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Mentorship Key to Development for Young CRE Professionals

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Business Services & Best Practices

Written by Robert Thornburgh, SIOR, and Reprinted with Permission from YEP Global.

As the business landscape continues to evolve, the need to mentor young professionals becomes all the more critical. The world is beginning to emerge from the pandemic, and the ways that we work and interact are changing rapidly. The fundamentals of how to achieve success in the real estate industry, however, remain the same. We must ensure that emerging brokers and property professionals have the knowledge to adapt and succeed.

I was fortunate to have several mentors who generously guided my path into commercial real estate, teaching me the importance of hard work and cultivating long-term relationships. And while their skill in both brokering and investing made them wildly successful financially, it was the integrity they modeled in all aspects of their lives that was vital to my growth. Knowing the value I received from their direction, I have always felt the responsibility to give back to those entering the industry.

What I later learned was that my mentors both held prestigious CRE designations like the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR), which provided them with the tools to succeed - continuing education, ethics, keeping pace with new trends, and a global network. I also found that prominent organizations like SIOR also serve as the perfect vehicle for providing mentorship opportunities for young professionals.

To be a leader is to embody integrity, passion, and vision, all while inspiring the best in those around you. A good leader will emerge based on character and performance, but that first needs to be fostered – making it essential to harness the next generation’s enthusiasm for continual development. Associations have a key role to play here.

I have enjoyed a varied career and now hold the position of SIOR’s Chief Executive Officer. This leading global real estate association has more than 3,460 members in 42 countries as well as a dedicated platform for Europe. Our mission is to represent the most knowledgeable, experienced, and successful brokerage specialists globally.

At SIOR, we continue to promote our highly successful Member Associate program, created specifically to provide mentorship to young professionals in the early stages of their careers. Member Associates need only a minimum of one year (and no more than eight years) of current industrial and/or office real estate brokerage experience, with a GFI that demonstrates a level of accomplishment. The program has paid dividends, helping to attract a younger demographic while increasing diversity within our ranks.

Taking further steps to address the lack of diversity in the industry, SIOR has begun partnering with programs like REEX, which exposes diverse teens to the multiple facets of the CRE landscape over the course of 10 days. The program features academic faculty and other leaders from the nation’s top graduate real estate programs (MIT, Cornell, and the University of Miami) as well as SIOR members, who guide students through experiential learning activities using hands-on instruction, case studies, and virtual site visits to show them the world of possibilities that exist in CRE. We expect this program to only continue to grow.

SIOR is uniquely qualified to assist the next group of CRE professionals because mentorship has and will remain deeply ingrained into our culture. That guidance needs to extend far beyond summer programs to include scholarships, helping students to find jobs when they graduate, and ongoing support to help them succeed. While we recognize that these are long-term goals, we remain resolute in our efforts to influence positive, lasting change.

We hope to inspire the next generation and encourage our peers to step up so we can support every discipline across the real estate sector. Only by bringing a younger, more diverse group of professionals into the fold, who bring new ideas and will challenge assumptions, can we pave the way for a brighter future for the entire industry. We look forward to guiding the next generation of CRE leaders as we adapt and evolve together.

Originally published on YEP Global.

Robert Thornburgh, SIOR, CCIM, CPM, FRICS

Robert Thornburgh, SIOR, CCIM, CPM, FRICS


Industrial Specialist
Chief Executive Officer, SIOR
Washington, DC
View the complete SIOR profile| rthornburgh@sior.com