By Bruce Kellogg, MAI, FRICS
On Feb. 9, 2018, the CREW Atlanta Chapter hosted an educational and networking program (UCREW) for both undergraduate and graduate students to present commercial real estate information and facilitate internships and career opportunities. It was a resounding success by any measure: the number and variety of universities represented, caliber of presentations, venue, number of sponsoring companies, enthusiasm of the students, and record-breaking attendance.
Our UCREW Co-Chairs, Claire Ross and Leigh Anne McGarry, started off by moderating a panel for “Rising CRE Professionals.” The speakers included Kaity Noone of Brookdale; Parker Nelson of CBRE; Meghan Gordon of Miller Martin; and Emily Behrens of Leapley Construction. They spoke about their introduction to the CRE business, followed by Q&A. Many were grateful to have been an intern prior to landing their first job.
Meghan stated how grateful and honored she was to have been a CREW Scholarship winner as a university student, while Parker found her first job shortly after the UCREW program occurred. Mentoring by a CREW Atlanta contact was pivotal, and their relationship is still in place. Other panelists echoed the importance of staying in touch with professionals who could contribute to their careers going forward. Many voiced the need to remain patient and to communicate regularly with other professionals who can support you and provide knowledge as opportunities arise. The Q&A to follow was very informative, covering issues relating to job interviews, learning from mistakes, seeking advice from supervisors, appropriate attire and the need to be one’s genuine self.
The next panel, entitled “The Learning Curve of CRE,” moderated by Paula Fowler of CRESA, consisted of 2017-2019 CREW Atlanta Presidents, with all having deep knowledge to share: Monetha Cobb, Tina Renee McCall and Ann Cone, all of whom provided the students with tremendous insight regarding the post-graduate mindset that is necessary to succeed. Some suggestions: know what you’re looking for in a career and job, be authentic, and realize that failure will enter everyone’s world at some point, but it’s important to learn from this, be responsible for it, and be confident that you will be better for it in the future. Practice, practice, practice is also a way to be prepared for an interview, including an elevator pitch at the ready.
Right before lunch, Faye DiMassimo, spoke on an important subject within the Atlanta Market: “A Story of Connectivity,” addressing the renewal of Atlanta’s transportation and infrastructure system, including TSPLOST and the MARTA project. Moderated by Ellen Smith, this comprehensive session covered several projects, such as North Ave. road improvement, driverless technology, as well as sensors and cameras being installed to help traffic congestion and public safety. The resources committed to these initiatives are huge, but it will make Atlanta attractive to existing and potential companies and residents.
Following lunch, Emory University’s Julie Barefoot spoke about “Interview Etiquette” and how students could benefit from basic activities that will occur as they seek employment following graduation and beyond. A summarizing phrase of “Manners and Behavior” related to respect for others, dining (ordering food/drink from the menu following host’s lead), timeliness, conversation, eye contact, humor, and the types of topics to be discussed with a potential employer during a dinner meeting. Discussions about politics and religion are a “no-no!”
Before the program concluded, students were encouraged to spend time at various tables networking with multiple commercial real estate organizations. Representatives from both the Emory and GSU MBA programs were available to give information about their post-graduate degrees, CoreNet Global was representing their international practices and activities, the Atlanta Commercial Board and ARGUS Software was providing information about their global financial analysis software.
Not only was the event a stellar success, but career and networking opportunities abounded. Claire Ross and Leigh Anne McGarry are due much recognition for their ideas, plans and hard work to make this a very successful day. Kudos also to Carolyn Matulich for her hard work and involvement as the CREW Atlanta’s Interim Executive Director. Thanks to all for paying it forward!
Bruce A. Kellogg has been in the real estate industry for over 40 years, primarily within the valuation profession and also within technology and the solutions developed by ARGUS Software as the Vice President of Industry Relations.
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