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Relational Communication in Commercial Real Estate with Robin Webb, CCIM, and Soozi Jones Walker, CCIM

Robin Webb, CCIM, and Soozi Jones Walker, CCIM

Robin Webb, CCIM, is the Principal at Commercial America Properties based in Orlando, Florida. He is an investment broker with forty years of experience who spent over two decades with Prudential Florida and its successor, Coldwell Banker Commercial, as its managing member of Florida. A seven-year stint at NAI's Orlando brokerage affiliate followed. He became a CCIM candidate in 1982 and a CCIM Designee in 1984, and he has continuously served the Florida CCIM Chapter since. Webb has served his chapter as District President and Florida Chapter President. On the national front, Webb served as President of The CCIM Institute Technologies, President of The CCIM Institute Foundation, and Global President of the CCIM Institute in 2017.

Soozi Jones Walker, CCIM is the President and Broker at Commercial Executives Real Estate in Las Vegas, Nevada. She has forty years of experience in the commercial real estate industry and has worked with clients and on her behalf for years buying and selling land and investment properties. She has helped develop and lease office, medical, and industrial properties. In 1984, she began her CCIM Designation journey and knew that The CCIM Institute's program was the right move in her career. In 1988, Walker helped establish the Southern Nevada CCIM Chapter where she has served on each of the chapter’s committees and has served as the Southern Nevada CCIM Chapter President three separate times. She has chaired multiple committees at The CCIM Institute and currently sits on the Board of Directors.

Both Robin Webb, CCIM, and Soozi Jones Walker, CCIM, are highly respected CCIM Instructors. Their involvement with The CCIM Institute at both the chapter and national level has provided them with numerous opportunities to network where they met and ultimately married. They have a true passion for connecting with other commercial real estate professionals and being able to give back unlimited knowledge.


How did you get started in commercial real estate?

Robin: As Vice President of Operations and Marketing for a regional hotel firm for eight years, the travel wore me down. I left the firm to pursue a career that wouldn't require me to travel as extensively, so I bought a nightclub in Orlando and attended real estate school with the intention to sell hotels.

Soozi: One of my first jobs was working for the Irvine Company in Irvine, CA. The development of this incredible, planned community was designed, built, and managed by the property maintenance division of the company where I worked. I knew watching the high-rise office buildings under construction that I wanted to work on this side of the business. After moving to Las Vegas, I immediately attended real estate school and, after receiving my license, found that there were limited employment opportunities for women, so I began selling land. Many of my clients were referred by CPAs in Nevada and California, and this is when I first heard of The CCIM Institute and the CCIM Designation. The credibility I gained from CCIM education helped me gain respect in the commercial real estate industry. There were very few commercial brokerages back then, and I was one of only two females.


What influenced you to become a member of The CCIM Institute?

Robin: When I first entered the business, I knew a great deal about hotels but nothing about real estate. In response to my agent's recommendation, I became a CCIM Designee due to my strong belief in professional education. The CCIM Institute taught me the language of commercial real estate.

Soozi: The area I lived in at the time was small, and quality commercial real estate education in my field did not exist. I found what I needed in The CCIM Institute; networking with other professionals while sharing ideas and information to help grow my career. I wanted to find a way to give back, and being an active volunteer locally and nationally gave me an outlet.


How has being a CCIM Designee helped influence your career(s)?

Robin: My life and career have been shaped greatly by The CCIM Institute and being a CCIM Designee. It taught me investment real estate, reformed my circle of friends, and gave me a platform from which to develop my investment brokerage career.

Soozi: I agree with Robin, The CCIM Institute taught me how to be a commercial professional. From current trends to tried and true methods, my career is surrounded by its influence. Recognizing how the CCIM Designation enhanced my career, caused me to send my daughter, Bobbi Miracle, CCIM, through the program after she graduated from college. We then decided to go into business together.


How has being a CCIM Designee helped influence your careers from the standpoint of building connections?

Robin: The CCIM Institute has provided an environment where I have been able to do business, both send and receive trusted referrals and create life-long friendships. It is also where I met my bride.

