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Keynote speakers bring jolt of inspiration to the Virtual IREM Summit

The 2020 Virtual IREM Summit was conceived and developed in the shadow of COVID-19, social division, and economic freefall. While life is always unpredictable, this year we’re testing our resilience by meeting new and unanticipated challenges. That’s why the keynote speakers at the 2020 IREM Virtual Summit resonated so well with the audience, bringing that jolt of inspiration at a time when we really need it.

Each of them gave us a renewed sense of overcoming obstacles, jumping in and moving forward. As Judi Dench compares the intensity of her life in India to a wave in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, we can apply the same sentiment to 2020; “Resist, and you’ll be knocked over. Dive into it, and you’ll swim out the other side.”

Spencer Levy, Chairman of Research, the Americas, CBRE

The way forward

Who says economists are dry? Spencer Levy brings life to numbers and data and the economics of the real estate industry. His research also reveals good news on the state of commercial real estate, right now, and in the not-so-distant future. Some of his key data points include:

  • 2020 is expected to end with a negative GDP of about 5%, but, 2021 is expected to bring positive GDP of about 5%, setting the stage for growth in 2022
  • Job creation, consumer spending, and the stock market have actually performed better this year than the same time last year
  • Government intervention and the Fed’s monetary stimulus successfully supported the overall economy, and the real estate economy specifically
  • This support may prevent distressed deals
  • Innovations resulting from the global economy include partnership structures between landlord and tenant, as in the Brookfield alliance with JC Penney, which has rescued the retailer from bankruptcy, and Brookfield from empty space
  • The pandemic has moved the needle on building wellness, with one major developer applying new technology to use hot and cold water pipes in the walls to provide clean heating and air conditioning in a $500 million office development
  • Also on the green front, as office spaces are adapted to our new way of life, they’ll help to decrease urban density and provide more fluid workspaces

According to Spencer, our macro economy is stronger than we think, led by anticipated positive 2021 GDP, job creation, and continued growth in consumer spending.

Sara Ross, Speaker and Chief Vitality Officer, BrainAMPED

The science of powering up in life and leadership

Sara Ross studies stress. Why would anyone do that? Because without an understanding of what causes stress, and ways to manage stress, we’ll all just burn out. Especially now, when there really is no end to the working day or week.

She finds three main causes of stress:

  • Excessive workloads
  • Difficult people
  • The tilt between work and life

Sound familiar? So, how do we combat those stressors without compromising our goals? She’s found that some people can manage a lot of stress and remain productive and stand out among their peers without burning out. How?

The answer is in how we nourish and replenish our vitality - the purposeful energy that fuels life, and the same energy we feel on days we’re firing on all cylinders – relaxed, focused, clear and generous.

You, too, can learn to nourish your vitality.

John Register, Inspired Communications International, LLC

Hurdle adversity: Amputate fear and embrace your new normal

John’s powerful session, Hurdle Adversity: Amputate Fear and Embrace Your New Normal, may have been the most impactful of this year’s Virtual IREM Summit. Apart from the tragic events that ended his career as a traditional Olympian, it’s the courage he found to overcome those challenges that define him.

John asked the audience just how in control they felt at the beginning of the pandemic. A lot of the responses came back with low confidence in their ability to manage work lives and personal lives early on. But John’s story puts it into perspective.

When he was originally faced with a gruesome injury, he had to take a step back and start all over. And he did. He learned to compete again, and earned silver in the long jump at the 2000 Paralympic Games. Not only that, he had to overcome stigma, isolation, and most importantly, fear, to learn to live his new normal.

Sound familiar? How do you show up in these moments?

Ben Nemtin, Nemtin International, Inc.

Make the impossible possible

If you could do anything, what would you do? In 2006, Ben and three of his friends decided to take a two week road trip and start checking things off their bucket list. They knew it wouldn’t be possible without help, so, whenever they checked something off their bucket list, they helped someone else check something off theirs.

And so it began. At the end of their first two week journey, they decided to do it again the following summer. With help, jobs, contributions and fundraising, they managed to make the impossible possible. Have a beer with Prince Harry. Go on the Oprah Winfrey show. Deliver a baby. And the most impossible, play basketball with sitting President Barack Obama.

And it takes just 5 things to make it happen:

  • Write it down
  • Share your goals
  • Persist!
  • Take moonshots – there’s less competition!
  • Give back

In the words of nineteenth century poet Matthew Arnold, in his poem, The Buried Life:

But often, in the world's most crowded streets,
But often, in the din of strife,
There rises an unspeakable desire
After the knowledge of our buried life;
A thirst to spend our fire and restless force
In tracking out our true, original course

Don’t be among the 76% who regret living the life someone else wanted for them. Free yourself and make a plan to live the life you want for yourself. Be inspired, live inspired.


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