Professional associations such as IAMC can play many roles for their members, including bringing them together at conferences, delivering information through their websites, sponsoring publications, conducting research, recognizing professional excellence, influencing industry standards, brokering information sharing and bringing in inspirational speakers. But arguably one of the most valuable is providing industry-specific information and professional development.
I believe IAMC is beginning to make real strides in this last value component. And the impetus has been the need to improve the Corporate member experience and value obtained through membership.
In this regard, we’re paying special attention to the Professional Forums, the organization’s flagship events. We’re adding more corporate real estate (CRE) professional development sessions so we can offer attendees more choices and education on a broader array of CRE topics. And we have adjusted the US Forum schedule to make attendance at Corporates-only programs easier and more accessible. The Forums are still IAMC’s most important value delivery tool, and they need to be as professionally valuable as we can make them.
In 2016, we started to upgrade the high-potential IAMC Local program. This year, we’ve put additional push behind the effort, and this seems to be paying off in terms of member interest and attendance. This year the basic program format was standardized to include one program within one of the 11 CRE Practice Areas, one program on a real estate or business topic, and one real estate-focused discussion program, which we call Local Trends & Topics. Selected Local events also include a Corporates-only session, such as those at Forums that the Corporates find so useful.
The IAMC International events have also benefited from increased attention by committees and staff. This year we put on the second London Professional Forum, which sported a 34-percent ratio of end-users to total attendees. Similar high proportions of end-users were seen at several other International events.
While the organization’s events tend to get lots of attention, and they should, its publications often get less. This year IAMC’s two periodical publications, the Dispatch Newsletter and the IAMC Insider section in Site Selection magazine, each have contained at least one, and usually two, CRE-focused articles. Some were write-ups of Forum or Local sessions and a few were based on original research conducted by IAMC. In addition to the periodicals, we have published two stand-alone white papers this year: “Rx for Change: The Flexible Biopharma Facility of the Future” and “A New Age of Reporting: Preparing to Comply with New FASB/IASB Lease Accounting Standards.”
IAMC has worked hard this year to improve the Corporate member experience and value obtained through membership. I think we can already see areas where this is paying off for the Professional Forum, Local and International events. But we see as much and maybe more opportunity in the areas of digital information delivery and networking. As we ramp up our knowledge management capabilities, event sessions will be captured as videos and podcasts for anytime, anywhere delivery. We’ll also offer webinars so you can learn and participate from right where you are.
I’m excited about IAMC’s future. I’ve enjoyed serving as board of directors chair this year and I’m looking forward to continuing to support IAMC as it grows and improves.
Past Chair, IAMC Board of Directors