Soozi: I like Robin’s answer! Most of my friends and colleagues are CCIMs, and they are the first people I look to when I do a transaction or have a question.


What led you to become a CCIM Instructor(s)?

Robin: The late Dr. Jeff Lynn, CCIM, our faculty adviser at the time, and Mac McClure, CCIM were very persuasive in their arguments on why I should apply. The thought of helping others earn the CCIM Designation meant so much to me that I couldn’t turn it down.

Soozi: From my very first class I knew that I wanted to become a CCIM instructor. I wanted to be just like them, the best of the best in commercial real estate! Knowing that I needed teaching experience to be considered, I spent over 10 years instructing students at a local, state, and national level to gain podium skills. In 2001, I received a call from Mac McClure, CCIM, who said, “We are going to audition for instructors, and I think we need to hire some “girls”. I auditioned with over seventy others and was excited to be accepted into the program.


Can you tell me your favorite part(s) about teaching courses for The CCIM Institute?

Robin: My favorite part about teaching is watching the light bulb come on! There is nothing more rewarding than watching a student struggle with a concept until he or she suddenly grasps it based on classroom teaching and experiences.

Soozi: I agree with Robin! Many of our students are looking at changing careers, and the process and language of the commercial real estate industry can be foreign. Watching the growth in such a short period of time is very rewarding.


What is your favorite way to teach a class and why? (online, in person, making recordings for future courses, etc.)

Robin: I much prefer in-person classroom teaching due to the opportunity to interact with students.

Soozi: I too love the in-person classroom format, although I am also certified, CDEI, to teach online as well. My classes are structured in a way that allows me to connect with my online students in an environment that comes as close as possible to being in an in-person classroom. The satisfaction gained comes from hearing from students about their success with the techniques learned in the program.


What is your favorite educational course offered through The CCIM Institute to teach and why?

Robin: CI 101. It is where we get to witness the greatest student realization and growth.

Soozi: It is impossible for me to pick. CI 101 is so eye opening, but CI 103 is where we demonstrate the effect the real estate has on the user. CI 103 helps our students understand how the lease terms differ from the user and landlord perspectives. The lease is the engine that drives investments.


What are some ways you keep yourself motivated as a commercial real estate professional while teaching education courses offered at The CCIM Institute?

Robin: Doing business successfully is just plain fun and very rewarding. Student energy and excitement are fabulous classroom motivators. We would never want to disappoint a student!

Soozi: Teaching as an instructor with The CCIM Institute makes me a better broker. It keeps me sharp in ways to analyze and explain transactions to my clients. I love sharing these experiences with the students and learning from their experiences too.


Can you speak about the different ways a commercial real estate professional can make connections through The CCIM Institute’s courses?

Robin: Networking opportunities through The CCIM Institute can be unlimited. You can show up to events to meet colleagues, get involved in a chapter or district, serve on a committee, socialize on CCIM Connect, visit a CCIM classroom, or simply look up key Designees on Find A CCIM. We all speak the same language and CCIM Designees like to work together.


What takeaways do you like to leave with your course attendees with? (when a class finishes)

Robin: We like to challenge students to take the next Designation Curriculum course or participate in the Robert L. Ward Center for Commercial Real Estate Studies experience, as well as push them to earn the CCIM Pin. We also encourage them to practice what they have learned to stay sharp in the commercial real estate industry.

Soozi: Many of our students have experienced similar career choices to ours. We support their decision to venture further into The CCIM Institute education program. It can be daunting as an adult to go back to school and admit to being confused by a concept. We are always here to assist.


Any takeaways you’d like to leave with our blog audience? Anything else you’d like to add?

Robin: The goal is to be a resource for others, and we hope that CCIM Designees and members view us in that light. Soozi and I are always ready for an email exchange or phone call to assist or help lead others. Our goal is to raise the integrity and standards of the commercial real estate industry within and outside of The CCIM Institute community. When all is said and done, we are commercial real estate brokers and investors; no more complicated than that.


We would like to take a moment and thank Robin Webb, CCIM, and Soozi Jones Walker, CCIM for taking the time to answer our questions and providing their insights on connections in the commercial real estate space.

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