In October, in the city of Toronto, IREM members and industry professionals gathered for the 2023 IREM Global Summit to celebrate the impact real estate managers have in managing the places where people live, work, and shop. Networking events, education sessions, and property tours explored how professional real estate managers strive for excellence in their properties and contribute to prosperous communities. IREM governance meetings helped move the organization forward so that the Institute’s impact continues to grow as the industry changes, markets develop, and new generations enter the profession.
Making an impact
This year’s Summit theme, “Making an impact,” underscores the essence of our community. Real estate managers have evolved from administrators of buildings to influencers of communities and stewards of practices that lead to profitable, sustainable properties. The 2023 IREM Global Summit provided a platform for real estate managers to exchange innovative ideas and best practices, addressing some of the most pressing challenges in the industry. Topics such as distressed properties, women in leadership, technology implementation, diversity and inclusion, and ESG were central to the discussions.
“This year’s IREM theme has been impact,” said 2023 IREM President Renee Savage, CPM®, CCIM. “I believe it’s so important that we can make a positive impact on the world. And this year, our members have made a huge impact on the industry, on current and future IREM members, in their communities and their companies.”
An energetic opening
President Savage kicked off the Summit with an Opening Session that highlighted the role of real estate managers as change agents. She stressed that real estate managers aren’t just responsible for maintaining bricks and mortar; they’re entrusted with creating vibrant communities, improving efficiency, and ensuring a positive return on investment for owners.
Summit attendees celebrated IREM’s 90th anniversary in the Opening Session and throughout the conference. This milestone is a testament to IREM’s enduring impact on the industry. An inspirational video marked the anniversary and allowed attendees to reflect on the ways in which IREM has shaped the profession by fostering innovation, setting standards, and cultivating a community of highly skilled professionals.
The Opening Session went on to recognize this year’s IREM award winners, including the 2023 class of Diversity & Inclusion Succession Initiative (DISI) Leaders, Student Leaders, 30 Under 30, Next Gen CPM Leaders, and the Chapter Innovation Award winner.
Keynote Peter Katz
Peter Katz is a Juno Award and Canadian Screen Award-nominated singer-songwriter. He’s been called “a thunderbolt for the soul,” and he’s a master at creating experiences that inspire connection. Over his 15-year career touring and speaking globally, he’s cultivated a unique perspective on being truly connected to your work and clients.
His keynote was about passion, perseverance, and slowing down to recognize the impact you’re making on your community and the people in your life. Peter took time before the Summit to talk to IREM members so that he could better understand real estate management and the passion members have for the organization, which showed in his ability to connect with the audience through his message and songs.
Toronto is a vibrant metropolis with a rich history and a diverse culture, and attendees took full advantage of all the city has to offer by exploring on their own and through several Summit tours. On the outings, attendees visited donut shops and tasted international cuisine at locations in downtown Toronto, Kensington Market, and Chinatown.
Property tours gave Summit attendees a peek into some of Toronto’s premier buildings, including a leader in smart and sustainable design, EY Tower; historic Commerce Court; green-certified Southcore Financial Center; and amenity-rich mixed-use property Novus in the city’s Liberty Village neighborhood.
The tours were popular, so book them early for next year’s Summit.
Celebrations and networking
The IREM Global Summit throws some outstanding parties each year, and this year was no exception. After networking and learning about new solutions with our IREM Industry Partners and Summit Sponsors at the exhibitor reception, attendees got the celebration started with the Opening Premier Party at the Hockey Hall of Fame. The Hockey Hall of Fame is an incredible space with much to explore. Revelers mixed and mingled over hors d’oeuvres, posed for pictures with the Stanley Cup, and browsed the many exhibits honoring the best of the best from the National Hockey League.
More receptions, dinners, and nights on the town culminated in The Gala, the grand event when it comes to IREM Global Summit celebrations. At The Gala, we celebrated the impactful year of 2023 President Renee Savage, CPM®, CCIM, and honored 2023 President-Elect Libby Ekre, CPM®, who was installed as IREM’s 2024 President. President Ekre offered a glimpse into her vision for IREM: “Leadership is not just a position—it’s a mindset. We know that everything we do as property managers is about people. We thrive in community, and we need each other.”
