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IREM Columbus and IREM Indianapolis show support

In support of the IREM Foundation, a year of triumphs, innovation, success … and karting!

By Kevin Friend, CPM®, and Katie Ciechanowicz, CPM®
IREM Indianapolis Chapter members with professional race car driver Kody Swanson at the Karting for a Cause event, which benefited the IREM Foundation
IREM Indianapolis Chapter members with professional race car driver Kody Swanson at the Karting for a Cause event, which benefited the IREM Foundation

In 2023, IREM chapters in Columbus, Ohio, and Indianapolis, Indiana, inspired their members and industry partners to step up to support the IREM Foundation, and they had a lot of fun in the process.

Commitment in Columbus

In Columbus, the IREM chapter celebrated a triumphant 2023 marked by outstanding achievements and substantial growth. One standout accomplishment was the chapter’s participation in the IREM Foundation Chapter Giving Campaign, which exceeded expectations, reaching the prestigious Evergreen level with a remarkable $10,000 donation. This success was due to the relentless commitment of the chapter’s members, partners, and sponsors, reflecting a shared dedication to advancing the real estate management profession.

A key contributor to this success was the unwavering support from the loyal IREM Columbus Platinum Industry Partners. These partners, including industry leaders like Charlie Snyder from Environmental Management, Inc., Shane Valentine from Final Touch Painting, John Achevich from Georgia-Pacific Professional, Ken Neverman from ServiceMaster by Neverman, Jane Rogaliner from ServPro of NE & South Columbus, Arianny Thompson from Thompson Building Associates, and Shawn Thomas from Yellowstone Landscape, played a crucial role in sponsoring the “Lunch & Learn Membership Campaign.” Developed from the chapter’s creative spirit, this campaign was instrumental in the extraordinary 57% membership growth the chapter experienced in 2023.

The chapter’s membership campaign earned recognition and a prestigious IREM Chapter Innovation Award nomination. This acknowledgment attests to the chapter’s commitment to pushing boundaries, embracing innovation, and setting new standards in the real estate management industry.

Event attendance booms

IREM Columbus also enjoyed a substantial increase in event attendance throughout the year. Monthly events, traditionally drawing 20–25 attendees, now attract 75–100 participants. The IREM Columbus Installation Event doubled its attendance, with 200 members gathering to celebrate the chapter’s accomplishments and new board members.

The pinnacle of the chapter’s event success was the Annual Forecast Event. Attendance for this occasion doubled to an impressive 300 participants, highlighting the growing influence of IREM Columbus in the real estate management community.

As we celebrate these collective achievements, we would be remiss not to acknowledge the individual success stories that shine within the chapter. Lindsay Romaniw received both the national Donald M. Furbush, CPM®, Scholarship and the local Rick Underman, CPM®, Scholarship. She will use these prestigious awards to advance her education and obtain her CPM designation.

Additionally, Elizabeth Silvers secured a well-earned place in the IREM Next Gen CPM Leaders program, marking a significant step in her journey toward attaining her CPM designation. Elizabeth’s participation at the 2023 IREM Global Summit in Toronto underscores her dedication to excellence and collaboration with fellow cohort members, promising a bright future in the real estate management field.

Through the dedication of members, unwavering support from Platinum Industry Partners, and an innovative approach to community building, the IREM Columbus Chapter has soared to new heights. As the chapter continues to grow, innovate, and contribute to the real estate management profession, it stands as a beacon of success and inspiration for IREM chapters worldwide. The future holds great promise for IREM Columbus, where excellence is not just a goal but a new standard.

In Indianapolis, karting for a cause

While the IREM Indianapolis Chapter has supported the IREM Foundation for several years, it ramped up donations and awareness of Foundation resources over the past two years.  

Beginning in 2022, the chapter began hosting its signature Foundation event, Karting for a Cause. IREM Indianapolis organizes a karting event in Speedway, Indiana, home of the Indianapolis 500. Speedway provides the perfect backdrop for IREM Indianapolis to combine networking, fundraising, and a dash of adrenaline for members and guests.

The event featured competitive go-kart racing with a layer of friendly competition added to the mix. One of the chapter’s industry partners also secured professional race car driver Kody Swanson to participate in the event. Members took to the track and raced against Kody and other members in various heats to secure their best times. The fastest drivers competed in the top 10 race, with the top three awarded medals, prizes, and a chance to stand on the winners’ podium.  As an additional way to highlight the IREM Foundation, participants could purchase door prize tickets for prizes awarded at the event. The net proceeds of the event were donated to the IREM Foundation.

IREM Indianapolis Chapter members at the Karting for a Cause event, which benefited the IREM Foundation

Unique networking opportunities

IREM events are not only about business; they are also about building connections beyond the day-to-day service contracts and calls. The karting event provided a unique environment for members to network in a relaxed setting. Relationships formed at these types of events often translate into valuable connections and create a sense of community within our chapter. 

Foundation raffle

In addition to Karting for a Cause, IREM Indianapolis kicked off a Foundation Raffle to help celebrate its 70th anniversary. The chapter sold raffle tickets at events throughout the year and drew the winners at its annual dinner in November. The five raffle baskets included a spa package, hotel and dinner package, golf experience, and other fun options. It was a successful raffle, and the net proceeds were donated to the IREM Foundation. 

Embracing the IREM Foundation

The IREM Indianapolis Chapter members have benefited greatly from the scholarship opportunities the Foundation offers. The chapter has had 24 IREM Foundation scholarship winners in the past four years. This year, Veronica McNeely, CPM®, was not only awarded a Foundation scholarship, but she was also named a DISI Leader and sits on the IREM Foundation’s Associate Board. 

The chapter is also very excited to have Dee Headley, CPM®, CCIM, serve as the 2024 IREM Foundation President. She has been a huge supporter of the Foundation and has educated the chapter on the impact the Foundation makes on IREM members. “I was very fortunate that my company, Cushman & Wakefield, AMO®, supported the costs for my designations,” says Headley.  “I realized very early on that many companies don’t have the funds to help their employees. The IREM Foundation has been very dear to me due to the scholarship help, along with other programs that can impact so many in their career journeys.” These scholarships aren’t merely financial aids; they also provide recipients a taste of IREM and encourage them to get involved with volunteer and leadership roles.

IREM Indianapolis members are excited about the momentum we’ve gained promoting the IREM Foundation, and we’re excited to continue our fundraising efforts!

Journal of Property Management

Kevin Friend, CPM®, 2024 IREM Columbus Chapter President, is the assistant director of real estate management services for Colliers International, AMO® | Columbus. He holds an MBA, an Ohio real estate license, and the IREM CPM designation. He has proven expertise in commercial real estate and leadership and has been recognized with both IREM Columbus Chapter and Colliers awards.
Katie Ciechanowicz, CPM®

Katie Ciechanowicz, CPM®, 2024 IREM Indianapolis Chapter President, is a property manager and contributing partner at Chano Real Estate Partners in Indianapolis. She oversees the management and maintenance services of 2 million square feet of office, retail, and industrial flex buildings, along with the company’s human resources function.

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