Driving NAIOP's Future

Winter 2016/2017 Issue
Ashley Powell

SERVING AS NAIOP CHAIRMAN and visiting almost half of the organization’s chapters has been an amazing experience. I’ve met countless members and enjoyed learning about so many markets. Where do we go from here? Mike McKee, former CEO of Bentall Kennedy in the U.S., once said, “Always look forward. Acknowledge, but don’t get trapped by your history. Be prepared and be resolute.”

In 2017, NAIOP will celebrate its 50th anniversary. That’s 50 years of inspiring, advancing and serving the commercial real estate industry. The year also commences NAIOP’s next strategic plan, to which many of you offered input during surveys and interviews last fall.

As we continue to develop the plan, we’ll keep a keen eye on NAIOP’s mission and how the association is serving its members and the industry, by asking ourselves the questions critical to any plan: “Why do we do what we do? How can we improve? What if we dared to do something differently?” I’ve contemplated a few of those “what if” questions for your consideration:

What if NAIOP could do an even better job of preparing you to be at the forefront of industry trends? In the last few years, NAIOP has taken tremendous strides in creating more forward-looking and innovative conferences. As a result, our meetings have earned a reputation as “can’t-miss” events; our Commercial Real Estate Conference 2016 in Scottsdale, Arizona, this fall welcomed a record-breaking 1,400 attendees. The same can be said of the National Forums which, in my book, offer the greatest benefit of membership. Imagine the synergy and networking that would result from even more members attending the fall meeting or from doubling the number of Forum members. These are the venues that enable you to stay ahead of trends and gather knowledge about what’s next for our industry, giving you a leading edge in your business and market.

incoming NAIOP chairman

Outgoing NAIOP Chairman Ashley Powell passes the gavel to incoming Chairman Jonathan Tratt, whose term begins on Jan. 1, 2017.

What if NAIOP could extend greater opportunities for recognition? As I’ve visited our chapters, I’ve witnessed tremendously innovative programs, particularly the university challenge competitions and awards ceremonies honoring individuals and companies for their accomplishments. How can we broaden the reach of their forward-looking ideas and recognize their accomplishments throughout the association, inspiring and engaging all of our members, from students and Developing Leaders to seasoned veterans?

What if NAIOP’s diversity efforts could change the face of commercial real estate? For the past two years, the association has dedicated staff and resources to championing increased industry diversity, and our hard work is paying off. In the fall, NAIOP and Duke Realty hosted a diversity roundtable that brought together human resources and diversity/inclusion executives from numerous commercial real estate companies to share best practices and discuss challenges. They even discussed ways to encourage high school students to consider careers in the industry. I’m proud of these efforts and am excited to see where they lead.

My thanks to each of our members who participated in the strategic plan surveys. Don’t let your feedback stop there. Work with your chapter’s Corporate Board representative or your chapter leaders to convey your ideas. I look forward to developing that plan, with the input of our chapter leaders and alongside the NAIOP Board of Directors. I’m confident that NAIOP’s future will be strong under the astute leadership of President and CEO Thomas Bisacquino, who has led the organization through half of its 50 years, and 2017 Chairman Jonathan Tratt, principal with Tratt Properties in Phoenix.

Best wishes for a successful 2017, and thank you for the honor of serving as your chairman.

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