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Memphis Metro CCIM Chapter Builds Strength Through Diversity

Memphis Metro CCIM Chapter

Considering the once-a-century nature of COVID-19's disruption, there's hardly a script for getting back to business as usual. Outside of the disruptions to daily life, commercial real estate has faced plenty of novel obstacles and disruptions. But if you are looking for a case study in how to build momentum coming out of the worst of the pandemic, you could do worse than looking at the Memphis Metro CCIM Chapter.

In 2022, as face-to-face meetings and in-person education activities approached something close to pre-COVID-19 levels, the Memphis Metro CCIM Chapter hit the ground running by attracting new members, expanding its calendar of events, and strengthening the professional networks that had been buffeted by myriad challenges in recent years.

“Our success as a chapter, post-COVID, had a lot to do with our emphasis on diversity,” says Curtis Braden, CCIM, the current Past-President who led the chapter in 2022. “Our goal was to promote and attract more diverse individuals to the chapter so it could look like and reflect our city as a whole.”

Such an initiative proved fruitful in Memphis, where 64.6 percent of the population is Black. With a membership hovering around 130 individuals before the pandemic, the Metro Memphis CCIM Chapter membership now tops 160, with current President Todd Harris, CCIM, keeping his foot on the gas.

“We're still growing in 2023,” he says. “And I'd like to aim for 300 members by the end of the year. If we fall short, we'll say we aimed for the moon and landed in the stars.”

The emphasis on diversity is personal for Harris. A participant in theCCIM Institute's Cultural Diversity Education Program, he experienced the benefits of an organization dedicated to opening up new avenues to underrepresented groups — something that has only motivated him more to provide opportunities for others.

“Receiving that support, I think its important to give back to the commercial real estate community,” he says. “All the funds I received in scholarships, I made it my priority to give that amount back to the chapter. That commitment to pay it forward is important — I want to give the next person a hand up and not a handout.”

Education also has been a pivotal tool of the chapter's continued success. In recruiting those active in the residential space, leadership was able to offer the Foundations for Success in Commercial Real Estate course to those who may be interested in exploring commercial opportunities but may not have the connections or knowledge to do so.

“Offering education like that, especially when it's taught by a former President of the CCIM Institute in Karl Landreneau, CCIM, how can you ask for more valuable information from an individual of that caliber?” Braden says.