that none of them are there because of gender or skin color. We
wanted the very best people.
Through one of our task forces, we’ve arranged for eight or
nine presidents of various historically black colleges and universities [HBCUs] to attend the Global Summit and learn more
about our education programs. We talked about high schools
before, but we’re also in 26 universities now, and we’re going to
make a positive attempt to become further involved in various
HBCUs’ academic programs to produce an even more diverse
>> GRAY: The management industry as a whole has good representation of traditionally under-represented groups, even internationally. But the broader real estate industry suffers from a
lack of leadership by these groups. That’s something we have to
focus on in our day-to-day work lives.
For some time, IREM has viewed diversity’s importance,
whether it’s through scholarship, education or member engagement. But it’s a journey and not a destination. Most associations
that serve the industry need to continue that journey, but there
isn’t one magic bullet that will solve it all. It’s a conscious, continuous effort to engage and to improve and promote through
JPM: How’s the rebranding going?
>> WATTS: We’re happy to say Denise [Froemming, IREM
CEO and EVP] has her dream team put together now, and
we’ve recently welcomed Donna August as vice president of
marketing and development. It’s been an exciting time since the
rebranding, with a staff in place to help take all we’ve done so
far to the next level. Plus, in coming months, our website will be
completely revamped. We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback
JPM: How does each of you see this moment in time, both as
the product of all the issues we’ve dealt with over the past few
years and as a pivot to the future?
>> WATTS: The last decade obviously has been about technology and how it’s impacted our industry. The ability to develop and manage has changed, from the way the architects
draw their drawings to 3D applications to various other issues.
The next five years will be much more technology-driven.
We’ll be seeing a lot more smart-building initiatives spread
across the country.
Sustainability too has been a big issue in Canada, as Cheryl
knows, and on the coasts. But in the Midwest and South Central
states it hasn’t caught on as much. That too will change over
the next five years with a growing number of green-building
programs rolling out.
>> GRAY: Everything is an evolution, and I don’t see this changing. Post-9/11, everyone became security-conscious. Post-pan-demic, we became conscious of health and wellness and keeping
the labor force safe. Going forward, the biggest thing we’re going to struggle with is the hierarchy of how buildings get built,
constructed and operated. As Chip said, will we even need architects going forward, or will we be able to do our own digital
And, as I indicated before, we also need to be cognizant of
occupant expectations—the social expectations that determine
what a building does and the customer experience. People want
more individualized control and convenience. For instance,
what will autonomous vehicles do to us now that we’ve built
all these massive parking garages? It all may have started in
the major markets, but the secondary and tertiary markets are
catching on to all of the social and technological changes that
are informing our occupants.
>> WILKERSON: If we could predict specific changes, what a
book we could write! It’s all moving too fast to do that. But I do
know this: We’ve positioned IREM now to be nimble enough to
adapt to change quickly.
John Salustri is a contributing writer for JPM®. If you have questions regarding this article or you are an IREM Member interested in writing for
JPM, please email email@example.com.
—CHERYL GRAY, CPM
WITH IS THE