“I remember thinking, ‘Oh, my gosh. This is so overwhelming. I don’t belong here. I don’t fit here,” said Hancock. “Then Jo D. walked up to me.”
Jo D. Miller, the chapter’s executive director, introduced Hancock to some of the others in the room, warmly welcoming the then-assistant property manager into the IREM family.
“That was a key moment in my IREM life. If it hadn’t been for Jo D. taking the initiative or noticing that there was a new person in the room who was looking a little lost, I probably wouldn’t have come back,” Hancock said. “Because of that moment, I am now the 2020 president!”
IREM Houston is made up of hundreds of CRE professionals with similar stories. Many joined the organization for its educational opportunities only to find, like Hancock, a kind of family within their field.
“We tend to support each other and treat each other like we are family—and I love that,” said Hancock, now operations director for REIS Associates, LLC. “I love that we don’t just network with each other. We support each other inside and outside of IREM.”
“In my career with IREM, it has been just a true pleasure to see how uniquely special this organization is and how it affects people’s lives because the relationships are so sincere,” said IREM associate director Lindsay Konlande. “It is obviously very professional, but it’s also a network of people caring about people and supporting each other.”
That network is focused on one goal: educating and lifting up people in the CRE industry. IREM offers real estate and property management certification that is recognized on an international level. Programs include Certified Property Manager (CPM), Accredited Residential Manager (ARM) and Accredited Commercial Manager (ACoM) for individuals.
“A lot of employers now are seeking out credentialed real estate managers, especially those with a CPM,” Hancock said. “I think IREM provides a phenomenal opportunity—not only to further your career path, but also to increase your knowledge through all of the educational offerings the organization provides.”
The opportunities offered by IREM aren’t reserved for newcomers. Konlande said even someone with 25 years of experience can benefit from continuing education.
“We have options that could potentially get you a raise or the ability to open up your own organization,” she said.
IREM also offers companies the option to pursue Accredited Management Organization (AMO) certification or the Certified Sustainable Property (CSP) program.
“Those are all credentials through IREM that are very recognizable within the commercial real estate industry,” said Hancock. “They give you an overall advantage.”
And they connect you with the heart of IREM: the people.
“Initially, you just sign up for classes and network with your peers. But you start to cultivate these relationships. Then next thing you know, someone in one of your classes who’s on a committee wants you to join or get involved,” Hancock said. “You come for the education, but you thrive off of the relationships and camaraderie.”
The group that belongs to IREM is as diverse as they come with members in all different sectors of different ages with different experience levels.
“It’s a welcoming place for anyone of any background and at any level of their career,” said Konlande.
Echoed Hancock, “It really is like no other organization because of its welcoming environment and the connections that will last you a lifetime. It pays off professionally and personally.”
For more information about IREM, visit IREMHouston.org.