Launching a Commercial Real Estate Career
By: Sarah A. Milans, marketing manager, NAIOP.
Melissa Goins didn’t have prior experience or a background in commercial real estate but that minor detail didn’t hold her back from an ideal opportunity to discover the industry. Goins, whose current title is founder and president of Maures Development Group LLC, is a member of the inaugural 2004 class of Associates in Commercial Real Estate (ACRE) program at Marquette University and a NAIOP Wisconsin Developing Leader member. ACRE seeks to create diversity in the commercial real estate industry through an intense 16-week program (it was 25 weeks when Goins participated) of networking, training, mentoring and career placement.
"ACRE really opened my eyes to how expansive the commercial real estate industry is," reflects Goins. "It was a safe environment for me to develop my skills and without it, I never would have gotten involved in CRE or be where I am today. The lessons I learned from my experience are invaluable; connections are paramount and personal development goes hand-in-hand with professional growth."
Since she participated in ACRE, Goins’ firm has developed 84 units in an award-winning, mixed-use apartment building in a central city Milwaukee neighborhood, with an aggregate development total of $20 million in four years. Goins has a special interest in revitalization of historically neglected neighborhoods and her firm’s impact on the Milwaukee community has been substantial in such a short time period. She has received multiple awards reflecting her unparalleled success, most recently the Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network, Top "20 Under 40" Women in Commercial Real Estate
Goins still regularly networks with her peers from the 2004 ACRE class as well as the industry professionals who led the classes. She believes connections and networking are vital in commercial real estate, so she’s committed to stay in touch with her ACRE contacts several times a year. She also works to blend her ACRE experience into her NAIOP membership because both are ideal platforms to interact and grow professionally and personally.
"I believe it’s critical for ACRE graduates to be involved in organizations like NAIOP. You’ve got to push yourself out of your comfort zone and embrace others with different cultural backgrounds," says Goins. "If you don’t have an ACRE or diversity program in your local area, be open to mentoring or hiring individuals who don’t fit the traditional CRE mold."
For more information
Marquette University’s ACRE program