CCIM Feature

CCIM Spotlight: Brand New Start

A CCIM helps down-on-their-luck parents find careers in real estate management.

When Lauri L. Greenblatt, CCIM, began her career as a property manager, she sometimes faced the unpleasant choice of evicting single-parent tenants who had fallen behind on their rent. Realizing how difficult it was for these tenants to find housing in a heated market such as San Diego, she responded by co-founding the REStart Program in 1998, an all-volunteer organization that helps disadvantaged single parents train to become residential managers, providing them with both housing and employment. "We help them reclaim their lives by giving them a new start in real estate," says Greenblatt, now president of Promus Management in San Diego.

Armed with her CCIM knowledge to help educate the students, Greenblatt and her partners use their commercial real estate expertise to guide students through an intense 10-week business training program. The students then are placed in on-site internships and eventually work with an employment coach to help with their job search. Most students go on to be successful as residential managers and most of them also gain self-confidence, Greenblatt says.

After being director of asset management at Insignia/EJG for five years, Greenblatt started her own real estate company with a partner in July 2001. Used to working at big companies, she found a huge culture shock going out on her own, but her CCIM training proved helpful. "I took what I already knew and crystallized it," she says. In particular, Greenblatt found CCIM resources handy. She used STDBonline to put together business plans for her clients when she no longer had access to the resources of a big company.

Currently, REStart and her own business life are starting to come together. Recently Greenblatt worked with one of her first students on a large class A business park in San Diego's Sorrento Mesa area. She also finds that her clients appreciate the fact that she uses her expertise for charity. Many of her clients are private investors who also are involved in charity programs.

Greenblatt feels that CCIM training helped to round her out as an individual and she has used the institute's tools to help her expand both her business and the REStart Program. She has assisted in developing REStart Programs in Orange County, Calif., northern California, and Michigan. She hopes to involve more of the CCIM community and start programs in other locations as well.

Greenblatt enjoys giving back to the community and has prompted other members of the San Diego real estate community to get involved with REStart by donating business clothes to students so they can dress professionally for their interviews. Even though she acknowledges many differences, Greenblatt feels a commonality with the students of the REStart Program. "We all have certain issues in our lives that we need to respond to," she says. "No matter where you are in your career, some days are tougher than others, but you have to get up, get dressed, and keep going."

Stephanie Bell

“I went through the [recession in the] 1980s and purposely set out a market plan that would not have the boom-and-bust [nature] that comes with real estate cycles.” — Joe W. Milkes, CCIM, Milkes Realty Valuation, Dallas“We were anticipating a slowdown in the market and wanted to develop an avenue of business that would create a steady stream of income.” — Yvonne Jones, CCIM, CPM, Zifkin Realty Management LLC, Chicago“I help struggling companies rethink their business models, which includes determining the most profitable use of their real estate.” — Audie Cashion, CCIM, Alpha World Properties LLC, High Point, N.C.Stephanie Bell is associate editor of Commercial Investment Real Estate.

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