NAI Global Property Management Council Conference in San Diego Sets Attendance Record

In mid-May NAI Global’s Property Management Council hosted a Spring Conference in San Diego. Produced by the Council’s leadership board, the 2.5 days of presentations and networking were moderated by 2024 Council President Elizabeth (Beth) Barnes with NAI Plotkin in Western Massachusetts.

“By far, this was the biggest gathering of the Property Management Council we’ve had in recent history, and the energy was fantastic,” Barnes said afterward.

The conference attracted over 65 attendees from more than 30 NAI Offices in North America, as well as eight sponsors. For the second-consecutive year, ServPro Team Marchese was the Executive Sponsor.

Currently, 101 NAI Global Member Firms provide property management services in a portfolio comprised of 6,300 buildings and 1.12 billion square feet. The assets include office, industrial, retail, commercial, mixed use and other services, multifamily, senior housing, mobile home parks, marinas and homeowner associations, according to Barnes.

The Property Management Council meetings featured some familiar executives as keynote speakers and best practices coaches, including NAI Global President & CEO Jay Olshonsky, SIOR, FRICS, CCIM, Alex Waddey, co-head of NAI Global’s Capital Markets team, Henry Hays and Frank Dolan from Disrupt Ready, (AI for Property Management), Jeff Beals (Retaining Clients & Tenants Through Outstanding Customer Service), and Elke Laughlin (Change Management – Transforming Your Company for Greater Successes).

While Olshonsky presented an overview of NAI Global – its current services, new offices and other areas of growth, he zeroed in on the link between property managing, leasing services and investment sales.

“We are at one of those junctures in commercial real estate cycles where the coordination of services, and what we as NAI Global offer, can come together to serve property owners, investors, and especially sellers, like never before in today’s challenging environment,” said Olshonsky.

Jeff Beals took a subject that many too often take for granted, excellent customer service, and conveyed how important it can be for a property management company and their clients – investors and landlords, to run profitable properties by managing above-average occupancy levels because tenants are more inclined to renew leases if they have received exceptional customer service and feel valued as an occupier.

“We took a best-in-class customer service conversation and infused a bit of sales content,” Beals later said.

“Given the current environment in the property markets, the challenges and uncertainty for landlords, the NAI Global property management leaders and Council want to take a more proactive approach to their business and give their people more tools for their toolkits. As someone else has said, 9 out of 10 companies expect to differentiate themselves primarily on service, so naturally, you have to put some effort into improving the way in which services are provided,” Beals said.

Jeff Beals is an author, speaker and sales consultant that has worked extensively with NAI Global’s PDM (principals, directors, managers) and served as a keynote speaker and coach at many of the company’s conventions and conferences, as well as many other corporations. He is also the NAI NP Dodge Executive Vice President of Marketing and Community Relations in Omaha, NE.

Elke Laughlin founded Laughlin Consulting Group, a management consulting firm exclusively serving the commercial real estate (CRE) industry, focusing on change management, organizational development, and leadership development services. Over the past two years, she has advised NAI Global’s Property Management Council on its strategic plan and expansion into a national and international platform. This platform aims to provide property management services to a diverse range of property investors and owners, including institutions, family offices, regional LLCs, high-net-worth investors, and local property owners. Laughlin has 30 years of experience in CRE, spanning from privately-held regional brokerage firms to publicly traded Fortune 500 and S&P corporations. Elke is based in Houston.

“Two years ago, I facilitated a strategic business planning retreat with the PM Council’s leadership team on the NAI Global Property Management Services business to accelerate the development of a unified platform for consistent delivery of services. That was the goal from the start, and the organization is now rolling the plan out to member firms. In some ways, it’s like a 30-year-old startup, as many of the NAI offices providing property management services have been doing so for a long time,” Laughlin said.

Laughlin’s talk focused on change management and the principles of assembling the right team and placing the right people in the right roles.

“The takeaway from our time together in San Diego is that the managers should understand their company’s core values and leadership style and how these elements shape their respective company cultures. This understanding comes from combining people skills and performance styles and then recognizing that motivators translate into behaviors, which is the “how we do what we do,” while motivators are the “why we do what we do.” Motivators drive behaviors,” she said.

We worked on identifying goals from these points of view and then developing action plans that would lead to greater prosperity and a more cohesive, company-wide operational unit, given the size and scale of NAI offices that excel at property management, Laughlin added.

The conference also featured IREM Skill Badge Courses on risk management and additional event sponsors included Sherwin Williams, Diversified Insurance Group, Versico Roofing Systems, Jones (they provide insurance-coverage certification), Stellar Commercial Roofing, Power Play Energy Group and Airwayz, a cellular towers services provider.