Saturday, March 23, 2013

NAREIM Executive Officers Meeting / Heidi Latsky Dance / Customer Service Excellence

NAREIM Executive Officers' Meeting

What happens when 70 seasoned commercial real estate executives gather in one place?  Well, if it’s the NAREIM (National Association of Real Estate Investment Managers) Executive Officers' Meeting in Santa Monica, CA it becomes a think-tank with ideas being exchanged in a collegial environment.  From March 17-19, 2013, the conversations were not about routine matters.

Since taking over as NAREIM President in 2012, Gunnar Branson, with support from the organization’s Board of Directors, has kicked the content up several notches.  The panels and facilitated discussions challenged attendees to open their minds and consider different solutions to the same old problems.

A particularly animated session tackled the human capital factor:  
  • Why do some team members perform better than others?  
  • What are employees committed to?  
  • How do you retain top performers? 
  • Just how important is compensation? 
  • Are you addressing succession planning?  
  • How does having a diverse team benefit your investors?  
Lively discussion on these and other related subjects appeared to have struck a nerve with many executives. I anticipate these topics are being discussed back in the office!

NAREIM has created an internship opportunity page on their website.  If you are seeking interns this may be an efficient recruitment tool.

Heidi Latsky Dance

Somewhere Over The Rainbow, written for the movie The Wizard of Oz by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, may be my favorite song of all time.  When I learned of a dance program performed to that song I just had to go.  What an incredible experience.  Heidi Latsky choreographed the dance to various versions of the same song recorded by a diverse group of artists including Metropolis (a barbershop quartet), Jewel, Phoenix Boys Choir, Straight No Chaser, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (whose performance at the end of the movie Finding Forester has always gotten me teary) and of course Judy Garland who sang it in ‘The Wizard of Oz.’  It was only after the show ended that my friend and I realized the dance company was comprised of mixed-ability dancers, some with physical challenges including muscular dystrophy or prosthetic limbs.

Perhaps it’s safe to say that we all live with some sort of adversity in our lives.  And those things are frequently difficult to accept.  What can help make a difference, as seen in these dancers, is one’s approach to life.  It appears to me that in building a dance troupe around mixed-ability performers, Heidi has invested in the faith of the human spirit. 

Customer Service Excellence

Molyvos Restaurant (871 Seventh Ave @ 55th St.) in Manhattan was the scene of a terrific customer service experience.  It’s a Greek establishment with a wine list of more than 400 labels, all from Greece.  Wine from that region is not something either my dining companion or I knew much about.  Being that dinner was a celebration of sorts, I wanted it to be special.  After emailing the sommelier, and explaining our lack of knowledge, he replied with a beautifully written and comforting message ending with an offer to help us choose a wine.  What he did in reality was far beyond his simple offer.  

I arrived first and he came to the table, introduced himself, and said he was looking forward to meeting me.  After a brief introductory chat he brought out three different wines and six glasses.  Once my friend arrived, the sommelier proceeded to delight and entertain us with a private wine tasting - including the story behind each wine.  While we did enjoy all three, we both agreed that one stood out. 

Our dinner was outstanding.  We ordered interesting menu items for the first time, enjoyed our choice of wine, and ended up closing the place down!  It’s these types of experiences that are long remembered and shared with friends.  We were made to feel very special. Molyvos will be seeing us again.

On The Road…

April 1 – 2:  Client meetings, Chicago, IL

Apr. 9 -10:  PERE (Private Equity Real Estate Magazine) Global Investor Forum, Los Angeles, CA 

May 29 – 30:  IMN (Information Management Network) U.S. Real Estate Opportunity Fund and Private Fund Investing Forum, New York, NY 

June 4 – 5:  PERE Summit (Private Equity Real Estate Magazine), London, UK 


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