Social Capital And Continuous Learning Are Modern Keys To CRE Career Success
Social capital and interpersonal skills are becoming increasingly important in a technology-saturated business world. Corporate real estate is far from exempt, and as jobs and job functions automate to a greater extent, networking and continuous learning helps CRE professionals future-proof their careers.
Ben Johnson, who serves as president of CoreNet Global’s U.K. chapter, is responsible for the strategic mission, vision and goals of the chapter in addition to its various activities designed to forge connections and promote knowledge-sharing through events and mentorship programs.
Bisnow: How has the corporate real estate industry changed since you started your presidency?
Johnson: In the last 10 months or so, probably not dramatically, but over the last few years it has changed significantly. The CRE world is as much about colleagues, experience, engagement and cost as it is about property.
Bisnow: What are some of the biggest challenges facing those in CRE today?
Johnson: We must adapt to constant change and have a breadth of knowledge that spans different disciplines. We work in an industry that is still quite illiquid in adapting to a rapidly changing business world and the demands of the companies we work in. Identifying, managing and delivering solutions that enable real estate to meet business demands is challenging and always evolving. CRE is an integral part of the strategic management of business operations, along with human resources, IT and finance. These functions are working collectively more.
Bisnow: Do you have any tips for young people entering the industry?
Johnson: Find a mentor, ideally externally or within your organisation, and leverage them, their skills and experience to help you develop. Remain flexible to change. Be prepared to learn new skills and leverage the skills of others. Develop a broad network of relationships, as this will help you personally and professionally, and get involved with CoreNet Young Leaders groups, of course.
Bisnow: How does CoreNet operate?
Johnson: Most of the roles in the U.K. chapter are filled by a fantastic team of volunteers. These volunteers all have day jobs, but they all share a passion to deliver great learning, development and networking opportunities to our members.
Bisnow: How does CoreNet Global U.K. support the industry?
Johnson: The mission of the U.K. chapter is to grow and develop our occupier community through continuous learning and sharing. We provide formal learning events run by the communities, and one of the biggest U.K. chapter events is One Big Day, our annual learning and network event attended by approximately 250 CRE members and nonmembers. This is a full day of insightful, thought-provoking and challenging presentation and debate from the real estate industry, in addition to speakers from outside the industry who can offer a different perspective. The last few years have seen these days predominantly focus on topics that are not exclusively real estate-focussed, but that can relate to or impact the CRE world. The aim is always to provide attendees with interesting and challenging debate, which isn’t exclusive to their day-to-day CRE world, but helps them develop and thrive in their day jobs and careers. We also host networking events with more of a social aspect.
Bisnow: What does the future of CRE look like?
Johnson: There is likely to be a blending of skills and experiences for those involved in CRE, both occupier end users and service providers. Knowledge of issues around HR, IT, finance, as well as brick-and-mortar is becoming more important. The newer generation getting involved is nontraditional and multifaceted in terms of background, skills and experience.
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