Elliman’s Scott Durkin, the driving force behind the firm’s celebrated next-generation platforms, including public relations, technology and marketing, recently took the reins as the firm’s new Chief Executive Officer.
He is also an avid equestrian with a passion for the dressage style of riding. Active in the Unites States Dressage Federation and the United States Equestrian Federation, Scott is a board member of the Have a Heart Animal Welfare Fund. He and his husband live between Manhattan, upstate New York and Wellington, Florida.
Ahead of The Hampton Classic, which Douglas Elliman is proudly sponsoring for the 25th consecutive year, Mr. Durkin sat down with Elliman Insider to discuss leadership, riding and how one discipline can inform the other.
Elliman Insider: How did you choose a riding discipline?
It really happened by accident. One birthday, I bought a Friesian (like Martha Stewart’s), and I really had no idea what I was doing. When my trainer found out that I majored in Modern Dance in college and was a figure skater, she knew right away that dressage was going to interest me—and boy did it!
Elliman Insider: What most appeals to you about the sport of dressage?
I love the preciseness and geometry of the discipline. It’s very much like compulsory figure skating and dance vis à vis choreography. I also am attracted to the way in which the rider performs the movements with practically no movement that can be seen with the naked eye.
Elliman Insider: What is a lesson you’ve learned while riding that has helped you personally?
My lesson is that you cannot rush this. It’s about the relationship with myself and the horse. It’s not push-button at all. I guess one would compare this to the game of golf.
Elliman Insider: What has learning to communicate with horses taught you about communicating with people and in business?
I’ve always said that if the movement of one’s ring finger can move a 1,200-pound horse, I can use those subtleties and nuances to be a much more effective leader and mentor when dealing with people.
Elliman Insider: Describe your dream equestrian property.
It would be 200 acres with trails and a wonderful, modern farmhouse that surrounds a beautiful, top-of-the-line stable with an indoor riding ring. Let’s also add a Pilates studio and gym, and locate it near Wellington, Florida.
Elliman Insider: Elliman has enjoyed a 25-year partnership with The Hampton Classic. Tell us more about what makes this partnership so special.
For so long, the Hampton Class has been one of the most important events in the Hamptons, if not the most important. It’s vital that The Classic remain in the fabric of the Hamptons lifestyle, and we’re thrilled to support it. As a national brokerage, Douglas Elliman supports the equestrian arts throughout the country, and The Hampton Classic gives us the opportunity to connect with our clientele and visitors from all over the world who are drawn to the Hamptons this time of year. Our involvement has so much history and legacy in it, and our agents and clients are proud that we are major sponsors and that we are committed to this wonderful event year after year.