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A letter from IREM President Libby Ekre, CPM®

A look inside this issue of JPM

By Libby Ekre, CPM®
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Libby Ekre, CPM®

Before we dive into this exciting issue of JPM, I want to thank each and every one of you for the opportunity to serve as your 2024 IREM President. You reveal the power of purpose every day in your companies and communities and motivate me to be the leader you all deserve. I won’t let you down!

The theme of this issue is leadership. As leaders, we show up. We set the tone. We keep our enterprises competitive by putting our best people in positions to succeed. And we face head-on any tailwinds that keep our organizations from moving forward.

One of these challenges continues to be attracting new employees to real estate management. A 2023 survey from Parks Associates and GE Appliances found that almost half of multifamily owners and real estate managers find it either difficult or very difficult to hire and retain new maintenance staff.  Read how experienced real estate professionals are tackling the talent problem.

How can we do better at identifying the next generation of real estate management leaders? The IREM Foundation is advancing programs to do just that. We know that the lack of access to high-potential careers for those living in low-income communities widens the socio-economic gap. Our Foundation column highlights one of the Foundation’s key goals over the next decade:  To expand programs that increase awareness of real estate management careers and participation in industry education, training, and job fairs, specifically among individuals ages 16–26 in marginalized populations.

Gaining IREM certifications and skill badges early on is essential to real estate management professionals and their future leadership potential. In a Q&A with JPM, I share how securing our IREM CPM® designations 25 years ago when my partners and I started our real estate management company jump-started our firm’s success by validating our capabilities and experience. I also talk about IREM’s leadership role in the real estate industry and how we’ll continue to pursue our strategic objectives.

Once an individual starts their career in real estate management, ongoing learning and development is key to success and growth. Jasmyn Sylvester, CPM®, ACoM®, shares the professional development insights she learned in conversations with five real estate managers. These managers talk about current learning and development trends, including where we are with virtual and in-person training and the skills real estate managers need to drive their teams’ success.

Unfortunately, there’s no training to prepare you for some days as a real estate manager. A local disaster requires managers to act quickly to minimize loss of life, protect the property, and prepare for recovery. In this issue’s Property Spotlight, Mark Strathmann, CPM®, a Maui resident for the last 12 years, tells a personal story about how the management team at the Wharf Cinema Center, a shopping center in Lahaina, Maui, contended with the devastating fire that swept parts of the island. Strathmann’s story is gripping. I encourage you to give it a read.

During this year’s IREM Global Summit in Toronto, some IREM members and staff toured the EY Tower, located in the heart of Toronto’s Financial District. The Global Practices article notes how the structure’s architectural design applies advanced technology to optimize sustainability. The building shows how real estate managers can collaborate with architects and engineers to ensure a cohesive vision.

In 2024, IREM will continue working with members to enhance their leadership skills and professional development paths, while seeking innovative ways to highlight how real estate management is a dynamic career choice. IREM is stepping up to continue advancing the real estate management profession, and I look forward to engaging with you in the year ahead.

Journal of Property Management

Libby Ekre, CPM®, is the 2024 IREM President and a principal of MEB Management Services, AMO®, in Phoenix.

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