President’s Message

These last few months have been surreal for all of us.  There has been so much change, it’s impossible to keep up.  On March 17 when the stay-at-home orders began to look real, I found myself saying “one day at a time” over and over again. We were bombarded with new phrases and vocabulary:  “flatten the curve,” “stay at home,” “gradual reopening” and more.  The number of emails with the word “unprecedented” featured in the first sentence became too high to count.  Unprecedented is now an understatement.

Yet, here we are, nearly three months later, smarter, stronger, more grateful and more tech savvy (at least with Zoom).  But just when our feelings of optimism and hope started to grow, we all witnessed a horrific scene in Minneapolis that once again changed the world as we know it.  This has caused us all to reflect on so many things in both our personal and professional lives.  Now we are focused on recovery, rebuilding, effecting true change and charting a new future for our nation and world.

As for NAIOP SoCal, what have we accomplished and where are we headed?  

On June 1, we welcomed Tim Jemal as our first Chief Executive Officer.  Tim is the right person to lead our Chapter through what is already shaping up to be a very challenging decade.  You will soon have the opportunity to meet Tim, virtually and in person.  I have truly enjoyed getting to know him, and I know all of you will as well.  He jumped in with both feet and is already showing his strength, creativity and flexibility in confronting both the daily challenges as well as those on the horizon. You will learn more about Tim and his vision for NAIOP SoCal in a Q&A in this issue. Thank you, Tim!

We are adjusting to virtual events – for now.  On April 24, we kicked off our Recovery and Resiliency Webinar Series.  We have now presented 7  webinars on a wide spectrum of topics, including Medical Office, Industrial, Office Design and Construction.  We’ve had hundreds of our members listen to these webinars with some great programs coming up.  Please watch for our announcements and mark your calendars for Friday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.  A big thank you to Board members Taylor Arnett and Lillian Kuo, and all of the terrific industry leaders who have participated and shared their insights.

I could not have said it better than Kim Snyder of Prologis, who offered the following in response to a question during one of our webinars, on advice for getting through a crisis:  “I’m a huge fan of NAIOP. It is a vehicle to stay in touch with people, get educated, hear what is going on and interact with people… What we teach and preach at NAIOP is that we are colleagues, we all work together, we want our industry to do well, we care about each and other and want people to succeed, so we help each other out when they need help.” Well said, Kim!

Our Legislative Affairs Committee, led by Board member Stephane Wandel, is working nearly 24/7 to lead us through the toughest legislative fights the industry has ever fought.  Although the threats of Split Roll Tax and SB 939 are tough enough, there are numerous other orders, initiatives and legislative proposals that are unfairly burdensome to our industry and must be stopped. Read the Legislative Affairs Update for more information, and join the fight against this bad legislation.

We have also expanded and refocused our Diversity Task Force, which seeks to effect real change through action items that bring more diversity to our membership, our active committees and our Board, as well as fostering and developing diverse future leaders for our industry.  I look forward to working with all of you on this very important initiative.

On July 31, we will say goodbye to our incredible Executive Director, Cynthia Fusco, who has led our Chapter through numerous challenges over the past 31 years.  Cynthia is retiring to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and we will all miss her. Good thing we have your cell phone number, Cynthia!

I want to thank all of you for your support of NAIOP SoCal and for the difference you make in our industry and our communities.  Working together, we can be more adaptable, more efficient and find ways to implement real change for the better, in all aspects of our lives.  I look forward to seeing you all soon – whether on Zoom or in person.  In the meantime, please look for our updates, emails and other communications designed to keep you connected and informed.  I always welcome your comments and suggestions for how NAIOP SoCal can remain the leading voice for the real estate community in Southern California.

All the best,

Pamela Westhoff
President