Young Professionals - AZRE Magazine November/December 2011

Young Professionals Mentoring Up

BOMA’S YOUNG PROFESSIONALS REAPING BENEFITS OF LEARNING FROM ESTABLISHED INDUSTRY LEADERS

The young professionals of BOMA Greater Phoenix knew that the seasoned veterans they met at the organization’s events were a wealth of information.

Some had 20 or more years experience in property management and had weathered their share of mistakes and industry ups and downs.

So how could young professionals tap into that brain trust? They appreciated the peer mentoring available through BOMA’s special events and conferences, but they wanted more.

Like good problem-solving professionals, they came up with an answer: a formal mentoring program — Mentor Society of BOMA Greater Phoenix.

Since its inception in August, the Mentor Society has served as a way for people at the front-end of their careers to glean information, knowledge and wisdom from seasoned professionals in a personal, one-on-one setting.

“These are people who have been in the industry for 10, 20, 30 years and they have all this knowledge,” says Jamie Strecker, a property manager with FM Solutions and a member of BOMA Phoenix Young Professionals Group (YPG). “They’re what we’re calling our ‘elite.’ ”

Mentors who agree to be in the program are listed on the BOMA website, as are associate members — vendors who have worked in fields that serve or are affiliated with property management.

The program is self-managed, Strecker says, which means young professionals can contact a mentor on their own initiative by going to the BOMA website and clicking on a mentors’ biography and contact information.

They are then free to contact that person to set up a 30-minute interview.

Mentors must have at least five years experience in the commercial real estate industry, be a current member of BOMA, and have served on three or more committees or have sponsored five or more events.

Mentors agree to be an active participant by providing insight into the industry, to maintain confidentiality and professionalism, and to respond to a request within 24 hours.

The goal of the program is to increase knowledge among the young professionals of BOMA and to help the next generation of professionals feel vested in their fields and in the BOMA organization, says Colleen LeBlanc, a general manager with Universal Protection Services and an associate member of the YPG.

BOMA is all about building relationships, she says, and this is a great way to do that and strengthen the organization’s base. It’s also a good way to get your business in front of key players in the field.

Young Professionals Group member Mike Amico says he was eager to speak with mentor Tom Pritscher, an associate member mentor who is a commercial general contractor with ties to the facilities management profession since 1993.

Pritscher, Amico says, always seemed to draw a crowd at BOMA functions, so when he called him to “pick his brain” about how to develop network contacts and how to best take advantage of his BOMA ties, he knew Pritscher would have sound advice.

“It turned into a very good conversation,” says Amico, who is an insurance agent at Bennett & Porter Insurance Services, where he specializes in commercial property. “I felt like it was a very valuable use of my time. I asked Tom for 30 minutes and he gave me an hour.”

Pritscher, president of TEPCON Construction, Inc. in Tempe, says he was honored to be included as a mentor, and says he sees the value in passing down experience and knowledge. The Mentor Society is also a great way to take networking to a higher level.

“Even if you didn’t learn anything, you walk out of there knowing someone you didn’t know before,” he says. “But for people to share their experience with you at no cost is tremendous.”

He says, only half joking, “I’m thinking I may want to talk to a property manager — really, you can never stop learning.”

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AZRE Magazine November/December 2011