President’s Message

As we work through this pandemic and its impact to our professional and personal lives, I am continually reinvigorated by the leadership, innovation and resilience of our chapter’s members. It’s no surprise that a recent study calculated that in COVID-19 lockdown, the workday lasted 48.5 minutes longer, the number and duration of our meetings have increased and email traffic has commenced exponentially.  In short, we are all working harder than we ever did before.  Not a day goes by that I wonder how I will ever have the time to commute again. 

Despite the fact we are working more, our members continue to step up, volunteering their time and talent to create and attend solid educational webinars as well as continue their valued work on our chapter committees.  A big thank you to all that have stayed engaged in NAIOP!   I know that we will come back stronger and we will all appreciate our opportunities to get together more than we ever did before.

I especially want to commend the work of our Diversity Task Force, a dedicated group of members that has already spent countless hours working to achieve real positive change in the diversification of commercial real estate.  The Task Force is committed to taking immediate action rather than just speaking about our current challenges.  They are working to create meaningful programs and forming alliances with existing successful diversity initiatives with the goal of making a real and lasting positive impact on the diversity of our chapter as well as the industry. They’ve already reached out to educational institutions and national programs to develop a number of collaborative initiatives.  They are also setting up opportunities for involvement by all NAIOP members, including teaching, mentorship and externship programs.   I encourage everyone to read more about the work of the Task Force in this newsletter. Special thanks to our Task Force Co-Chairs Angela Azizian, MetLife Investment Management, and Michael Chukwueke, Duke Realty, along with committee members: Taylor Arnett, CapRock Partners; Greg Brown, JLL; John Drachman, Waterford Property Company; Emily Mandrup, LBA Logistics; Parke Miller, Lincoln Property Company; and Naomi Rizkowsky, Nomes.

Our new CEO Tim Jemal has been at work non-stop dealing with our industry’s greatest legislative challenges, in the middle of COVID, and on the cusp of a major election. No small feat. Thank you Tim for all you are doing to keep our Chapter on course during these crazy times!

Tim’s appointment also heralded the retirement of Cynthia Fusco, our chapter’s executive director for the past 30 years.  I was honored to be part of a very special zoom event to celebrate Cynthia’s work over three decades. It included live and video comments from numerous past presidents and special guests including Marc Selvitelli, senior vice president, NAIOP, who shared how important her influence was not just at the local level but at the national level. I think Tom Sherlock, past president, and our event MC, said it best when he cited this quote:  “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then you are an excellent leader”.  I couldn’t have said it any better.  Special thanks to Jessica Spaulding, Christina Hong and Becky Ezell who worked tirelessly to make this event a success.  Kudos as well to Steve Pearson who closed the event with a “Happy Trails” singalong. Thank you Cynthia for all of your hard work on behalf of NAIOP SoCal.

While we are still not able to stage our normal schedule of events, we are doing our best to provide other means to connect and to provide value for our members.  Please check out our Upcoming Events, which include our chapter events as well as offerings from NAIOP Corporate that may be of interest to you.   I am very excited about our upcoming educational and legislative initiatives, including an excellent webinar series developed by our Diversity Task Force to provide students and young professionals with insights into a future career in commercial real estate. NAIOP will hold its virtual CRE.Converge event on October 7 and 8.

I look forward to when we can all hang out together again.  Until then, please stay in touch.  We welcome your suggestions and feedback.  Please let us know what we can do to add value to your involvement in NAIOP.

Thank you!

Pamela Westhoff
NAIOP SoCal President