Millennial Managers

By on Mar 12, 2014 in News

business woman standing with her staff at conferenceAs Baby Boomers by the thousands prepare to retire, training their successors is taking on fresh urgency. Anecdotal evidence suggests that a growing number of people are making real estate management a career of choice rather than chance. Nevertheless, some experts contend that the profession must further step up both recruitment and mentoring.

All too often, some leading executives contend, the industry is unwittingly discouraging its own talent pool by placing too much weight on experience. And while IREM, Building Owners and Managers Association International and other groups sponsor outreach programs and networking opportunities, Joe Greenblatt, IREM’s 2014 president and president of San Diego-based multi-family specialist Sunrise Management, finds that young people often feel frustrated about the lack of responsiveness from prospective employers—and that is a missed opportunity.

Once they’ve been hired, managers of all ages say, employers would do well to cater to the very distinctive traits 20-something professionals tend to share.

To begin with, Millennials prize mentoring. Communicating back and forth is a must, according to Dee Headley, an Indianapolis-based vice president for Cassidy Turley and chair of IREM’s advisory board on student and academic outreach. And the more specific the expectations, the better, notes Va’Shajn Parr, who joined La Jolla-based Capital Growth Properties Inc. as an assistant property manager last summer and works on two portfolios comprising 33 properties. Furthermore, feedback should be individually tailored, says Kacey Morris, director of property management for Prologis Inc. in metropolitan Atlanta.

Another essential Millennial quality is zeal to take on challenges right out of the gate. After all, this energetic, hands-on generation wants to make important contributions, according to Kent Bell, a property manager for Washington Real Estate Investment Trust. Karen Whitt, COO of U.S. real estate management services for Colliers International, likes to devise creative challenges for her best and brightest young managers.

At the same time, veterans should be tuned in to causes of frustration, advises Ashley Cooper, who graduated from San Diego State University with a real estate finance degree in 2007 and now manages four properties in Charlotte, N.C. While learning the ropes of real estate management involves some routine tasks, it helps to explain why each of those tasks is important to give them perspective, she says.

For her part, Prologis’ Morris makes it clear to this group, which tends to be impatient to advance, that advancement is a structured process—but that she is constantly ready to go to bat for her protégés.

Her promise: “I will mentor you to whatever level I can get you to, and support you if you decide to go elsewhere.”

Commercial Property Executive senior editor Paul Rosta writes about property management for the magazine. He wrote about recruitment and mentoring of Milliennials in the January 2014 issue of CPE. And log on to CPE TV to hear more from Va’Shajn Parr.