The IREM Foundation is growing exponentially, and one of its key strategic goals is to build partnerships that further support the development of real estate management professionals. To that end, two significant partnerships have emerged with organizations from the Peach State: the IREM Georgia Chapter and Cortland Management, LLC, AMO, in Atlanta.
Before the IREM Global Summit, JPM reached out to three key players in these partnerships to learn more about the goals they have for their organizations and why they’ve chosen the Foundation as an important partner.
Participating in the conversation were:
- Kevin L. Owens, CPM, 2020–2021 president of the IREM Georgia Chapter and division president at RPM Living, AMO, in Atlanta
- Deborah Westphal, CPM, ARM, IREM association executive of the IREM Georgia Chapter, and a member of the IREM Foundation Board of Directors
- Jonathan Tucker, CPM, executive vice president of operations and facilities at Cortland Management, LLC, AMO, in Atlanta, and a member of the IREM Foundation Board of Directors
JPM: This year, both Cortland and IREM Georgia have committed $10,000 to support the IREM Foundation. What else do IREM Georgia and Cortland have in common?
Kevin Owens: We both value the power of IREM education and supporting our members in achieving their career goals—helping them be the best that they can be.
Jonathan Tucker: Cortland believes in continuing education for our real estate management professionals, which is very similar to IREM Georgia’s support of our members.
Deborah Westphal: And we have Jonathan Tucker in common, of course. Jonathan will be IREM Georgia’s president-elect in 2022, and Cortland’s values and passion for IREM have been wonderful additions to the chapter.
JPM: IREM is known for its education, so it’s no surprise that IREM Georgia is passionate about continuing education. Why is this important to Cortland?
JT: The belief in the value of education is enshrined within our company core value, “Have the courage to be better,” a promise to one another and to our tenants to learn continuously. Cortland so strongly believes in the education IREM offers its members that we have helped all our operations leaders obtain IREM CPM designations. The knowledge and mindset gained through IREM’s programs are reflected in the high-quality service we provide our residents and by the leadership demonstrated within our company.
JPM: And why choose IREM?
JT: IREM recognizes that real estate management professionals are essential for the success of our communities, tenants, and investors. I’ve been an active IREM member since 2010 and a Foundation Board director since 2019. I have seen the enormous value that IREM brings to commercial and residential managers’ careers and how the Foundation increases access to IREM. As a CPM-accredited real estate management leader, I have taken advantage of and professionally benefited from IREM’s industry-leading education and powerful networking opportunities.
KO: IREM is the premier association in the real estate management space. IREM membership allows you the opportunity to interact and network with the best operators in the business, and IREM is the only organization that enables you to collaborate with and learn from operators from all segments of property management, including residential, commercial, retail, and industrial. IREM’s certifications are the most recognized and respected in the industry. You want to be a better property manager. You want to be a better leader. You want to grow your career. IREM is the right choice for you.
JPM: IREM Georgia has been a champion of the IREM Foundation for many years. What drives that support?
DW: We believe in helping people. We’ve seen so many success stories from members who received scholarships and watched how the opportunities they received as professionals became invaluable for their further career development. And we are blessed by those recipients who continue the cycle of giving by contributing or serving in volunteer roles.
JT: Personally, I feel very grateful to be a part of Cortland, but I know that not everyone is so fortunate to have an employer that offers this kind of support. And there are a lot of smaller businesses out there that can’t yet afford to provide the support we do. Supporting the IREM Foundation is our way of helping others gain knowledge through IREM and paying it forward to our fellow professional community.
JPM: Jonathan and Deborah, as members of the board of directors, can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on and what we might see next?
DW: Seeing the stability in the generosity of others is very encouraging, as this is my last year to serve on the board of directors. We are positioned to grow and are focused on supporting the academic markets, particularly the historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
I believe God put us on this earth to make sure everyone will get a chance at the same blessings that many others have been granted. Our goal is to build the door of opportunity and to get people to the door. It’s everyone’s job to decide whether or not to walk through.
JT: This year, I’ve served on the Foundation’s Development Committee and am supporting efforts to develop sustainable funding so that the Foundation can expand its work and grow. I helped design the Foundation’s sponsorship opportunities for the IREM Global Summit, and now with Cortland as one of those sponsors, I’m challenging our vendors to match our gift, $1,000 at a time.
JPM: Wow! How has the response been from your vendors?
JT: It’s been very positive. This is an easy one—people and companies are looking for ways to make a difference in the world, and the IREM Foundation is doing meaningful work that not only impacts our industry as a whole but also directly affects people who are ready to benefit from a career in real estate management and just need a little extra support.