From industry leaders to sports coaches to successful people in myriad sectors, mentors come in endless forms.
During the “Morning with Mentors” event last week at Baltimore Peninsula, six commercial real estate veterans – representing the brokerage, construction management, development, and financial services industries – doled out advice on how to advance careers through mentorship. Here are a few of their thoughts.
Karen Cherry, Prologis: “Mentors can take all forms, from people junior or senior to you, and some can be those you do not even know but admire from afar. Some people don’t even know they are my mentors. I count many mentors and strive to emulate the communication, leadership, and work ethic strengths that I consider the most impressive. If you are looking for a great mentor, consider reaching out to a peer or a competitor – they would be happy to help you. And, do not ever stress about making mistakes, which we all do. My father used to say ‘If you have to eat a frog, don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it.’ In other words, own the mistake immediately and move on.”
Chris Hoffman, DPR Construction: “Mentorship is certainly not a one-way street, as many times the mentor receives as much or more value than the person receiving the career guidance. Never go into a situation with a big ego and the feeling that you know it all. None of us do. And when you make a mistake, the biggest thing is your reaction to and follow-up of the situation. That is what people remember the most.”
Kate Jordan, Lee & Associates | Chesapeake Region: “Reach out to and have coffee with, as many professionals as you possibly can even if they don’t focus on your specific area of the market. Anything you can do to broaden your base of resources and learn more makes you better. Before your meeting ends, ask for recommendations from other people to meet and keep the process moving. I did this at the start of my career and continue to do that now and, over time, have generated countless relationships. Some ultimately result in getting a deal done but it isn’t necessarily about the immediate ROI of a deal from a meeting, it is relationship building and enrichment. This business is a relationship business.”
Scooter Monroe, MAG Partners: “Mentorship relationships need not to be formal to be successful, as some of mine are people I watch from afar. I try to take pieces of their approach to life and business and make them my own. A few of the most influential mentors have been my former coaches. Great coaches see themselves as mentors with a responsibility to make their players better on and off the field. Although I haven’t played organized sports in years, I still remember and implement many of the lessons I learned in the past from my mentor coaches. In general, it is important to remember that you are not operating on an island and we all have something to learn from and teach one another.”
Chris Nevin, First National Bank: “Soon after my family moved to Hampstead in the 1990s, we saw issues related to the quality of life and my wife implored me to become active in local politics in order to make a positive contribution to where we lived. This activity ultimately led to me being elected mayor of the town… Over time, that position has opened an incredible number of doors for me and positively impacted my career. Not everyone needs to become a mayor but getting involved is the key. The NAIOP-MD Chapter had a relatively small group when Developing Leaders started and today there are over 90 people involved and the relationships made here will benefit you as your career progresses.”
Kate Nolan Bryden, MRP Industrial: “I’ve had five or six mentors in my career, not all who work in the commercial real estate industry. I have taken cues from their ways – including how they communicate effectively and how they run meetings or handle conflict – and incorporated them into my own professional practices. I’ve learned that while it is OK to delegate an important responsibility to a peer, as a project lead one must remain involved and engaged in those delegated details to manage each stage of a project to its successful conclusion. It’s no secret that genuine connections and relationships go far in commercial real estate and those connections start with empathy and respect for others. The period during COVID made me more aware of who many of our team members, contractors, and consultants are outside of their professional roles and the roles and responsibilities they have in our larger community… I think our relationships benefitted from it.”