Discerning readers will recognize that the headline serves double duty as the theme for this year’s Spring Forum, set to take place in Fort Lauderdale from April 30 to May 4. Yes, obviously we want everyone to show up, but this column is about more than that.
There is a double-edged sword to our chosen profession. On one hand, there is virtually no other discipline that suffers from such a lack of internal peers or training programs. Whether it is Sales or Finance or Human Resources, other corporate groups have options in both internal contacts and available training programs to help them maximize their talents. With some notable exceptions, such resources are woefully unavailable to corporate real estate practitioners.
That lack of critical support is especially pronounced in times such as these. We are facing a laundry list of challenges: an ever-changing pandemic, the pressures it applies to consumer markets, global supply chain bottlenecks, rising construction costs and an increasingly inflationary environment, just to name a few. Even taken individually, these are not conditions to navigate alone. This perfect storm of threats renders working in a bubble totally untenable.
But, to resurrect an old saying, “Every challenge brings opportunity,” which brings us back to the headline and theme of the Spring Forum. What corporate real estate practitioners do have at their disposal is each other, a group of like-minded professionals facing the same issues, working to solve the puzzles, sharing insights and solutions or simply commiserating. It is the flip side of the double-edged sword.
When things go sideways — and COVID taught us all how quickly and unexpectedly that can happen — relationships come to the rescue of professionals in search of answers, understanding and solidarity.
As I said, we want as many members as possible to take advantage of the in-person exchanges that define our Forums (and the mere prospect of meeting in person remains a treat in this post-COVID world). Yes, you can expect the typical level of timely and relevant educational sessions, ample networking opportunities with your peers and a roster of keynote speakers who, as always, inspire and motivate. This spring, that would include presentations by futurist Magnus Lindkvist, and author and Paralympic ski medalist Bonnie St. John.
IAMC events provide major takeaways as well, more valuable than the swag you might grab at other conference trade shows. I speak of the Industrial Real Estate targeted sessions and the connections with other members that help put the challenges we face into an important perspective. To paraphrase a popular ad slogan, come to Fort Lauderdale for the speakers, but stay for the professional development and networking.
I promised you that this was more than a column hawking our Spring Forum. In the shortfall of internal resources we all face, connections must remain a major focus of IAMC’s ongoing efforts. That service, in a sense, is one of our key missions. Have you checked out our Cornerstone Discussion Board? Therein, your colleagues (many of whom you are likely to meet in Fort Lauderdale) post topics ranging from supplier recommendations to site selection issues. And the range of responses each of these posts garners only proves my point.
Yes, every challenge provides opportunity. Through your involvement in IAMC you have access to thought leadership presentations, timely and topical training, ongoing access to your peers and probably most important, network building.
Success does not flower in a vacuum. The world of opportunity you have at your disposal starts with access to a range of answers. In times like these, the saying, “It is not what you know, but who you know,” has never been more accurate!
That is what we are here for. All of us.
Chair, IAMC Board of Directors