By: Veronica Polanco
As Millennials just getting started on our careers, we are the talk of the town. We are analyzed by research teams, targeted by advertisers and ultimately, expected to start careers and eventually make up the majority of the workforce. As we begin our jobs, the spotlight is on us. We’re nervous, enthusiastic, and unsure about what the future brings. As a result, we look for role models to inspire and guide us, or at best, rub off on us. We listen intently and crave advice, hoping that someone will give us the exact formula for success. By following the footsteps of a positive role model, we hope to grow professionally and one day become the mentors of the generation after us.
For the next generation of retail real estate professionals, Michael A. Carroll is an excellent example of a role model. With over twenty years of experience in the shopping industry he is a well-established retail real estate veteran.
Carroll received his undergraduate degree in business administration at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in 1992 and his MBA from the University of Toledo. His first job was a leasing position at New Plan Excel Realty Trust, Inc. Carroll quickly showed leadership capabilities. In 2007, he became COO of the company, which had been acquired by Centro Properties Group US, and in 2009, he became CEO of Centro, which was rebranded as Brixmor Property Group in 2011. Brixmor Property Group owns 522 shopping centers, located in 38 states, and operates three regional and twelve local offices nationwide. Carroll balances his CEO position with his active membership as an ICSC Trustee and the Urban Land Institute. He also serves as the Director of the Bowling Green State University Foundation Board and has endowed a scholarship at BGSU for business majors.
Carroll’s success is one that may feel unattainable or intimidating to young people; yet Carroll is committed to helping and encouraging the next generation of retail real estate professionals. He will be the keynote speaker at ICSC’s upcoming Next Generation Conference in Philadelphia. In preparation for the event, Carroll took the time to offer some advice as well as give us a sneak peak as to what he will be discussing at the conference. When asked, What is one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting in the industry, Carroll encouraged young professionals to get a better accounting and finance background. When he first entered the industry, Carroll went back to business school because he realized he lacked knowledge in this area. Carroll also encouraged our generation to pursue different facets of retail real estate and emphasized that being well-rounded will put young people in “the best position.”
Carroll advises young professionals to look for roles in their first jobs, where there are increasing levels of responsibility. He believes that additional responsibilities lead to visibility and enhances overall professional development. According to Carroll, the best business advice he has ever received was to focus on maintaining a strong, solid reputation; a key factor in relationship building and career success.
“A reputation is earned by many acts, and lost by only one act,” Carroll said. He believes that a reputation is something to be thinking about all the time.
Carroll gave us a snapshot of what he will be focusing on at the conference. Some key topics will be the changes taking place in macro-retail, e-commerce and the lack of new development. He thinks the shortage of space will make industry professionals consider how we should use existing assets. When asked about the future of the shopping center industry, Carroll was extremely upbeat. He believes shopping centers will become more productive and omnichannel will become more advanced. Carroll is optimistic that the industry will establish a harmony with e-commerce.
In terms of the next generation’s role in the future, Carroll expressed, “I believe young people are the engines that drive business. It’s important to harness their energy.”Michael A. Carroll will speak at 1:45 PM at ICSC’s Next Generation Conference in Philadelphia on July 27-29.