Five years ago when Danaria Farris McCoy, CDM, CSM, was selected as one of the John T. Riordan (JTR) Professional Education Scholarship recipients, she was a Marketing Manager at Service Star USA in Greenwood, CO. Today, she is the General Manager of the first-ever, privately operated open-air shopping center on a U.S. Military Installation, Freedom Crossing at Fort Bliss and has previously served as ServiceStar’s Director of Marketing, responsible for marketing communications for nearly 1,000,000 square feet of retail shopping centers. Let’s check in with Danaria to see how her experience as a JTR scholarship recipient has helped shape her career the last five years.
Why did you decided to apply for the scholarship and attend the JTR school? The JTR school presented a wonderful opportunity to become more immersed in the shopping center industry and spend a week learning from some of the best and most experience professionals in the business. When I found out about this tremendous scholarship that paid for tuition to attend, travel and accommodations, I decided to apply. ICSC offers so many great opportunities not only those new to the industry, but also to those like me who want to deepen their commitment to the industry and become more involved at every level.
Looking back 5 years ago are there things you learned, people you met, or experiences you had that you use on in your work today? Absolutely, the class materials were fantastic, and I still reference them today for information. I am still in contact with professors and other scholarship winners who are a fantastic resource. Each course in the series was taught by an expert industry professional who is sharing their knowledge and breadth of experience with you. The value of that is never ending.
In addition to the scholarship, recipients receive a travel grant to RECon or ICSC event to attend an award ceremony. Tell us about your experience attending RECon while you were relatively new to the industry? Although ICSC provides a wealth of opportunity to attend small local events, networking events, educational events, and more, RECon is the pinnacle event – the annual culmination and gathering of our industry. Attending RECon is a fantastic experience not only for those relatively new to the industry, but those who have been in the industry for decades. Individuals and companies you want to talk to are there, new ideas are put on the table, and all of the industry is putting forth their best projects and opportunities. RECon helped to expand regional contacts into global contacts.
In 2010, you also won the U.S. Maxi Award for Public Relations; you are both a Certified Marketing Director (CMD) and Certified Shopping Center Manager (CSM); and an active member of ICSC. Why do you continue to stay connected to ICSC? For someone passionate about and committed to the shopping center industry or a new industry professional looking to ingrain themselves, there is absolutely no better resource than ICSC. Remaining connected to ICSC is extremely important to my career. It allows me to learn more, share more and connect more – all of which are essential ingredients to success and providing excellent services to clients, shopping center guests, tenants, and my company as a whole.
What would tell someone who is on the fence about applying for a scholarship and attending the JTR school? Go for it! Winning the scholarship will undoubtedly have a positive impact on you both personally and professionally. ICSC is actively reaching out and seeking the best and brightest to provide wonderful opportunities to – give them a great reason to pick you.
The ICSC Foundations offers sixteen scholarships to ICSC members, both domestic and international, to attend one of the ICSC JTR Global School for Professional Development. Recipients also receive an all expense trip to RECon or ICSC event to attend an award ceremony. The ICSC Foundation is currently accepting applications. Apply here.