Making the Most of Your NAIOP Membership
By: Steve Martin, managing principal, SDM Partners
I’M NEARLY HALFWAY THROUGH my term as your chairman. I’ve had the privilege to meet many of you during chapter visits and to share my thoughts about NAIOP and the commercial real estate industry. Since visiting every chapter and meeting each member obviously isn’t possible, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share my NAIOP-centric message with Development magazine readers.
Serving as the 2015 NAIOP chairman has enabled me to experience what our chapters are doing and who our members are across the continent. My takeaway from each conversation is that both our members and I are constantly encouraged by CRE’s continued improvement. Our more than 16,000 members are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about our business, and it’s electrifying to be a part of that.
Even so, I see this positive mindset tempered by what I call the “zations” of our world: financialization, politicalization and globalization. Each of these areas offers opportunities and risks, to those who can figure them out. That is where the going gets tough.
The intersection of the “zations” produces the environment we navigate to do business. Where can you find that intersection? At NAIOP!
Every day, I see how the relationships and information gained through my involvement with NAIOP help me to navigate these different areas. NAIOP’s metaphorical three-legged stool of networking, education and legislation, both locally and across North America, has never been more important to CRE professionals.
Networking is a continuous process rather than a single act. It is an action verb, something we all have to work at. NAIOP provides a great way to connect within your existing network of colleagues, but it also offers opportunities to get to know new groups and individuals, through involvement with leadership, corporate and chapter events and the National Forums. Translating this into my southern metaphorical context, going to a local chapter meeting and just talking with your friends is “hunting over a baited field.” It is not networking.
True networking requires you to stretch, to take yourself out of your comfort zone to meet new people, systematically and with purpose. Follow up with a phone call and email or, better yet, a handwritten note. Invite them to meet for coffee or a meal and get to know one another. Real estate is still a relationship-driven business, and good relationships are built over time, with effort.
The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know. True wisdom (which is not the same thing as being smart) comes in knowing your limitations. NAIOP provides numerous avenues to learn, earn continuing education credits and stay current on industry trends. Our conferences and courses provide real-time exposure and access to some of CRE’s best minds. Beyond events, NAIOP shares deep knowledge through its NAIOP Research Foundation reports. These forward-looking studies offer insightful and practical information, and I encourage you to take a look at them.
NAIOP has provided me an up-close experience with and appreciation for the importance of engagement in the legislative process, both locally and nationally. Politicians seldom fully understand CRE issues, the financial impact of laws or the business impediments their “rules” impose. It is our job to explain these to them. NAIOP staff is here to help. Speak up!
In closing, I’d like you to ask yourself if you are maximizing your NAIOP membership. If you aren’t, take a look at what NAIOP and your chapter have to offer, and get involved. Join a committee. Attend an event. Connect with others through a mentorship program.
NAIOP and its members have a responsibility to one another to ensure that we both deliver and extract value to and from this association. You get out of it what you put into it!
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