Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Esprit De Corps

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Esprit De Corps

Article excerpt

IREM's new EVP/CEO shares his thoughts about leadership and vision for the future

The Institute welcomed Russell C. (Russ) Salzman as its new executive vice president and chief executive officer last fall. He recently spoke with the Journal about his personal management style and ideas for developing IREM's resources and guiding the association's growth.

JPM: What aspects of the job appealed to you when you considered accepting your new position?

Russ Salzman: The legacy of the association with its time-tested history coupled with the intense body of knowledge that I see, confirmed to me that the Institute is a capable, able organization. I felt I could truly make good contributions to this fine institution. Our volunteer leaders are passionate and committed to their work and they were compelling in sharing their commitment and made me want to be part of the team. Their support and trust in our professional staff was so clear to me that I knew I wanted to join this crew.

JPM: What issues will top your agenda during this first year?

Salzman: All associations, like living organisms, require nurturing, care, planning, fitness and monitoring. I promise I will tackle each of these responsibilities to keep us as fit, nimble and valued to our current and future members and to the industry as we possibly can be.

JPM: Who have you used as a model for your leadership style?

Salzman: That would start with my dad, who was my scoutmaster. Although I didn't know he was teaching it to me at the time, I learned as a young scout there are ways to influence colleagues and friends and to prepare for whatever journey, adventure or outing is ahead of you. I filled in the blanks with the appreciation and respect for all peoples' thoughts that my mom taught me. Those were the roots of my personal development. There's probably something about that Eagle Scout badge that taught me a lot mote than just how to cook, camp and hike. It taught me to be a citizen, a teammate and a leader.

Throughout my career I've been able to work with very top-line, successful people in many, many different industries and to be exposed to their gifted leadership skills. I found myself admiring those traits and practicing those behaviors that made sense to me as to what quality leaders are like. I consider myself a student of organization management and a practitioner of leadership.

JPM: A recent study of CEOs suggests that the ability to learn from experience is a characteristic of association executives who prosper during challenging times. You ran a very successful local organization. Did you have any experiences there you plan to translate on a broader scale while leading the Institute at the national and international levels?

Salzman: The conflicting competitive relationships on Chicago's Magnificent Mile were held secondary to our industry's possibilities and opportunities. I found it to be a critical skill to build trust among our members so that, competitive differences aside, collective interests would reign most important. What I plan to practice here will be the sense of building trust and partnerships in what is a competitive world and industry.

JPM: The Institute has a great variety of resources for members. Are there any of IREM's existing assets on which you hope to place a greater or renewed emphasis?

Salzman: The soon-to-be-complete rewrite of our courses and the continuous rewriting of our publications are noteworthy achievements. I see a refocused business planning model to expand our sales, offerings and participation throughout the country and world. …

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