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CCIM Spotlight: Spring 2024

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Since 2005, Katie Sentell, CCIM, has been a highly respected professional in the Atlanta commercial real estate market, renowned for her expertise in the sales and leasing of office properties.
Kate Sentell

With a dedication to providing top-notch client service, she has garnered recognition for her outstanding contributions to the industry. 


What led you to commercial real estate?

I guess you could say I fell into it. When I first moved to Atlanta, I was doing temp work and wound up at a small brokerage and management company that ultimately hired me as a general “Gal Friday,” which was fun because I was able to be involved in all aspects of the business. Commercial real estate seems to speak to both my nerdy, organized side and the part of me that loves architecture and a sense of place.

What is the most rewarding aspect of commercial real estate?

It is very satisfying to put your skills and knowledge to use to solve a client’s unique problem.

What are some challenges you face within the industry?

One of the biggest challenges I see currently is the increasing crossover from the residential side of the business. Not because I see it as a threat to market share, but because there isn’t a minimum standard for training and education. I think this is a real opportunity for The CCIM Institute and its education platform.

How did you learn about The CCIM Institute, and what led you to become a CCIM?

One of the principals of the first firm I worked for was a Designee, so I was aware of CCIM’s because of him. When I went on to work in marketing for First Industrial Realty Trust, our eventual Regional Manager, Kent Mason, CCIM, was involved with The Georgia CCIM Chapter, and we would attend their industrial panels. While there, I was able to take CI Intro (now Fundamentals) and then CI 101. In that CI 101 class, I sat next to a broker who had been a third-party agent for the team I supported, and I wound up helping him through the class a good bit. It wasn’t long after that I decided to get my real estate license.

You have had a significant journey from a real estate marketing manager, The Georgia CCIM Chapter Administrator, and you are now leading the chapter as President. Can you elaborate on that journey and what it takes to become a chapter President?

I accepted the chapter administrator position at a time when I thought my work options as a new mom were limited – work or don’t work. The Georgia CCIM chapter offered an opportunity to stay connected to my industry and prioritize my family while at the same time creating an amazing network of colleagues and friends. Pursuing the Designation gave me the skills and tools to be successful as a broker. Putting these things together gives me a unique perspective as Chapter president today.

What did you do prior to commercial real estate? How did you become a Chapter Administrator?

I’ve had a pretty wide career arc. Before moving to Atlanta when my husband relocated for his job, I had roles as an executive assistant, a toy salesman, and managed corporate events. In 2009, our first son was born, and I decided to leave First Industrial to be at home with him. A year later, Kent Mason, who was now Georgia CCIM President, needed to find a replacement for the Chapter Administrator who was moving out of state. A serendipitous conversation with his assistant landed me in front of the search committee interviewing for the position. One member of the search committee that hired me as Chapter Administrator was Jeff Pollock, CCIM, the 2013 Chapter President who had recently opened his own firm and needed some of my “GalFriday” skills. At the time, I wasn’t looking for one job, let alone two! I’ve been on Jeff’s team for almost 13 years now. That partnership has allowed me to evolve from a support and operations role into transactional brokerage.

Was there anyone who helped encourage/motivate you to get your CCIM Designation? How did this help propel you to the leader you are today?

I kind of had the whole chapter encouraging me. I mean this in the best possible way, but it was kind of hard to hide if you know what I mean. Jeff Pollock, CCIM is also a major factor in how I got to be where I am today.

What is your proudest career moment?

Earning my CCIM Designation.

How do you define leadership in your role and in daily life?

A famous quote by Arnold Glasow that goes, “A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.” Maybe it is because I am more comfortable behind the scenes, but this has always resonated with me.

Where do you find inspiration?

In others. Seeing how others take on challenges or find success is very inspirational.

I see that you studied Art History in college. Are there any concepts or practices from that discipline that can be applied to the real estate industry?

Perhaps that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In a commercialr eal estate context, that can be applied to the fact that each client or project has its own unique set of goals and objectives, and you have to incorporate that into your approach.

How has being a CCIM Designee enriched your life?

It gave me a community. As a broker, it is easy to feel a little siloed. Knowing there are thousands of people around the world that I automatically have something in common with and who would take my call is pretty amazing.

What advice would you give to anyone that may be thinking about becoming a volunteer leader?

Just do it. It may sound self-serving, but I get just as much in return as I give to The CCIM Institute. It is a great way to develop not just leadership skills, but also communication and collaboration skills. It also forces you to stretch and sometimes step out of your comfort zone. And you meet so many interesting people along the way.

Do you have any advice for real estate professionals looking to pursue a CCIM Designation?

Get engaged with your local chapter, of course! It can feel daunting working through the process, taking classes, and preparing your portfolio. Having a support system of not just Designees, but also other Candidates is invaluable. Over the years I have seen so many candidates from the same cohort forge close friendships.

What kind of legacy would you like to leave behind?

Hopefully, both my professional path and the relationships I’ve formed along the way speak of service. From the part-time assistant to the President, we can all serve one another. It’s what true friendship is made of.


Sentell achieved her CCIM Designation in 2020, solidifying her commitment to excellence and proficiency in commercial real estate. As a multi-year member of the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors Million Dollar Club, she has consistently demonstrated exceptional performance in the field.

In addition to her successful career, Sentell is actively involved in industry leadership. After spending 6 years as the Georgia CCIM Chapter’s Administrator, she became the President of the Georgia CCIM Chapter in 2024, further showcasing her dedication to advancing the profession and supporting fellow professionals in the field. With her wealth of experience, accolades, and leadership roles, Katie Sentell continues to make significant contributions to the commercial real estate sector in Atlanta and beyond.

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