The Art of Leadership: A Candid Discussion with NAI Global’s Senior VP of Operations, Lindsay Fierro

We’re continuing our series on “The Art of Leadership” during Women’s History Month with a conversation with Lindsay Fierro, Senior Vice President of Operations for NAI Global. Lindsay Fierro started her commercial real estate career immediately after earning an MBA at the age of 23, originally in an administrative role in NAI Global’s New York City brokerage office. She later moved into marketing and marketing management positions before being promoted to her current operations management role in 2016.

Lindsay Fierro effectively manages all operational aspects of the company. She is also responsible for development client-side initiatives, such as Global Market Outlook programs, hosting webinars with economists and related professionals, and organizing business development meetings and dinners with key accounts and corporate clients. Lindsay oversees and manages one corporate Leadership Summit, two NAI University meetings, and one NAI Global Convention per year.

With education a core value of hers, Lindsay was instrumental in launching NAI University several years ago, which now has over 700 “graduates” from NAI’s professional ranks of brokers, sales and leasing agents and property managers. Further, she was responsible for re-starting the company’s Women Alliance Leadership Task Force, a group of NAI professionals from multiple U.S. offices with a mission to advance CRE careers for women and develop more business internally for NAI Global.

We sought out Lindsay Fierro to get her perspective on leadership.


What are the top 3 qualities of a successful leader?

Always growing, never maintaining: It’s easy to get stuck in the day-to-day maintenance of operating a company, but it’s important to consistently set aside time to think about and research how to evolve and put your plans into action. If you do things the way you’ve always done things, there will be no growth. This is where your team members and their unique set of skills and perspectives are crucial.

Always listening while guiding: Leading isn’t about just telling people what to do; it’s a conversation. You can only give good guidance or advice if you are aware of the specific circumstances and perspectives of the people you are leading. Whether it is someone speaking to you directly, or listening for what isn’t being said, you have to listen actively. This is where genuine engagement begins.

Trust, respect and communicate: These are the cornerstones of leadership. You must trust, respect and communicate with your team members, but you must also create an environment and take actions that allow your team members to trust, respect and feel comfortable communicating with you.


What advice do you have for young professionals aspiring to leadership roles?

Soak up any information you can. Ask questions to understand the why behind decisions being made. Career advancement happens faster when you can rapidly absorb your work ecosystem, the essence of your chosen industry and how the most effective people operate. That’s the ‘how’ part of the pathway toward leadership, but you won’t get there if you don’t know why things happen the way they do, and why certain decisions are made by the leadership team where you work.

Take the lead on projects. Executives and leaders admire and respect initiative, and you will be noticed sooner for taking the lead on projects.

Always offer suggestions on how to do things better. This shows leaders that you are forward-thinking and solutions-oriented.

Talk to friends and acquaintances in other industries in leadership roles to gain outside perspective. You can’t grow as a human, much less a professional, if you live within the confines of your own bubble most of the time. There are many paths to excellence, and there is so much to be learned from other leaders from different walks of life – and that means personally and professionally. Innovation can be found everywhere.


How do you foster collaboration and teamwork among your team members to achieve shared goals?

Have the team create departmental goals together: Team members are more invested in a goal and action plan they helped create. It’s important to create a time and space where they can share ideas, define the goals, and determine how to approach the given challenge. Getting started can be the hardest part, so use your leadership skills to help them get started.

Have monthly meetings to go over goals and allow each team member to share where they may need assistance to achieve goals: A progress report is an essential part of the process, and moving projects toward completion usually requires some clarification, additional resources or help in another form. Foster an environment where team members can ask for help and you will have a more effective team.

Reward hard work: The best way to get the most out of employees is for them to know how much you appreciate their efforts, results, and often, how they achieved what they produced. Rewards have many aspects beyond the obvious ones, such as raises, bonuses, and promotions. Rewards include additional career opportunities, consistent words of appreciation and thanks, recognition at team meetings, personalized gifts, and other ways.