Innovation and Inside Voices with Andie Edmonds, CCIM
Andie Edmonds, CCIM, found herself instantly attracted to commercial real estate after realizing she could combine her passion for financial analysis and real estate. She is a champion of transparent deal development and open-source technologies in commercial real estate. Andie is the former President of the OR/SW Washington CCIM Chapter, has been involved in the CCIM Institute Mentor program, is a graduate of the JWL Leadership Academy, and serves on the Board of Directors for The CCIM Institute, The CCIM Foundation and The CCIM Technologies.
“Be Curious, Not Judgmental.” – Walt Whitman (as refreshed by Ted Lasso)
Andie Edmonds, CCIM, has been a trailblazer in the commercial real estate space for several years and earned her CCIM Designation in 2011. She is the former President of the OR/SW Washinton CCIM Chapter where she served for two non-consecutive years in both 2017 and 2020, served as the Member Services PL (2021) under President Tim Blair, served as the Regional Vice President of The CCIM Institute’s Region 1 in 2019, and chaired the 2018 PAG that created The CCIM Institute's Diversity Equity & Inclusion subcommittee structure.
Andie continues to be a leader in the commercial real estate industry and serves on the Board of Directors for The CCIM Institute, The CCIM Foundation and The CCIM Technologies and as the Chair of The CCIM Institute Education Committee.
1. How did you find yourself in the commercial real estate space/how did you hear about The CCIM Institute?
Out of college, my original career was in finance – originally in banking and then as a stockbroker. Eventually, my husband and I started a family and I decided to stay home for a while. During that time, I renovated houses and developed a passion for real estate as an investment. About 10 years later, when our youngest was going into kindergarten (she’s now a sophomore in college!), I started looking at new career opportunities...I was ready for some regular adult interaction!
As I thought about how to blend my passion for financial analysis and real estate, commercial real estate became an instant attraction. I connected with a friend who owned a commercial real estate brokerage in my town, and he talked to me about the ins and outs of the business. I knew I had found my calling. He agreed to hire me on one condition...that I pursue the CCIM designation. He told me I would set myself apart once I achieved it, and he was right!
2. What does your CCIM Designation mean to you?
For me, the CCIM Designation represents rigor and credibility. Once achieved, it represents a commitment to being...
- Educated on both analytical and critical thinking applications of commercial real estate
- Involved in networking to maintain access to current and relevant information
- Skilled in using beneficial technologies
- The best commercial real estate professional for my clients
3. How did you hear about the JWL program at The CCIM Institute?
I received an email from The CCIM Institute, the year I was President-Elect for the Oregon/SW Washington chapter and wondered if it might help me improve my leadership skills during my year as President. I asked some people in leadership positions at the time for their thoughts and I was surprised to find that all of them had been a part of JWL! I figured there must be something to the program, so I made the investment, and the return on investment has been tremendous.
4. What did you hope to gain from the JWL Program? / What did you learn?
I was not sure what to expect, but I was hoping I would gain skills in the practice of organizational leadership. I realized when the program was over, that I set a very low benchmark! I did learn skills that helped me be an effective President, but I also improved my skills as a “player/coach” of my own brokerage, experienced the power of networking nationally, learned how to capitalize on my strength, and most importantly, made some incredibly good friends!
One of my favorite parts of the JWL experience was the project. It was a great learning experience in a couple of ways:
#1. Collaboration: Brokers tend to operate as lone cowgirls (or cowboys!) and want to do things without the help (which often feels like interference) of others. However, the JWL projects cannot be done (well), by a one-person team. Understanding each contributor’s strengths and then utilizing those skills to optimize the project deliverable was a great opportunity to develop key leadership attributes like listening, delegation, and diplomacy.
#2. Knowledge. Our project required us to go deep into an area that would benefit from research and/or data that we did not have the expertise to accumulate. We were fortunate to have access to several members of our Chicago team, which, of course, helped us get the information we needed to create a relevant report. However, as importantly, we got to see what it is, The CCIM Institute staff members do on a day-to-day basis, which gave all of us are tremendous appreciation for the work it takes to run a 13,000-member organization. It was a great reminder that there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes, not just at The CCIM Institute but in life!
5. What does being a mentor and a leader mean to you?
Very few people find success (whatever your definition) without having at least one person in their life providing some sort of insight or guidance based on their experiences. I feel very fortunate to have had several mentors over the years as my career has grown and changed. I believe their influence enabled me to achieve my definition of success. When I consider the gratitude I have for those individuals, I cannot imagine not participating when someone is looking for a mentor...providing the “payback” is good leadership!
6. Where do you find your inspiration? (On being a mentor/leader)
I mentioned that I have had several mentors and good leaders throughout my career, but there are two that have stood out, and they inspire me. One was particularly good at telling me what I needed to hear, not what I wanted to hear, with grace and kindness. He reminds me that being a good mentor is not about inflating someone’s ego. Another standout mentor was excellent at insisting I be myself...to stop trying to chase or emulate someone else’s business plan. She helped me realize that I cannot be all things to all people, so focus on being the best version of myself to those who need my skill set...this was a game changer for me.
7. What would you consider to be your biggest strength? (As a mentor/CCIM/leader)
In the last couple of years, I find myself motivated by a Walt Whitman quote, made even more famous by the loveable Ted Lasso... “Be Curious, Not Judgmental.” Putting this into practice is not easy, but the more I do it, the more I realize all the skills required to execute the practice are tremendous mentoring and leadership skills. I have found that to “be curious, and not judgmental” requires:
- Being approachable
- Asking good questions
- Active listening
- Reading body language
Embracing this quote and bringing these skills to my mentoring and leadership roles are a strength I hope to continue to improve!
One of the ways I have really enjoyed being involved with CCIM Institute is by participating on PAGs - Presidential Advisory Groups. They are an excellent opportunity to do a deep dive into an important issue that has a notable impact on the commercial real estate industry, and by extension, The CCIM Institute. I have been fortunate enough to sit on four PAGs, but President David Wilson asked me to Chair the PAG on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, which became the foundation for the DE & I Subcommittee. Like the JWL project, it was an excellent opportunity to lead a small group and further strengthen my knowledge about CCIM Institute.
8. What do you hope to pass on to your future mentees? (Advice, strategies, how to get involved with The CCIM Institute)
Three things come to mind:
- Regardless of your career, if you are working in an industry/sector that you are passionate about, it gives rise to happiness, and the outcome of happiness is success (not the other way around). In other words, do what you love!
- When you are in any sales role, being involved in industry-related organizations is critical because it is an easy way to develop a network. In our industry, we obviously want to get to know the buyers and sellers of commercial real estate, but we also need to know other brokers and CRE professionals to help us get our deals done. Cultivating and caring for that network is my “secret sauce”.
- The easiest way to get involved with The CCIM Institute (or any organization for that matter), is to show up consistently. The adage that people collaborate with people they know, like, and trust applies here...if you are attending meetings/events (locally or nationally) other members get to know you and realize they can count on you to help, participate, etc. When you meet someone like that, you want them to stay engaged, so they get asked to participate on committees, PAGs, Task Forces, etc.
9. Your biggest piece of advice you would give to CCIM Designees interested in becoming mentors?
Do it! I was nervous about doing it the first time...do I really have anything to offer, do I have the time, what if they ask me something I don’t know the answer to, etc., but now that I’ve done it a couple times, I really think I get more out of it than the mentee! I get energized by their enthusiasm, I am reminded to keep learning, and I am encouraged about the future leaders of our industry!
We'd like to take a moment and thank Andie Edmonds, CCIM, for taking the time to answer our questions and provide valuable feedback for our readers.
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