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Building the Future--Mayra Ramirez, CPM®

Do you want to advance in your career? Raise your hand. Raise it to volunteer. Raise it to take on a new assignment. Be open to the opportunities that come your way and let the experience take you to a broader understanding of your business and the people in it.

And, if you want proof this is a winning formula, just ask Mayra Ramirez, CPM®. It’s a formula that got her into property management in the first place, and it continues to feed her education in the wide range of disciplines property management touches. 

“Raise your hand,” says the Operations Construction manager for Prologis in Anaheim, California, “even if you don’t think it’s something you ultimately want to do.” She adds that the opportunities for learning that come through a focus on property management will serve you well in the future. For instance, the financial knowledge that’s part and parcel of this discipline “will pay dividends if later in your career you get into brokerage or development or capital markets.” 

No matter the title, an understanding of how properties operate and budget will serve anyone in any aspect of commercial or residential real estate. Get your CPM (something Ramirez did in October of last year, by the way), and “you can do a budget analysis in your sleep.” 

Raising your hand is an approach born of necessity. Ramirez graduated from Columbia University with degrees in Hispanic Studies, Psychology and Pre-Law, and had visions of a long career with high salaries in the legal profession. “But life had a different plan,” she says. That came in the form of the Great Recession of 2009. All at once, multiple job offers dried up, and Ramirez found herself out of work and on her mother’s couch. “I needed a paycheck.” 

And guess what? At the time, she didn’t even know there was a profession called property management. But she signed with a temp agency, got a job as a receptionist in an executive suites firm (Regus), and since she was the primary point of contact, began interacting with engineers and the managers servicing her building. 

They prompted her to apply for a position, and she ended up working for a company she’d never heard of, despite the fact that it’s one of the largest real estate owner/managers in the Western U.S.--The Irvine Company.

“But what did they do?” she asked, not having any idea, “and where would growth come in?” Ramirez says they allowed her to shadow them and explained in detail the ins and outs of property management. “They were happy, and they clearly loved their jobs.” All at once, “a whole new world opened for me.”

All the time, she “struggled to more fully understand the foundations of property management” and had a hard time finding peers her own age to share insights with, learn the business, and overcome challenges. In an industry famous for its aging population, “I needed a phone-a-friend,” she says. 

And that’s when she learned about IREM. “I started with IREM about five years ago,” she recalls. “I needed people my age in this industry who I could talk to about their trials and tribulations.”

And she began to raise her hand. She never missed an opportunity to sit in on meetings and economic forecasts. She raised it when the head of her local chapter’s Young Professional Committee needed help, and she raised it again when that same chair left and Ramirez assumed the role, which she held for four years. It’s important to note that, in that time, membership in the committee grew from a handful to upwards of 80. 

After a long and successful run, she admits she was “ready for something else,” and that’s when the local chapter president asked if she was interested in joining the executive committee. You already know her answer. Today, she’s president-elect of the IREM Orange County Chapter (Sam Chanin, CPM®, is president).

After nearly seven years, she left Irvine for what she describes as more promotional opportunities (“That was tough. They were like family to me.”), and she joined ProLogis in January of this year. She works in a pod of professionals who oversee some 12 million square feet of industrial space. 

It should come as no surprise that Ramirez is active in her volunteerism, and part of that is to make it easier for up-and-comers to discover and understand the rich career that is property management. Her involvement on the executive committee in itself sends a message of youth to interested observers. But that’s not quite enough. 

When she graduated Columbia, there were precious few courses at the college or university level that offered undergrads with exposure to the real estate industry and property management. “My whole focus now is going to universities and opening the eyes of students who may not know this is a career path,” she says.

The chapter already has a memo of understanding with Cal State Fullerton to promote IREM, its courses, and its certifications. “Those students can also participate in IYP,” she says, “and they get to network and pick our brain about companies and other disciplines.” 

And all they must do to take advantage of that golden opportunity is to raise their hands.


“I started with IREM about five years ago,” says Mayra Ramirez. “I needed people my age in this industry who I could talk to about their trials and tribulations.”


Hello Mayra, hope all is well. My name is Ingrin Morris and I started on this business many years ago and I would like to get more involve on the CPM - IREM industry. I am a CPM candidate and have not finish my goals. Would you please advise me on how to start back...


Hi Ingrin! IREM's Customer Experience Support Squad is happy to help answer your questions and guide you through your CPM journey. You can reach them at getinfo@irem.org, or by calling 800-837-0706 during business hours. Thanks for reading, and go get your CPM certification!


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