CCIM 50th Anniversary CCIM Feature

Covering More Bases

CCIM Institute branched out to recruit new designees beyond brokers during the 1980s and 1990s.

The 1980s and 1990s were decades of growth and expansion for CCIM designees and members. Through the years, this second generation of CCIM designees has molded the Institute, but also focused on mentoring the next generations for leadership positions. 

“I have a passion for my pin - giving back but also for learning,” says Barbara Ann Monahan, CCIM, who has served on the Board of Directors and many national committees since 1989. “CCIMs understand that it is more than a pin and more than a designation. It's a people network for building relationships.”

Through these two pivotal decades, CCIM Institute attracted members such as Byron Smith Sr., CCIM, who had trained as an attorney and attended business school in finance; Joseph Fisher, CCIM, who owned a securities company and began selling real estate; and Ron Myles, CCIM, who had been an accountant for Arthur Andersen. Smith, Fisher, and Myles not only earned their designations, all three became CCIM instructors. Myles and Fisher also became presidents of the Institute.


“Bob Ward was my mentor - working with him deepened my curiosity,” says Fisher, owner and president of Fisher Investment Real Estate in Indianapolis. “I admired and have tried to emulate his ability to engage students in the classroom and bring them along in their knowledge of the curriculum.”

CCIMs were impressive, well-trained, sharp commercial real estate professionals, with a street-wise approach, according to Smith. “CCIM training showed me different ways to look at problems,” says Smith, owner of Metropolitan Realty Group in Vienna, Va.

On the other hand, Myles left accounting and went to work in 1972 for a family business in the commercial real estate industry. Over five years, he took five CCIM courses once a year in Denver. “I had an 18-month stint without income,” says Myles, owner and broker of Myles Enterprises in Denver. “Finally, my practice came together. Later, I was part of a consortium that owned and developed the Copper Mountain Ski Resort.”

Smashing the Ceiling

As CCIM Institute worked to broaden its membership base, more women became involved. An attorney recommended BK Allen, CCIM, take CCIM courses in the late 1970s, because she was relatively new to the industry. She took all the CCIM courses in a year and earned the designation in 18 months. “I owed the designation qualifying deals to what the courses taught me,” says Allen, who earned the pin in 1980.

Always an advocate for moving faster and becoming nimbler, Allen shattered the Institute's glass ceiling in 1996, becoming the first woman president of the Institute. “I didn't consciously set out to break the glass ceiling,” she says. “But I never thought that I couldn't do it either. I had my boxing gloves on that whole set of meetings in 1993 when I was a candidate for the first vice president, and I was there with all my plans spelled out.”

Her candidacy initially provoked backlash from the Institute's old guard. But Allen had strong supporters, too, such as D. Jeffrey Lenn, Ph.D, CCIM, Robert Behrens, CCIM, and Bob Rosenberg, CCIM, who helped her prevail. Her presidency led to more women becoming designated and moving up the ranks of CCIM leadership.

“I continue to encourage more women to get into the commercial real estate industry and earn the designation; commercial real estate is a good profession for women,” says Allen, owner and president of BK Allen Real Estate LLC in Potomac Falls, Va.

The 1980s and 1990s broadened the range of commercial real estate professionals who earned the pin. Through the decades' turbulence and prosperity, CCIM Institute grew and embraced more diverse members, including women. 

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Sara S. Patterson

Sara S. Patterson is former executive editor of Commercial Investment Real Estate.

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