Friday, January 11, 2013

Ice Skating at Rockefeller Center / NAIOP Breakfast / Company Branding and the Elevator Pitch / MCF Academy (Liberia) News / Shannon Corey in Nepal

Ice Skating at Rockefeller Center
Early last Sunday morning a friend and I went to Rockefeller Center.  It was the first time either of us had skated under the tree.  As we rediscovered our 'skating legs' we noticed the people standing at the top of the rink looking down and taking photos of, well, skaters like us.  We each had the same thought… ‘All these years that was me watching from the top, looking down and thinking, “Gee, wouldn't that be fun!”’ Neither of us had every actually done it – until now.

Doing new things is one of my 2013 resolutions and I’m off to a good start.  While I hadn't been on ice skates in a very long time, on this day I skated for almost two hours and didn't fall once. Yeah!  Rockefeller Center during the holidays is really a special place and we were fortunate to be skating when we did as the beautiful Christmas tree was coming down the very next day.  So, all you native New Yorkers and other honored guests and tourists, if you've ever imagined yourself skating under the tree - then just do it!  I think you will have a great time and a memory for life.

NAIOP New York Chapter Breakfast 
On January 10 I attended the monthly breakfast meeting of the New York Chapter of the organization which is called NAIOP but is really "The Commercial Real Estate Development and Ownership Organization." Thanks for the invite from Rick Lechtman of Ackman-Ziff, and member of the NAIOP Board of Directors. Guest speaker, NAIOP President and CEO, Tom Bisacquino, and I had not seen each other for a good number of years - actually since the late 90's when my technology consulting firm created the first distance learning module for them.  We had a great chat.  He is the same enthusiastic and passionate guy that I've always known him to be.  NAIOP is now 15,000 members in 51 chapters.  I really like their simple mission statement:  ‘Educate, Advocate and Network.’  

Amongst the approximately 80 breakfast attendees, it was great to see the number of younger (well, everyone is younger than me!) commercial real estate industry professionals.  I encourage all to have a look at NAIOP, as they say on their website, "to invest in your career."  I have a feeling I'll be spending more time with this stellar organization.

Company Branding and the Elevator Pitch

Over the years, I have done an exercise with real estate firms to help them create a simple elevator pitch to be used by all employees when asked the basic question, "So, what does your company do?"  This week, the exercise once again had fabulous results.  With this particular client, part of the success was the truly collegial environment amongst the team.  Even though the 'big boss' was participating in the session, no one (NO ONE) seemed to feel intimidated or reluctant to give his or her opinion or suggestion.  

That's what makes an organization stand out and that attitude starts at the very top.  Conversely, I have been in meetings where team members seem so worried that they are going to say the wrong thing or that the boss won't like what they say.  This is so disappointing to watch - knowing that management is not getting the most out of their people and, at the same time, the employee loses (or has already lost) their enthusiasm. 
Take a moment to think about which of these scenarios most closely resembles your firm and decide if something could be done differently on your team to increase openness and communication.

MCF Academy (Liberia) News
I received a note from an OTR reader who said, “I have enjoyed reading your updates on the MCF Academy.  You have inspired me to sponsor a child."  This message warmed my heart.  It was incredible to me that this very column helped to make a difference in a child’s life.

Shannon Corey in Nepal
Shannon Corey is my musician friend who just arrived in Nepal on a mission to work with orphans.  In her first email to everyone who donated money to pay for her plane ticket, I noticed the names of four members of the OTR community who quietly made donations to Shannon's project.  I must tell you that my eyes welled up when I saw those familiar names.  On behalf of Shannon, please accept my own sincere "Thank you." 

Susan Hudson-Wilson Memorial Music Section
Lyrics of the Week
From Procol Harum's "Learn to Fly"
Learn to fly 
Where eagles only dare to try
We're on the wing
We dare to win
We see the future
And we're gonna make it
Learn to live
You know you got so much to give
It's in the air
It's everywhere
We got a vision and we're gonna claim it

Christopher Turner - joined Colliers International as Senior Director in the Financial Services Team.

Simon Mallinson - joined RCA (Real Capital Analytics) as Executive Managing Director - EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Asia)

On the road….
Jan. 15:  DTZ's First Annual Forecast Briefing, New York, NY

Jan. 23 - 25:  IMN Winter Forum on Opportunity and Private Real Estate Investing, Laguna Beach, CA

Jan. 30 – 31:  NAREIM (National Association of Real Estate Investment Managers) Asset Management and Acquisitions Winter Meeting, Dallas, TX

Feb. 20 - 21:  IPD  (Investment Property Database) U.S. Investment Forum, New York, NY

Feb. 27 - Mar.1:  NCREIF (National Association of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries) Winter Conference, Phoenix, AZ

Mar. 12 - 15:  MIPIM, Cannes, France
Apr. 28 - May 1:  CRE (Counselors of Real Estate) Mid-Year Meetings and a studio jam session with the CRE Band, Sound Counsel, New York, NY

June 4 - 5:  PERE Summit-Europe, London, UK

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