Chris Hayward

Chris Hayward calls himself a ‘late bloomer,’ but it’s hard to blossom when you’ve been uprooted year after year. Growing up, Hayward attended nine different schools before graduating from high school. 

“I grew up everywhere,” said the 38-year-old real estate executive, “and it’s funny because it has ultimately helped me learn not to be complacent and to adapt.” 

After graduating from Arcadia High School, the Utah-born Hayward went on to play basketball at Menlo College before returning to the Valley and graduating from Arizona State University.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do after finishing college,” he admits. “I stubbornly refused to go to work for my dad, but eventually, and wisely, I did.” 

He signed on in the construction/real estate division of Leslie’s Pools, where he worked for 14 years, helping chart the expansion of retail stores around the country.

“I enjoy real estate development and especially the art of negotiations, always striving to make the very best deal,” he said. 

He was successful in those negotiations, as the company opened more than 350 locations during his long tenure there.

Today, Hayward serves as president of Del Mar Ventures, a multi-faceted investment company with more than 300,000 sq. ft. of real estate holdings in their diverse portfolio of commercial, industrial, retail and residential properties.

Chris and his wife, Gem, have been married for nine years, and they have two children: a six-year-old daughter, Rome, and a two-year-old son, Bond. 

They moved to Arcadia early on and have no intentions of leaving. “We love Arcadia because of all the vegetation and the family atmosphere. It allows us to be outdoors as a family and active with our kids.” 

When Chris isn’t working or spending time with his family, he pursues his passion for golf. 

“I didn’t pick up golf until I was 25, but I immediately fell in love with the game. I find that it teaches you life lessons about not getting too high or too low about how you are doing at any given time,” he said. He is doing just fine out on the course, as he carries an impressive handicap.

Another passion for Chris is community service. He is an active PCH-50 board member for Phoenix Children’s Hospital and volunteers with the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Valley. 

“Volunteering teaches us to put others above self,” he said. Hayward credits his father for much of what he has learned, both in life and business circles.

“My dad taught me always to remain humble and treat everyone with respect, no matter who they are. Our family is pretty low-key, but we try and make a difference where we can,” he said. 

Asked about a favorite book, Chris doesn’t hesitate, saying Leaders Eat Last

“It’s a great book for business and life because it talks about the importance of putting your colleagues and family above yourself and leading with deep trust and loyalty,” he said. 

Something Chris Hayward continually puts into practice.