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Highlights from IREM’s 2020 Virtual Chapter Leadership Retreat, Elevate Leaders

IREM’s chapter leaders came together virtually from August 24-26, 2020 for collaboration and inspiration. From the opening session to keynote speaker Simon T. Bailey to a happy hour with magician Frank Fogg, participants left engaged and energized. In the words of one enthusiastic chapter leader, “I always leave these conferences energized and excited to bring the ideas back to our local chapter. This conference was no different, I was so positive after the happy hour on Wednesday…I truly had a “skip in my step” which took me to the end of the week and into this week.”

In a virtual world it can be hard to keep the energy high. But professional emcee Colleen Murray Peyton made it look easy. “Just watching and listening to her put a smile on my face every time,” was one of the reactions from the audience.

While there were many outstanding sessions, here are some of the highlights:

Bob Harris

Are your members asking, “What have you done for me lately?” Bob Harris’s session on Strategic Recovery, From Virus to Value, provided actions you can take, right now, to showcase your organization’s value through your work and accomplishments in a virtual world. Here’s what you can do:

  • Catalogue and communicate everything you’ve done, and consider a visual like an infographic or video to do so
  • Emphasize your organization’s recovery rebound, as in your pivot to remote work and virtual events
  • Avoid regurgitating your virus updates by simply calling them “Updates”
  • Update your elevator speech

Remember that your members want a return on their membership investment, so don’t be shy about communicating your hard work and successful outcomes on all your platforms.

Ted Thurn

IREM’s Director of Government Affairs raised the awareness of critical legislative issues on the table right now, and how their potential outcomes will impact your business in his session, Advancing IREM’s Mission Through Advocacy and Legislation. Here’s what you can do to take action and educate your legislators on topics they may not know much about, but are important to the real estate industry and property management:

  • Identify your elected officials
  • Contact your legislator’s office
  • Schedule a meeting or meetings, and prepare
  • Review the do’s and don’ts of engaging with legislators
  • Make sure to follow up

Between pending issues on COVID-19, affordable housing, and the upcoming presidential election, there are a lot of challenges facing property management right now. To learn more, visit IREM’s advocacy page.

Simon T. Bailey

The event’s closing keynote speaker, Simon T. Bailey, took our collective breath away in his session, Hard Conversations are Good Business. Chapter leaders learned that real leadership is about leading change. To help make real progress in leveraging the strengths that true diversity offers, ask yourself:

  • Have I made a commitment to diversity because I want to, or because I have to?
  • What can my chapter do to become more intentional in leveraging the strengths of diversity?
  • What are we missing?
  • What are we not doing?

The conversation is ongoing as you learn to do better, become curious, make connections and a difference because you want to, not because you have to. Little by little, you can evoke real change.

Post-event we heard from chapter leaders who said, “I’m already using what I learned here in my life and my job,” and “Spending virtual time with IREM’s leadership team was so beneficial.”


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