I learned about PREA (Pension Real Estate Association) in a trade magazine in 1995 and immediately signed up to attend their next event. At that time I was head of new business development for a shopping center owner who wanted to develop an institutional third-party management business. I thought the Boston conference would be a perfect opportunity to network.
This conference proved to be a vital professional-growth experience for me. I gained insight into the pension fund real estate world and discovered the path to follow to reach the right people.
My own networking skills were put to the test at that first meeting, as I didn’t know a soul! Now, when I see someone standing by him or herself at an industry event I remember those early days and will often introduce myself and have a brief chat. In some cases, I’ll introduce them to other people I know. In hindsight, more than once, this type of random encounter has developed into an industry friendship (and in some cases, actual new business!).
If you’re an industry veteran, think back to your first event and remember what it was like to be there. When attending events now, consider greeting someone who is standing alone, looking around, and trying to figure things out. Like me, that might have been you in the past… Your actions may be helping to develop the next round of future leaders… you never know.
This week, I’ll be attending my umpteenth PREA event and it’ll be like going home. In the 10 years that I worked for Institutional Real Estate, Inc., and the five since I left that firm, I’ve had the privilege to meet and get to know so many of the industry professionals who attend PREA events - I’m sure this PREA Spring Conference will be another ‘must attend’ gathering AND will be really fun. It will definitely be a large crowd thanks to PREA President Gail Haynes and her team.
If we haven’t yet met - and you’ll be in Boston this week - feel free to reach out and text me at 917.603.5578 so we can make time to say hello.
George Ahl joined Forum Partners as Managing Director, Capital Markets
Julie Brenton now Head of Investor Relations at Dune Real Estate Partners
On The Road...
Mar. 19 - 20: PREA (Pension Real Estate Association) Spring Conference, Boston, MA
Apr. 2 - 3: Client Meetings, Branding Workshops, Chicago, IL
Apr. 29 - 30: PERE (Private Equity Real Estate) Global Investor Summit, Los Angeles, CA
May 2 - 6: Visit with family, Asheville, NC
May 15: Annual meeting of The Hoyt Fellows, North Palm Beach, FL
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