numerous other committees and subcommittees.
Maryellen Goodlatte is a highly successful lawyer and community leader in Roanoke. She is a member of the Glenn, Feldmann, Darby & Goodlatte law firm, and is the director of RGC Resources, Inc. She is also the director of numerous area charities and foundations.
The Goodlattes have been married for 30 years, and have two children.
Maryellen on Bob:
1. Hard work.
“Bob believes there’s no substitute for hard work. He has to interact with a lot of people. That requires a lot of reading, both research and letters. To do the job well, he reads them all. He’ll stick his reading material into cardboard boxes and keep at it until the boxes are empty.
“It sounds crazy but he’s often scheduled for three things at once. To get everything done, he’ll work very late – midnight or later.
“When he’s home for the weekend, he wears a different hat and goes out into the district to attend lots of events. I like to be his driver, it’s a chance for us to be together.”
2. Putting in the hours.
“It’s non-stop. When he was first elected, our kids were young, eight and five, and we had to decide whether or not we wanted to move to Washington. We decided to stay here. It was the right decision because it allows Bob to focus on his work there. He often has meetings that go on all day and into the night.
“Staying here worked for everyone because if we’d moved to Washington, we would never have seen him. Now, when he comes home, I go around with him.”
3. Using time wisely.
“Bob has to make the best use of his time. He schedules himself in 10-minute increments. When we’re together, he’ll read as I drive.”
4. Balancing family and work.
“For us to be successful, we have to be happy and have happy kids and family.”
“Bob has the ability to be honest, even in disagreements. He never leads people on. He listens and if he disagrees, people need to know that. He’ll analyze, but he won’t mislead them. He lets them know he respects their position.”
6. Keeping in shape.
“One of Bob’s favorite things to do is hiking pieces of the Blue Ridge Parkway. He also meets with people on the move; he walks from one building to another building in Washington, which adds up to lots of walking.”
7. Less sleep.
“He doesn’t require much sleep. He’s a night owl. He sleeps about five hours daily.”
Bob on Maryellen:
“Maryellen can do many things at the same time. She’s a full-time lawyer, full-time mother, and almost went full time on my first campaign.”
2. No procrastination.
“She does tasks immediately and never puts things off. Her desk at work is never piled high with things that need to be done.”
“My wife has tremendous energy. She gets an early start, gets to the office between 7 and 7:30 and keeps going.”
4. Good health.
“She’s very healthy and uses a lot of common sense in her health habits.”
5. Community leader.
“She’s been president of Downtown Roanoke, and was the first woman president of the Roanoke Bar. Maryellen also spent many years on the board of the Transportation Museum and is currently serving with the Carilion Foundation.”
6. Consensus builder.
“She will listen to the people she’s working with and when some disagree, she wants to know what it’s about and why. Then she goes to work solving their disagreements and takes care of the problem.”
7. Intelligent and personable.
“Maryellen is very smart and very, very well-liked. She’s a Phi Beta Kappa at Bates College. She’s also outgoing, and enjoys meeting people. And people feel comfortable around her.”
John and Sue Ellen Rocovich
A physician married to a lawyer. Sue Ellen Rocovich was an ER doctor until her recent retirement. She also served on the state board of medicine, and on the board of visitors of both Virginia Tech and Virginia Military Institute (VMI).
John Rocovich is a highly successful Roanoke lawyer who was formerly a Rector of Virginia Tech; he presently serves on that school’s board of visitors, and has been active there in numerous other capacities since his graduation.
The couple, who began dating when Sue Ellen was 15 and John was 16, were sweethearts throughout high school in Blacksburg. They’ve been married for 34 years and have two children.
Sue Ellen on John.
1. Very Energetic.
“I used to think there was something wrong with me. Then I realized I was normal and he has the energy of three people. “He’s up at five a.m.; goes to bed at 10 or 11. He has the ability to stay up late, get up and go through the day without a lag.”
2. Healthy lifestyle.
“He works out daily before work and also on the weekends. He’s careful about what he eats and is a non-smoker and a non-drinker.”
3. Naturally outgoing.
“John’s never met a stranger. He has an outgoing personality and enjoys talking to people and getting different viewpoints. Even in a crowd, he never ignores anyone.”
4. Positive attitude.
“John never dwells on negative things, he always stays focused on the positive.”
“John went through his undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech in two-and-a-half years by going year-round with overloads. He then went through law school in two years and got his master’s in tax law from New York University in one year.”
