Friday, December 23, 2016


On the Road
Everyone I have talked to since September has agreed:  2016 has totally flown by!  I used to think that it was just older people that felt time slipping through their fingers but when my sons, years ago as pre-teens mentioned the speed as well, I knew it was something to be reckoned with.

This has been both a really good year and a year with some challenges.  The business Liz Weiner and I started almost four years ago is growing thanks to the support of some of the leading institutional / commercial real estate industry firms. For that encouragement we thank you!

Our 17 Women’s Leadership Workshops across the U.S. have attracted women from 87 different commercial real estate industry firms.  We have also gone in-house on five occasions to conduct these workshops for between 14 and 48 women.  

The two new workshops we are launching in 2017 are open enrollment Behavioral Presentation Coaching (BPC) and Moderator/Panelist Coaching (MAP).  Our handpicked friends have received the ‘pilot’ BPC and MAP exercises very well.

Perhaps those of you who attend industry events, and those of you who are moderators and panelists, will agree that there are some techniques to being an effective moderator and memorable panelist that just aren’t taught.  We aim to change that!

In February we are taking our workshops across the pond to London and Amsterdam. You can find out more here

One of the difficult parts of 2016 centered around the death of my good friends Dolph Schayes, one of the top 50 greatest players in National Basketball Association history and Erwin Stouthamer, founder of Composition Capital.  Just like the 2003 death of my long-time friend and band mate Dave Florendo inspired me to record my first CD, so Erwin’s death got me to hire a professional editor to get serious about finishing and publishing my first book, a business memoir titled, “Driving With Your Knees.”  Standing at Erwin's funeral in Amsterdam got me thinking, “What am I waiting for?”

This joyous holiday season where many of us will get together with family and friends also signals the end of another year.  It’s a great time with all the holiday decorations, parties and people generally feeling happy.  

For some, the start of the new year brings the famous ‘New Year’s Resolutions.’ I don’t know about you but I’ve been somewhat successful in keeping to some of those resolutions over the years - others need on-going attention and work.  I am not giving up on being a better me!  

My three-week road trip that ended last Saturday took me to London, Los Angeles, Chicago and finally New York City.  In my conversations it was a bit surprising that there isn’t as much ‘year-end deal-closing urgency’ as I have both experienced in my career from time to time and expected to hear bout.  2016 has been a very good year for the institutional / commercial real estate community so it’s not like some of those years where people couldn’t wait for it to be over. 
There does continue to be conversation about what the short-term future will bring to our industry and the world at large and as we start seeing how the new U.S. President is handling his cabinet and key advisor appointments it becomes clearer and clearer that things are not at all clear.  As much as we like having some control over our destiny, we simply don’t know much right now. 

A few of my friends, both in and out of real estate have been separated from their jobs within the past 30 days.  Having been laid off the week before Christmas myself, I know how that feels and am trying my best to help those friends connect with their next adventure.

As I sit at my desk in my apartment in Arden, NC writing this to you today I am most grateful for being the healthiest I have been in a number of years.  In 2016 I successfully dealt with a couple of health issues and used the power of visualization to get me through it – that and having some wonderful healthcare providers on my team.  It was a bit scary going through this stuff but in November I was congratulated by both my primary care physician and a specialist both of whom helped me make it through the issues.  I am also grateful for the health and happiness of my immediate family - my sons Brian, his wife Bridget and their sons, Sean and Gavy and Kevin, his wife Marissa and their children Ben and Edie.  I am so proud of them and am thrilled to be a Grandpa - four times over!

What that leads me to is something I’ve pontificated on for many years:  Life is short.  Don’t keep putting things off that you’ve wanted to do.  Do one thing each year that is on your list of important things. None of us knows what the rest of today, let alone tomorrow and all the tomorrows after that will bring. 
Please accept my sincere and best wishes for a healthy and happy holiday season and New Year to you and your families.  Enjoy the time together as we hopefully all get to unplug – for real – at least for a few days and hopefully longer over this special time of the year. 

I look forward to catching up with you somewhere ‘on the road’ in 2017!
The Year in Pictures 2016
Yes, there are some happy photos in the powerful grouping of New York Times – The Year in Pictures 2016  – The Chicago Cubs winning the World Series, U.S. athletes competing and winning at the Olympics and a few others.  
Sadly, most of the photos are of terrible things:  mass murders, people attempting to flee their countries, children suffering, irreplaceable structures being destroyed, terror in the faces of so many, people starving and people seeking asylum and freedom somewhere, anywhere.  There are also numerous photos of the president-elect of the United States at various stages in the campaign.
What’s wrong with this world? Why is there so much violence and hatred around the world?  So much suffering?  What’s wrong?  Can anything be done?
I used to believe that the key to peace on earth was people meeting face2face and communicating with each other, even if they didn’t speak the same language.  It would be a way for us to appreciate that we are all the same, human beings and that all people need to respect others – even if they don’t agree with their politics, religious practices, etc.  That sadly seems now to have been a pipe dream of mine and I’m even beginning to doubt myself. 
Rockefeller Center, New York City

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