Hundreds of commercial real estate professionals from coast to coast and a handful of other nations congregated, debated, learned, exchanged ideas and socialized last week at the BOMA 2011 International Conference and The Every Building Show. Throughout my decade with BOMA/Chicago, I have always welcomed the opportunity to attend this annual event because it gives me an opportunity to learn, network and make new connections.
The theme of this year’s conference and show, held just outside the nation’s capitol, really struck a responsive chord with attendees: “Leading the Future. The Future of Commercial Real Estate Starts Here.”
In keynote presentations, during a town hall discussion and from leadership survey reports, these messages were delivered early and often:
- Commercial real estate is on the rebound, especially in the major markets on both coasts.
- The nation still faces serious economic challenges, and strong job growth is critical for re-booting our economy.
- Energy efficiency and sustainability will be keys to positioning prime assets, creating new value and developing professional skills.
- Our industry needs to do a better job recruiting and training the next generation of commercial real estate professionals.
The final bullet point above really hit home. It’s substantiated by the results of the June 3 “BOMA Local Leadership Survey Analysis,” which reported in part that 82 percent of respondents agreed with this statement: “Local associations are doing an excellent job in retaining their members, but are having difficulty attracting new members, particularly young professionals.”
Another question within the BOMA Local Leadership Survey centered on ways to increase membership. Sixty-two percent of those who responded said they focus on recruiting young professionals.
Since BOMA/Chicago’s founding in 1902, we have been at the forefront in many areas, including advocacy, education and communications. We are also a leader in providing opportunities for young professionals to grow and thrive in the office building and facilities management industries.
Our Emerging Leaders group, designed for professionals with less than 10 years of experience in the industry, hosts a half-dozen networking, educational and service-oriented events annually. Twice annually, we host the Foundations of Real Estate Management course to provide an introduction to property management that young professionals can put to use on the job.
Our new Emerging Leaders Ambassadors program endeavors to bring our newest members into our diverse committees and to facilitate their professional growth. We are fortunate to have so many new and experienced members helping in our efforts to nurture the next generation of CRE professionals.
What is your company doing to nurture young professionals? Do you providing training or support for courses leading to the RPA or FMA certifications? Do you have a strategy to inspire the next generation of industry leaders? Share your thoughts with us.