“John wants to make sure things are fair and accurate. In high school he was on the homecoming committee, but when the group decided to have a trophy for the most valuable homecoming game player, he insisted that it had to go to the best player on either team or be named specifically as a home team trophy, much to the dismay of some of the committee members.”
“My husband has a great passion for what he does. He gets up every morning very happy. I’ll wake up and hear him whistling.”
8. (bonus) Faith.
“John has a deep faith. He’s a lifelong Baptist and is active in the Southern Baptist Convention.”
John on Sue Ellen
“Even when I was a 16-year-old boy, Sue Ellen’s intelligence made quite an impression on me. She finished her undergraduate degree in biology in three years. Later on she got her Ph.D. in genetics at Virginia Tech, and her medical degree from West Virginia school of Osteopathic Medicine.”
“She has a great ability to separate out what’s important and then concentrate on it. When you have two children and you’re in med school, you have to be able to prioritize and focus.”
“She never sees a half-empty glass. She gets up cheerful and optimistic and ready for the day.”
“I don’t know how you can be a successful physician over a long period of time without being naturally kind and compassionate as Sue Ellen is. You must treat people with compassion to help them with their problems.”
5. Community commitment.
“Sue Ellen is active on lots of boards and with volunteer work, including the Virginia Tech board and VMI board.”
6. Life-long learner.
“She’s an avid reader. She just has an intellectual curiosity that drove her through her academic work.”
7. Great teammate.
“She retired from ER practice to help me with the development of the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine at Virginia Tech.”
Bill Poff and Spring Cho.
He’s one of the most respected lawyers in Roanoke. She’s one of the top real estate agents in the area.
After achieving the number-two top-selling spot with Boone & Co. – the area’s top real estate agency at the time – Spring Cho took a huge risk and started her own successful agency.
Poff is so well thought of by his peers that the Virginia Association of Defense Lawyers honored him with its Excellence in Civil Litigation Award, noting that he is a highly distinguished leader and considered a role model in the legal community.
Cho and Poff have been married for four years. It is the second marriage for both.
Bill on Spring
1. Lots of hard work.
“She’s very steadfast in the pursuit of her goals. She works from six or seven in the morning to 10, 11 or 12 at night, not routinely but quite often. She works seven days a week. She’s unrelenting.”
“She retains an emotional balance in good times and bad. When the market is slow, she doesn’t worry about it and when business conditions are good, she’s not ebullient. She just gets on with it.”
3. Takes chances.
“Spring will take on real estate opportunities others decline. She was the first in the area to have a moving truck with her picture for clients – she also loans it to churches and charities. Ten years ago, she was number two in sales at Boone when she decided to go out on her own. Actually, she took a chance going into real estate in the first place when she didn’t speak much English.”
4. Strong sense of family.
“She has four daughters and two grandchildren. Not a day goes by that she isn’t in contact with at least one of them. It’s a very cohesive family. That contributes to her good state of mind and it’s part of the balance process. They are a support for her.”
5. Willingness to learn.
“Recently she’s been taking commercial real estate courses, not just to keep up with real estate but to expand into new fields. That’s very unusual for people of her age and background. She studies very hard.”
6. Daily exercise routine.
“We work out five to seven days a week for an hour and a half to two hours a day. Even though it’s quite a chore at times, it’s a good habit that she’s gotten both of us into.”
7. Excellent mother and wife.
“She has her business, four children and me. My interests have never suffered. She’s very understanding of my work.”
Spring on Bill
1. Careful planning.
“He plans every angle of his cases; he’s like a scientist looking at a case through a microscope. He also plans each day with a to-do list. He writes everything down so nothing slips past him.”
2. Careful analysis.
“Like an architect, Bill establishes a strong foundation for his cases and structures great support for the outcome he desires.”
3. Good writing.
“He has to find ways to tell a story well. Every case is much like telling a story in the courtroom. Bill always finds ways to write a winning ending.”
4. No procrastination.
“He does tasks immediately. That gives him time to go over his work again, to rethink it if necessary, and finalize it.
5. Extremely organized.
“Bill will open the mail, divide it into bills and reading material, then write checks that day and send them out. In his entire life, he has never paid a late fee.”
6. Ability to separate.
“He relinquished control of building our new house. He sent checks to the builder but never went into the house during construction. He waited until our things were moved in. His biggest concern was how well his four cats would adjust to the move.”
7. Gives 110 percent.
“He has a passion for his job and loves what he does. He gives time, effort and care to his cases. He’s a great negotiator and concentrates on how to save his clients time and money. Wants a win-win situation for everyone involved. He has an incredible legal mind. He’s the person other lawyers and judges come to when they need an attorney”