Written by Patricia Loveall, SIOR, and Reprinted with Permission from Commercial Observer.
Throughout my career, there have been many significant influences that helped build my client roster and facilitate success. But, amidst the many teachable moments and personal goals achieved, the most impactful lessons came from my mentor and co-founder of Kidder Mathews, Jerry Mathews. The insight and guidance he imparted on me continues to help influence my decisions.
As a proud member and vice president of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR), I am an unwavering advocate for supporting future brokers (especially women), which is why I have made mentorship a top priority — one that I recommend both industry leaders and budding commercial brokers seek out in their careers.
Of course, I’ve heard a litany of excuses for not mentoring: lack of time, protection of trade secrets and clients, or fear of being replaced by a young upstart. But, in reality, those concerns will only get in the way of some significant advantages that mentorship can offer for everyone involved.
I think this is particularly important for women, both those who are just beginning their commercial real estate careers, as well as veterans who are passionate about creating a more inclusive environment. Ultimately, though, mentoring benefits everyone and makes the industry as a whole even stronger.
Good for the mentor
For established professionals, mentorships create a professional relationship that can help take on new projects that may otherwise be too time-consuming. I have helped oversee many transactions that were spearheaded by a mentee. My clients were completely at ease because I was still involved every step of the way. The young broker gained invaluable experience while I imparted my knowledge, all while growing my business.
As the mentee begins to grow professionally, the mentor has a potential partner at the ready, one who is often eager to collaborate on a transaction. This opens the door to new clients, an even larger network, and a potentially limitless new string of business opportunities.
Time is also a manageable commodity when mentoring new brokers. One of the easiest and most effective methods is by helping mentees connect and network at industry events, like SIOR’s CREate 360 and TransACT 360 conferences.
Sometimes, a simple introduction is all it takes to help jumpstart a career, and it can pay incredible dividends to have a veteran serve as an event ambassador, showing younger brokers how to get the most out of these professional gatherings. This is especially true for women who are SIOR members or associate members, giving them a chance to connect with the most successful and well-established female brokers in the business.
Good for the mentee
For young professionals, mentors should be thought of as an express ticket to professional growth. Learning the intricacies, techniques,and best practices on your own is certainly possible, but having a guide to navigate the jungle will most certainly help sidestep pitfalls and make the journey decidedly faster, to say nothing of the opportunities to connect with prospective clients.
Occasionally, assumption and hubris can be a natural symptom of youth, but letting it get in the way of success is self-destructive and horribly inefficient. Learning the lessons of the industry from someone who has experienced them firsthand, and is willing to share those moments, is a priceless gift that can help avoid regret later on.
Good for the industry
This open sharing of knowledge doesn’t just create individual success; it builds a stronger foundation for the future of CRE. The more highly skilled and astute professionals we have to work with, the greater the possibility becomes for our collective growth. And mentorship is an ideal way to make that happen.
I am particularly invested in supporting more young women to discover the incredible rewards of this profession. This is one of the reasons that SIOR has established a Women’s Leadership & Mentoring Member Group where women — whether they’re new members, SIOR member associates, or simply college students — can openly share ideas, pose questions, and discuss viewpoints with other women who have achieved significant accomplishments in CRE. It’s considered a true, judgement-free environment designed to be empowering and professional.
It should go without saying that a more diverse and inclusive industry is advantageous for everyone in CRE. But the only way to knock down barriers and establish new connections is by extending a guiding hand that shows what’s possible when we all work together.
This article originally appeared on CommercialObserver.com