Moving Forward Together in 2021

Spring 2021 Issue
By: Molly Carson
Molly Ryan Carson is NAIOP's chair for 2021.

One year ago, we were celebrating the longest economic expansion on record. Almost overnight, everything changed. Although we’re still navigating this new normal, I believe the horizon is clearing and brighter days are ahead. 

Commercial real estate will always be an industry based on relationships, and I’m confident that there’s no better place to sustain us in the tough times and propel us forward in the good times than NAIOP. This will undoubtedly be a transitional year for our industry and our association as we establish our “new normal” and navigate all the ways the pandemic has changed our industry.

Every chair begins his or her term by establishing goals for the year. My focus will be on supporting our members in a post-pandemic industry. This includes the significant benefit of mentorship within NAIOP. Meaningful connections — especially in the challenging times — are what will determine whether we remain stagnant or grow. Personally, I know I would not be where I am today without the help of a couple of key mentors as well as the many connections I’ve made through my NAIOP membership.

In previous economic downturns, we lost significant numbers of talented individuals who opted to leave our traditionally risk-filled industry. The ones who stayed did so thanks in part to a mentor who coached them through it. Our Developing Leaders will look to those of us who have weathered other crises, and I know I can count on our members to share their time and insights.

Secondly, diversity, equity and inclusion have always been priorities at NAIOP, and I’m dedicated to continuing these efforts and making meaningful progress. I believe we can have the greatest impact if we start early, working with high school and university-level programs to create a strong pool of diverse talent by gender, age, ethnicity and sexual orientation.

Equally important, we must prioritize an inclusive workplace culture in our companies and at NAIOP. We critically need more diverse leadership in our businesses and industry to better reflect our tenants and communities. It’s going to take us all working together, but I believe our efforts, carried out in respectful and intentional ways, will move us in the right direction.

The road ahead will be filled with both curves and opportunities. The new presidential administration and Congress provide us the chance to work with policymakers to ensure our voices are heard and that NAIOP continues to serve as a beacon for responsible development.

This pandemic has forced us to find new ways to communicate and connect. NAIOP is delivering valuable resources — through courses, webinars, research and more — to keep us on top of industry trends and transformations, and I encourage you to take advantage of all it has to offer. An important way that NAIOP is supporting its chapters is by reimbursing them 100% of the revenue generated by their members’ on-demand course registrations. With a vast selection of courses that span career levels and industry focuses, now is the time to explore what you can learn through our NAIOP Center for Education.

While we can’t predict with 100% certainty what’s to come next, we can commit to moving forward together, staying connected, and striving for the greater good for our organization and industry.

I am grateful for this opportunity, and I look forward to working alongside you this year.


Molly Ryan Carson, Senior Vice President of Real Estate Development; Market Leader, Ryan Companies US, Inc.

2021 NAIOP Chair


See Molly Ryan Carson talk about NAIOP and her vision as chair.

Meet Molly Carson, 2021 NAIOP Chair from NAIOP Corporate on Vimeo.