Magazine article Journal of Property Management

CONNECTING OUR COMMUNITY: IREM Chapters Encourage and Unite Members on Many Levels

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

CONNECTING OUR COMMUNITY: IREM Chapters Encourage and Unite Members on Many Levels

Article excerpt

AS IREM CELEBRATES ITS 75TH ANNIVERSARY AS AN INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION SERVING PROPERTY AND REAL ESTATE MANAGERS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, IT IS IMPORTANT TO TAKE A LOOK AT THE ROLE ITS 80 U.S. AND EIGHT INTERNATIONAL CHAPTERS HAVE PLAYED IN ITS SUCCESS. What is clear is that across the globe, IREM chapters have provided IREM Members a supportive network in which to learn from peers as well as partake in educational seminars, leadership training, volunteer opportunities and much more.

Rise of the Chapters

From the earliest days, IREM leaders realized the importance of strong ties between the IREM headquarters in Chicago and individual members living in cities large and small across the country. Even before the first chapter formed, Regional Vice Presidents (RVPs) were appointed and charged with growing their particular region of the United States. In time, these leaders worked hand in hand with chapter presidents to create and maintain steady communication with the national headquarters; this role of the RVPs' oversight and connection with the chapters in their designated IREM region continues to this day.

Through the years, IREM chapters began for a variety of reasons. In some cases, IREM Members within a local area were great enough in number to create a new chapter that would be closer to their businesses than any other, thereby providing incentives for others to join and creating opportunities for these local members to connect with IREM on a national level. In other cases, especially on the international level, the process has come about more slowly and carefully, often with market assessments conducted by IREM Members and leaders in a particular country before establishing an IREM hold in the area. (Refer to "Across the Borders," on p. 72 to read about the Institute's expansion into international markets).

From the 1930s to today, IREM at the national and chapter levels has retained a steady and continuous growth, despite all the major challenges the real estate market has had to weather both domestically and internationally-everything from the Great Depression, World War II, the Baby Boom, political strife, oil crises-to, more recently, terrorism and natural disasters. This steady growth often came in response to the need for more professional management within growing cities as more office buildings, retail options and residential choices came online with the growing economies and globalization, but also came in response to owners seeking real estate managers who could provide better performing properties.

Strength Through Support

Having demonstrated its resilience to challenges through the years, by the late 1980s and early 1990s, IREM had over 75 of its 80 chapters firmly established and began to realize that more than the addition of new chapters, support of its current chapters would be necessary to keep the organization strong on a national level. The Institute began to evaluate its role with the chapters around the world and since has created a number of programs-under the guidance of work groups and task forces to be in tune with the needs of members at their local chapters.

Today, communication between chapters and IREM headquarters takes place frequently and through every possible way-at national meetings and regional leadership conferences, the IREM Web site, staff-to-chapter Web conferencing calls as well as direct phone and e-mail communication with IREM staff dedicated to chapter relations at headquarters. Institute leaders also regularly make chapter visits to see face-to-face the individuals who contribute to IREM on the local level and who may have potential to serve IREM on a national level. These are visits IREM leaders look forward to.

"It's all about the people-the members and volunteers we serve," said Pamela Monroe, CPM®, IREM president-elect. "It is that personal one-on-one contact that connects us with our constituency. It allows us to personally hear their concerns at the chapter level, celebrate their victories and take action when necessary. …

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