Navigating This Unprecedented Year

Winter 2020/2021 Issue
By: Larry Lance

Within a matter of days, we were providing critical information to our members and have continued to do so over the past nine months.

What an unusual and unprecedented year it has been for all of us. When I took on the role of chair last year, nobody could have predicted that a global pandemic would be declared only a few months later, putting a stop to our record period of economic growth and resulting in much change for our lives and businesses.

Despite the challenges, NAIOP has continued to serve the membership and deliver the tools and knowledge we all needed now, more than ever. I am so proud of the way this organization responded to the pandemic’s impact on our industry.

Within a matter of days, we were providing critical information to our members and have continued to do so over the past nine months. From Development magazine to research to webinars and conferences, our content has been highly focused and struck just the right tone to convey the seriousness of the pandemic’s impact and an optimism for ensuing opportunities.

Opening our library of on-demand courses at no cost to members was a strategic decision that has been met with much appreciation. When the offer ended on August 1, NAIOP had more than 10,000 course enrollments, and many individuals were able to earn a certificate of advanced study. 

Legislatively, our team worked at the federal level for provisions in the CARES Act and subsequent relief packages, and our events and sponsorships have remained strong even as we’ve pivoted to virtual delivery. Some of the most valuable experiences for me were the weekly calls with our chapter executives and staff. We would talk through challenges, brainstorm solutions and share what we were experiencing locally. The support offered in those conversations helped us all feel more connected to each other and to the organization.

During the last six months, I’ve observed leaders within our industry and association step up and help us deal with the uncertainty. Times like these can push us to our limits — and trust me, I’ve had my moments of panic throughout it all. I give my sincerest thanks to those who have set an example for their teams, given back to our Developing Leaders through mentorship, and shown us all how to keep our focus on the big picture and navigate these unexpected obstacles. It’s your fortitude and steady guidance that remind us to depend on our core values, trust ourselves and keep
pushing forward, even when the waters ahead seem murky.

I recently read “Leadership through Uncertainty: 10 Enduring Lessons for Turbulent Times,” published by Russell Reynolds Associates. This passage stuck with me: “Great leaders must honestly accept the gravity of challenging situations. They communicate this openly and honestly and are humble enough to admit they don’t have all the answers.” To me, this embodies the leadership of our association this year. We approached every tough conversation with both optimism and realism, acknowledging that our challenges, while brought in an unexpected way, are opportunities for growth. I’m proud of this association for its hard work this year, and grateful to have been a part of it.

As the chairs who have come before me would attest, this job would be impossible without the knowledge and support of the NAIOP staff. They are an impressive group who did not stop working for our members, coming up with new ways of providing member services and delivering value. I’d like to thank each staff member for all they do!

Even though I did not get to travel to chapters as much as I’d planned, I have enjoyed meeting many of you virtually during our online conferences or virtual meetings with your chapters.

I look forward to the leadership of Molly Carson as our 2021 chair, and I know her dedication to this association and our industry will take NAIOP far.

Thank you for the opportunity to lead this organization through this extraordinary year.

Lance signature



Larry Lance, Executive Vice President, Everwest Real Estate Partners
2020 NAIOP Chairman