As a long-time mentor, Lloyd Berry, CCIM, understands how to use his leadership skills to guide a strong team. He ensures the teams have the resources they need to succeed, while simultaneously serving as a coach and mentor to improve each team members' success.
Berry credits his success in becoming an effective leader in commercial real estate to his CCIM designation training. “When I look at CCIM Institute, it's clear that it delivers an education and methodology for how to construct a deal,” says Berry, senior vice president of Real Estate Management Services at Colliers International in Chicago. “CCIM's training has had the most significant impact on my commercial career. There is no other organization that so adeptly helps commercial real estate professionals to cultivate the necessary skill sets, obtain practical knowledge, and apply that knowledge to the benefit of their careers.
Berry has been an active volunteer for CCIM Institute, as well as a past president of the Illinois CCIM Chapter. One of his proudest moments with the organization was becoming a founding member of the John Keepper Society, named after the founding president of the Illinois CCIM Chapter. The Society created the John Keepper Scholarship, which provides financial assistance to a University of Illinois Rho Epsilon Society member in pursuit of the CCIM designation. Berry talked to Commercial Investment Real Estate about his experiences and insights.
CIRE: How did you get your start in the commercial real estate profession?
Berry: I started when I was young. My dad and his partners owned student housing property at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, Ill. We did maintenance work projects, while helping to manage the property. That was my introduction, and those experiences resonated with me. I began college at the University of Illinois, then decided to transfer to Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where I finished my bachelor's degree in real estate and finance.
CIRE: What insights have you gained during your career?
Berry: Cultivating relationships is the key to everything we do in life. This applies to marriage, parenting, and working in a professional business environment. And with these relationships, I now coach people to interact in person rather than behind email.
The simple act of picking up the phone or walking down to a colleague's office to solve problems is incredibly effective. I'll watch situations develop when the 10th version of an email has been circulated yet no one is working toward a solution. Suddenly, exclamation points and bold caps are appearing. That's generally when I pick up the phone and call one of these people and say, “The problem is not going to be solved via email.” Instead, schedule a meeting and sit face-to-face with the person. That way, you can figure out a solution.
CIRE: What advice do you have for millennials considering a career in commercial real estate?
Berry: For those who want a career in real estate, commercial real estate is a great place to start because they get a wide playing field and a broad vision of what the business is all about without having direct accountability. It is in that environment that they can see what it takes to nurture relationships, determine budgeting, provide financial reporting, and assist with construction management. They get to touch all these things without being necessarily responsible for them. These experiences help them to decide if it is a career path they want to pursue.
CIRE: Through your many years working in the commercial real estate industry, what advice do you have for being a successful leader and mentor?
Berry: A good friend of mine, Bob Six, chief operating officer at Zeller Realty Group in Chicago, suggested thinking about mentorships as a two-way street. Instead of a mentorship in which the experienced person was always giving to the inexperienced person with no expectation of getting anything back, Bob says, “How can you help me with technology? Or, how can you help me with social media?” So it becomes a more dynamic relationship. That approach is how I have adapted and modeled my mentorship plan.
CIRE: How has the CCIM designation helped you in your career path?
Berry: When you look at the key components of the CCIM program, it is education, networking, and the technology tools. But No. 1 is the education. CCIM training is a fantastic education, and I still review my materials when I think I need a refresher.
Second is the networking side of CCIM Institute. I have developed lasting relationships since becoming a CCIM designee. These relationships have been both friendships and business partnerships. Perhaps the crowning achievement of my CCIM relationship building efforts is meeting my wife Polly Berry, CCIM. I owe so many things to CCIM Institute, both personally and professionally.