Tag Archives: young professionals

Young Professionals - AZRE Magazine November/December 2011

Young Professionals Mentoring Up


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

Young Professionals - AZRE Magazine November/December 2009

BOMA’s Young Professionals Group Grooms The Next Generation

Leading the Way

“Young professionals cannot afford to sit on the sidelines,” says Jami Vallelonga, a BOMA Greater Phoenix board member. “It has become increasingly important to develop a professional network and get the training and tools needed to advance as a management professional.”

Welcome to the Young Professionals Group

Jami Vallelonga, a real estate manager at CB Richard Ellis, formed the Young Professionals Group (YPG) in January 2009 to offer professionals (age 40 and younger) a forum for interaction and support within the property management industry, and to promote career growth and development.

Marion Donaldson, who co-chairs the Young Professionals Group with BOMA members Colleen LeBlanc and Vallelonga, says, “Our goal is to encourage young leaders to take educational courses and obtain their industry designations, volunteer on BOMA committees, increase community activism and awareness, ultimately fill vital leadership positions in 5 to 10 years, and make sure that BOMA Greater Phoenix remains a viable, effective industry group.”

Donaldson, a 7-year member of BOMA Greater Phoenix, works as a sales and customer service manager for Commercial Service Solutions, a commercial floor care company. With a background in both property management and the services industry, she notes BOMA-YPG is an important group for professionals in both fields.

A subsidiary of BOMA Greater Phoenix, the Young Professionals Group offers the benefits of BOMA membership including:

  • industry networking
  • enhanced educational opportunities
  • career building
  • a powerful voice in the industry

LeBlanc joined BOMA 5 years ago for its network.

“We’ve never had a salesperson work for this company,” she says, referring to ProGuard Security Services, a company that provides security to commercial and high-rise properties.

“All of our business has been earned through relationship building, which can be tied to BOMA membership.”

She started with ProGuard Security Services 5 years ago as the director of customer relations, and began running the Phoenix office as vice president 3 years ago.

How it Works

Monthly luncheons and quarterly events enable Young Professional Group members to connect with industry professionals, both inside and outside of the group.

The YPG recently teamed with NAIOP Developing Leaders (NAIOP’s young professionals) to extend industry connections.

These large networking events can be a little intimidating for new members, notes Donaldson. She recalls walking into her first BOMA luncheon as an assistant property manager at age 24 and feeling “wholly intimidated” because she did not know anyone there.

It was at that moment she knew the group needed a way to make members feel welcome and get networking faster.

What resulted is the Ambassador Program, adopted by the Young Professional Group, to personally welcome all new members and help them navigate the monthly luncheons. This includes introducing newcomers to other members.

Additional Value

For management professionals, the Young Professional Group may offer a free ticket to some of their education.

The Young Professional Group raises money through sponsored events to enroll members in the BOMA Real Property Administrator (RPA) and Facilities Management Administrator (FMA) certification courses.

These are important certifications for property managers, Vallelonga says, who started her career in property management as a receptionist and worked her way up the ranks to real estate manager of CB Richard Ellis. She holds the RPA, CPM and LEED AP designations.

However, the group’s education opportunities extend beyond certification classes.

“Every company has different styles of management,” LeBlanc points out. “Our group offers young property managers a chance to interact with many management companies and gather ideas that can help tremendously in their careers. BOMA is kind of a one-stop shop where you are going to find information, mentors, or perhaps your next job.”

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For more information about Young Professionals Group, call BOMA Greater Phoenix at (602) 200-3898.



AZRE Magazine November/December 2009