Meet a Governor: Molly Ryan Carson

Molly Carson

Molly Ryan Carson, Senior Vice President, Market Leader Southwest Region, Ryan Companies US, Inc.

How does the Research Foundation’s work benefit the industry?

The work of the Foundation is integral in driving our industry to continually look ahead at what’s next. The development and construction industries have traditionally been slow to adapt and, more than ever, there is a need for education and insights that drive us to innovate. Real estate has always been – and will remain – an industry propelled by personal relationships, yet there are efficiencies that can help us more ably develop and operate. It’s that type of research at the forefront of our agenda that will make a real difference.

You serve in NAIOP leadership as a member of the Executive Committee. What do you see as the nexus between NAIOP and the Research Foundation?

It’s a very symbiotic relationship. NAIOP and its members are fortunate benefactors of the studies and research of the Foundation, as well as the wisdom of the Governors who guide the Foundation’s work. Equally, the Foundation has the great opportunity to harness the diverse outlooks of nearly 20,000 CRE professionals, which helps us understand topics of interest and identify issues to study. 

What keeps you up at night?

Aside from uncertainty in our government and global events, it’s not knowing what’s coming next for CRE. The speed of innovation is exhilarating! Are we, as an industry, preparing ourselves? If we aren’t failing, we aren’t learning. Amazon is a tremendous example: they spend millions of dollars researching, testing and failing, just so they can learn and improve. CRE has to do its research, be disciplined to not just chase the shiniest object, and think through concepts to determine if they are short-term fads or trends worth exploring.

What are you most optimistic about?

Exactly the same things that keep me up at night! We have a tremendous opportunity for CRE to make positive improvements to communities and businesses. One area of positivity for me is how the industry is making tremendous strides in engaging diverse, smart women in a sector that has traditionally been led by men. As the mother of three children, two of them girls, it’s exciting to see women in positions from the development site to the boardroom. Our industry is bold in breaking down silos and supporting the next generation of industry leaders.

The Foundation is doing this through the Visionaries program, which engages members age 40 and under with the Governors through meetings and mentorship. It is the smartest and easiest decision Foundation leadership ever made. I’ve seen other organizations not be as inclusive with younger members, and they are missing key voices and whole generations that can help them understand multigenerational perspectives and expectations. I’d encourage our Visionaries to contribute to conversations, ask thorough questions, and take your experiences back to your peers in your local chapters and on the National Forums. The opportunity to begin a lifelong organizational membership at a young age is unique and immensely valuable.

What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?

My dad, always said, “Always do the right thing.” It truly applies to every aspect of our lives.

Molly Ryan Carson is Senior Vice President, Market Leader Southwest Region with Ryan Companies US, Inc., based in Phoenix. She is responsible for the leadership of office, industrial, retail and healthcare real estate development teams and general business development efforts. She handles site selection and acquisition, municipal use permits and approvals, design and construction coordination, financial packaging and lease or sale negotiation, while working to mentor and cultivate a strong group of developers.