While CCIM Institute events, meetings, and courses have a family atmosphere, the gatherings also encouraged several like-minded men and women to marry.
“Having someone who understands what you're talking about and can bounce ideas off is very, very valuable,” BK Allen, CCIM, says. “You're better and continually grow if you have someone on the same level that you respect and can share your ideas with. You're not in a vacuum.”
It's even better if that someone shares your home, as married CCIMs can tell you. For example, Allen is married to Ryan Lorey, CCIM; they met while both were studying for their designation.
“It makes you understand what your spouse is doing in their chosen profession,” Lorey says. “I know I've found that very helpful - to have that sounding board, and someone who is both knowledgeable and caring about making a transaction go together. Hearing those ideas and thoughts can make a difference.”
Sharing Common Language
It's also good to have someone who speaks your language - literally. “If we didn't have the common language of a CCIM education, then talking about things like IRRs and discounted cash flow would be like talking Greek to someone else,” says Lou Nimkoff, CCIM, who was the Institute's treasurer in 2016.
Lou and his wife, Lee Nimkoff, CCIM, share offices in Winter Park, Fla., with Lou focusing on brokerage and Lee on property management.
However, “because of the way the business works, we don't spend a lot of time in the office since we're both off doing our own thing, getting our own tasks done,” Lee says. “It's actually kind of nice when we're both in the office to run things by each other, although a lot of times that also happens at home.”
Both have CPM designations as well and, Lou says, “having both the management and investment analysis sides really helps.”
Changing Their Lives
Cynthia Shelton, CCIM, was in the real estate business before her husband, Mike, entered the profession. When they were living in Washington state, she got her real estate license and started selling residential real estate.
Later, after they moved back to Tampa, Fla., Cynthia switched completely to commercial. She started taking CCIM courses in Washington, D.C., found that she “loved it,” and got her designation in 1986.
Although Mike was in another profession, he had always accompanied her to meetings. When he decided to get a real estate license, “he jumped into commercial real estate and also started taking CCIM classes, because he knew what the classes, connections, and designation had done for me in my career,” Cynthia says.
Mike got his designation in 2002, the same year Cynthia became CCIM Institute president. “My name is on his CCIM plaque,” she says.
While they have different practice areas - Cynthia does retail investment and Mike handles land sales - they often ask each other's advice and share experiences. Sometimes, though, the drawbacks are that business gets in the way of downtime for both of us, she adds.
“Sometimes if you're relaxing at home, you do want to say, 'OK, I just want to shut my brain off now,' ” Cynthia says.
Barbara and Phil Crane, of San Antonio, Texas, met through their CCIM work. They're both active at local and national levels, and Barbara will become CCIM Institute president in 2019.
She'll be the third woman to be president, and “if you look back at the other two women who also have been president, they also are married to CCIMs.” The other two are Allen and Cynthia Shelton.
That's not a coincidence, Barbara believes. “It's important for someone in that role to have a spouse who understands what it means to be a CCIM, and what it means to be that involved on the national level,” she says. “You need to have someone who understands it, and is OK with the travel and the volunteer time that's required.”
And Barbara, who's a CCIM instructor, is happy to point out the organization's role in meeting her husband as well. “I tell my students it truly is the ultimate networking - not just for business opportunities - but also lifelong friendships and wonderful marriage relationships,” she says.