Emily Corbin, marketing & real estate student, Sam Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas
My Father, a small carwash developer based in Arkansas, is always traveling and going to different meetings or conferences across the United States to promote his business. Since I was young, he has asked me to go with him, but it was always to places like Des Moines or Shreveport. I know I am from Arkansas but, no offense, none of those places sound appealing to me. In April of 2010, he asked me to go to Las Vegas to attend RECon. Being the young college girl that I was, I said yes, even though I would be bunking up with dad in fabulous Las Vegas for four days. He tried to convince me the commercial real estate atmosphere was glamorous and that he could see me being a part of it. But, I would just shrug it off. I never thought too much about it until I got a taste of it at the ICSC Convention.
When I first arrived at the convention, we walked all the halls, me in my 3 inch heels and my dad in his loafers (beauty is pain). I was overwhelmed by all the extravagant booths and the massive number of people there. They all looked professional and put together— like they were on a mission, and, it turns out, they were. I was given the opportunity to shadow a St. Louis firm Grewe Inc. where I sat in on meetings and got a better understanding of how commercial real estate works. I guess you could say “Fathers know best”; he had finally shown me how fantastic ICSC and the global retail real estate world are.
This year after being selected to participate in a summer Fellowship at the ICSC in New York, I knew I had to go back to RECon. This May, I had a better understanding of the organization and what they contribute to the retail real estate field. While at the meeting, I was given the opportunity to attend the ICSC Foundation Gala at the Bellagio Hotel, at a table donated by Developers Diversified. I was seated next to other students who were being honored by ICSC. The dinner was beautiful and the night was a wonderful experience where I made several great contacts and met numerous influential people in the business. I’ve learned through being a part of ICSC that networking is paramount to finding jobs and making deals. But, for those of us in college, it’s not so easy.
The next morning, I attended the “Breakfast for Global Delegates,” where I sat in between one person from Japan and another from Russia. I always knew that ICSC was a global company, but I got to experience it hands on at this breakfast, with speakers representing three different countries, who explained their economies and the shopping center industry. ICSC is the glue that holds all the industry together, and I am so thankful that my Dad introduced me to this organization; being a student member, I’ve already met a lot of wonderful people, and my eyes have been opened to opportunities that await me after graduation.