While ICSC staff members have historically enjoyed strong connections with our members, a few years ago, Michael Kercheval, President & CEO, underscored our commitment to meeting members’ needs by appointing a senior manager to run a new department dedicated to serving our members, with efficiency, effectiveness, and creativity. Randi Glass, a Professional Meeting Planner and Certified Association Executive, was tapped for that position. Previously Randi had served as the head of our Canada office in Toronto—a position that capitalized on her organizational skills as well as that uniquely polite nature that is so common among our neighbors in the North.
As Randi now runs these operations from our Manhattan office, I have tried to take a few pages from her playbook in serving the needs of our student members. The Student Program normally has about 1,200 members at any given time, some two to three percent of ICSC’s overall membership. And, over the years our Leadership Development team (comprised of the student membership program along with the Next Generation young professionals initiative) have worked hard to provide useful and innovative assistance to folks as they finish their academic studies and launch job searches. Assistance often comes in the form of connecting students with practicing industry professionals. The case of student member Nick Jones is illustrative of the support we try to provide to newcomers.
Nick is a pleasant and motivated student at the University of Central Florida, in Orlando. Originally from the Seattle area, he imbues the easy going nature we associate with the Pacific Northwest. Despite the fact that Nick is just now finishing his undergraduate degree in finance and real estate, he has been an active ICSC student member for years, attending several Florida Conferences, RECon 2012 and the annual National Next Gen meeting held in Atlanta this summer. He has had a voracious appetite for our one-on-one mentoring appointments, offered at the larger ICSC meetings and was also awarded a scholarship to attend the annual Florida Conference held in August, drawing thousands of ICSC members to the Gaylord property in Kissimmee. (The Scholarship was organized by a group of active ICSC volunteers in Florida led by Rod Castan of Courtelis Properties in Miami.
Not one to let grass grow under his feet, Nick decided to make an early fall trip to NYC, while finishing his last semester of classes, to begin informational interviews for potential internships or jobs after graduation. To help with the trip, he came to our offices. On very short notice, I was able to help Nick secure some valuable appointments during his three day stay in the City. Specifically, the always helpful Buck Sappenfield of Ann Inc. hosted Nick at their outstanding Times Square Office. Likewise, Nick was able to visit with several senior ICSC staff members who had industry experience and decades of service with the association: Rudy Milian, Senior Vice President Professional Development Services, Education; Madison Gross, Senior Manager, Education Department; and Gregg McCort, Executive Director of the REAP program, the education and leadership development program promoting ethnic and racial diversity in the industry.
I even managed to provide Nick with some NYC guidebooks and resources to enhance his first time stay in the city. I spoke to Nick as his whirlwind trip was drawing to a close and asked him about his experience as an ICSC member. He generously suggested that ICSC had profoundly influenced his study of real estate and had been there “every step of the way….” Going on to explain that “In every possible way, ICSC has been helpful in my academic studies and job search, and I am extremely grateful.”
As I sent Nick back to LaGuardia airport on his way to Orlando, I was immensely pleased on numerous counts. As someone who holds close to the mantra “Ask and you shall receive” I was satisfied that there was a young person who had the courage and confidence to seek our assistance in his efforts. Moreover, I was doubly delighted that my colleagues at ICSC and people like Mr. Sappenfield stood ready to help this young person.
To all of you, I say thanks—for helping me—and ICSC—fulfill our mission.