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New Designee Stories

Intro Text
A glimpse into the experiences of two out of the 166 new Designees who were pinned in April 2024.


Members make a significant commitment in their pursuit of the CCIM Pin, which adds a special significance to completing this journey. Their dedication not only impacts them personally but also their families and colleagues. The path toward the Pin is filled with countless stories. The stories shared below offer just a glimpse into the experiences of two out of the 166 new Designees who were pinned in April 2024.

Robert Sherwood, CCIM

Can you share your journey toward achieving the Designation?

When I started my real estate career in December 2018, I dove into learning and networking.  I knew I was going to pursue my CCIM Designation, so I worked for the first year to start getting deals in my portfolio; then, I joined The CCIM Institute and the Central Texas CCIM Chapter in the fall of 2020.  I took my first Designation course, CI 101, in January 2021. I took a break and finished CI 102, CI 103, and CI 104, in consecutive months in 2023. I made the decision to take the exam in April 2024, and here I am!  

Take us back to when you learned you passed the exam. How did you feel?  

After leaving the exam room, I felt I had bombed the test. I had in my mind that I had a strategy of 4.5 minutes per question. I ended up ignoring that strategy and spent about 35 minutes on just one question! I panicked, leaving the room for about 5-10 minutes to gather myself, and then dove right back in. After the exam, I was informed that I passed by Hampton Friedman, CCIM, who is the chapter President. I was relieved but still wanted to see the test result posted in my profile. When it did, I was ecstatic; it was real. I accomplished one of my major goals.

How has your family supported your pursuit of the Designation? 

My family has been a strong support system throughout my journey to earning the Designation. Despite my busy schedule and course commitments, my kids have actively engaged in my journey, seizing every opportunity to learn from my experiences and courses. They have shown understanding and patience, even when I had to decline other activities or events due to my course schedule.

My daughter Macy was set to have a baby around the date of the Comprehensive Exam. Originally, her due date was set for April 17, but her doctor predicted an early delivery. I had already postponed my exam from the fall of 2023 to the spring of 2024, but I offered to wait another six months or, in the worst-case scenario, fly home on short notice from Nashville so I could be there for the baby's birth. However, Macy coordinated with her doctor to induce labor the day before I was due to leave, sparing me from stress during my time in preparing for and taking the exam in Nashville. I felt deeply touched by her understanding of the importance of my journey and her decision. I joined her at the hospital a day before leaving for Nashville, and the nurses kindly allowed me to stay beyond visitor hours until I had to leave to pack and catch an early morning flight.

How do you believe having the CCIM Designation sets members apart in commercial real estate?

Being a CCIM sets us apart by being able to look at opportunities for our clients with a view that can quickly clarify what makes a unreasonable versus reasonable ask in negotiations on a brokerage level. It also allows us to swiftly and thoroughly analyze opportunities and offer guidance on clients' feasibility for making a go or no-go decision.

Marina C. Mirolli, CCIM

What attracted you to commercial real estate and motivated you to pursue the CCIM Designation?

In 1984, my father began his career in Atlanta specializing in land brokerage, and in 1993, he founded his own company, North Georgia Land. I was just one year old at the time, and as my brother and I grew up, we asked what dad did for a living. He would casually tell us, “I sell dirt.” Little did I know what that truly meant.

Land is a unique asset class that often involves family dynamics, heritage, and legacy. We have facilitated land sales to developers across various asset classes, including residential, industrial, retail, mixed-use, multifamily, office, private and public schools, active adults, and shopping centers.

As I’ve watched my father serve landowners for 40 years and hold the CCIM Designation for 29 years, I’ve always admired how he cares for each client’s needs.

After five years of working in public relations and marketing, I felt the need for a change and dove headfirst into commercial real estate.

This is only the beginning for me, and I’m so proud to be wearing the CCIM Pin alongside my father!

Can you describe any notable moments or milestones while pursuing the Designation?

As a “thank you” at the end of each course, I often gifted my instructors a book I helped my father publish – “Top Dollar Dirt, 13 Proven Strategies to be a Wise Landowner.” In the book, my father shares the best land management practices and strategies for leveraging politics, utilities, density, and more to increase a property’s value. The key strategies are accompanied by detailed stories from his career.

This small gift often opened many conversations about the dreams some of my instructors had about working with their children. I learned about my teachers’ kids over and over, which added a personal layer to our professional relationship.

I was also asked to join the Georgia CCIM Chapter Board of Directors. The people I’ve met by being involved with my local chapter have been a great gift!

As always, I’m reminded that this business is about so much more than just a land transaction – it’s all about the relationships.

Take us back to when you learned you passed the exam. How did you feel? 

I was sitting on my friend’s back porch, anxiously refreshing my computer, hoping the score would appear. In a moment, there it was – 96%. I sat silently, looked around, and took three deep breaths as I wiggled my toes, wanting to solidify the moment. 

Naturally, my first call was to my father. When I shared my success, he responded with unwavering confidence, “I knew you would.” My mother was also on the line celebrating. 

My next call was to my husband. He witnessed the late nights studying, carrying me and our household throughout the journey. 

At the Pinning Ceremony, a pretty special guest was there to surprise you. Can you tell us the story? 

I was about to be pinned, when Katie Sentell, CCIM, the Georgia CCIM Chapter President said, "Marina, one of your instructors wanted to Pin you, but it's a surprise, so shut your eyes."

My mind was racing, and I immediately thought, I bet it’s Paul Aase, CCIM, my CI 101 instructor, or Bo Barron, CCIM, my CI 102 instructor. I opened my eyes and saw my dad standing there. My expression went from pure shock to pure joy. 

I felt like the luckiest person in the room. As cameras flashed around us, I kept hugging him. Dad's proud eyes and gentle smile spoke volumes. Holding the four-lettered CCIM Pin, he pinned it on my lapel.

After all, he has always been my favorite instructor. ■





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