The Gala recognized the outstanding achievements of our prestigious 2023 REME Award winners. This year, the REME Awards were expanded to include diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) categories for individuals and corporations. REME Awards were presented to eight winners in seven categories, with a special shoutout to Jasmyn Sylvester, CPM®, ACoM®, VP of property management for Pine Tree, who walked away with two REMEs.
Three members were honored with IREM Foundation Awards for notable contributions and commitment to real estate management. Also recognized was the winner of the People’s Choice for Sustainable Property Award, part of the new Jackson Control Sustainability Awards through the IREM Foundation. This award program recognizes top performers and outstanding teamwork among IREM Certified Sustainable Properties (CSPs).
Education on trends and best practices
The Summit featured a full schedule of education sessions to help attendees stay up-to-speed on the latest in real estate management and review best practices. Some popular pre-conference sessions got the learning started. Seasoned IREM instructors delivered IREM Budgeting and Accounting and Managing Distressed Properties Skill Badges, while other experts led forums on DEI, executive management, and mentorship.
Summit education sessions included:
- Becoming an idea factory
Professional idea generator Kyle Scheele led a hilarious and rewarding session on harnessing your capacity for innovation and getting great ideas from your teams. And not just great ideas—crazy ideas. “If you want conventional results,” said Scheele, “conventional ideas will get you there. If you want crazy results, you have to embrace crazy ideas.” Attendees came away refreshed and ready to find creative management solutions for their companies, properties, and customers.
- Elevator modernization
Elevators are some of the most powerful and complex systems in buildings, and they can cause headaches for real estate managers when they break down. Tracy Wagoner, elevator systems expert for Henderson Building Solutions, walked the crowd through elevators and their components. He reviewed modernization options and offered his take on getting the most out of service contracts and upgrade investments.
- Efficiencies through technology
This panel discussion was moderated by Brad Ashley, CPM®, RPA, 2023 IREM Board of Directors, managing director of property and facilities management and principal for Newmark Zimmer, AMO®. Panelists included Maria Aiello, technology executive and 2023 IREM Technology Advisory Council chair, and Karen Key, CPM®, division president for Asset Living, LLC, AMO®. This group of esteemed experts explored emerging Proptech solutions and how to get unprecedented efficiencies in leasing, maintenance, tenant/resident engagement, space management, and other areas of operations.
- Back to balance
In this popular session, Brandi Herdzina, CPM®, led attendees through interactive exercises to help them uncover personal and professional passions and rediscover holistic balance. Herdzina, who worked in commercial real estate before sharing her motivational message as a full-time speaker and consultant, gave real estate managers new tools to avoid burnout and get back to work/life balance.
- Futureproof your learning
Training is more important than ever in the ever-changing profession of real estate management. But how do you keep learners engaged in this hyperactive world? This highly informative session featuring Patty Evans from IREM Industry Partner Yardi tackled that question. Evans said one piece of the puzzle is to employ the latest learning technology to make your training personalized, adaptive, and dynamic.
- Managing insurance claims
Clay Elifrits and Brad Heise from Phoenix Renovation & Restoration discussed how real estate managers can show their value by taking proactive steps to mitigate loss in an insurance claim. They offered some best practices for managing claims, including when to call a restoration contractor to manage the parties and process and produce the best results for your property.
- Condo cues from around the world
Condo experts Suzanne LeValley, CPM®, and Fernanda Lisboa, CPM®, reviewed what’s trending in condominium management from Toronto to Sao Paolo, sharing their insights on this tricky property type, where having multiple owners under one roof complicates real estate management efforts.
- Turning data into action
In this session, Adam Benoit, CPM®, RPA, LEED AP, BOMI-HP, WELL AP, director, property management, Stream Realty Partners, and Adam Holland, CPM®, ARM®, IT director, Sunrise Management and Consulting, AMO®, shared how to sort through raw data from property operations to arrive at actionable indicators that can drive management decisions.
As IREM celebrates its 90th anniversary and looks to the future, the organization continues to help professionals excel in their roles and foster positive change in real estate management. The Summit empowered real estate managers to recognize the impact they’re making in this dynamic profession. Attendees are sure to carry the inspiration and excitement of Toronto into 2024 and beyond.