|By Michel Couillard, CRE®
2020 Chair | The Counselors of Real Estate
President and CEO | Busac Real Estate
Counselors of Real Estate are forward-thinking leaders who find opportunity when others see only challenges. We’re part of an organization whose culture of integrity, respect, selflessness, community, and trust has been a key differentiator since the group’s inception in 1953. Yet we recognize the importance of continually assessing the organization’s direction in response to a rapidly changing environment of both external and internal factors.
To this end, 2020 is particularly pivotal as The Counselors of Real Estate commences development of its sixth five-year strategic plan, once again with the guidance of an experienced outside facilitator. With strategic planning fundamental to the organization’s relevance to its membership and the real estate industry in general, our focus is on targeted objectives that are relevant, attainable, and measurable. To steer us, please plan on completing the comprehensive member survey which you’ll receive in the coming days. Your opinions are needed and valued. As futurist and filmmaker Joel Barker once said, “Vision without action is a dream.”
The Invitation Process and The Counselor Value Proposition
Membership development and recruitment are crucial to the health and vitality of the organization. During its first meeting in November, members of the 2020 CRE Strategic Planning Visioning Group discussed The Counselors’ current invitation process, culminating in the appointment of an invitation task force charged with exploring how we might further modernize the application process by utilizing new technologies, simplifying the application forms, and reviewing current membership qualifications.
Demographic shifts and how a new generation of leaders thinks about and participates in professional organizations are also a major focus of the visioning group. It’s projected that by 2025 the millennial generation will represent 75% of the nation’s workforce. Furthermore, current and potential members of most organizations are increasingly selective as to how they spend their dues dollars, as well as their time, and are seeking a meaningful return. As such, a second task force on the CRE Value Proposition will be succinctly defining why membership in The Counselors is relevant to your business and why it represents a valuable investment. Stay tuned.
Broadening our Membership Composition and Diversity
The Counselors of Real Estate’s member retention is currently ahead of last year’s strong renewal rate of 94%, with CREs now residing in 20 countries and U. S. territories. At the Annual Convention in Nashville, 18 new Counselors were welcomed from Italy, Canada, and the U.S. Specialties among the group include property tax management, valuation, portfolio planning, real estate arbitration and litigation, urban redevelopment, tenant advisory services, investment sales, and economic research.
To accommodate our growing global membership, the CRE European Chapter has added Prague-based staff to strengthen programming and participation throughout the continent, while planning is well underway for the International Conference June 10-12 in Prague at the Czech National Bank Congress Center. Our long-time representation at MIPIM continues March 10-13 in Cannes, France, highlighted by a special CRE-hosted luncheon on March 10 and numerous interviews with the international press. And look for more details soon on the formation of the CRE Asian Chapter based in Tokyo, as well as program specifics on The Counselors’ Annual Convention November 8-11 in Vancouver. Of course, we hope to see you May 3-5 at the CRE Midyear Meetings in Boston!
Lastly, in the spirit of believing that giving back is a prerequisite for going forward, I invite you to join a public service interest group to share information and collaborate on important initiatives such as affordable housing and disaster response.
As we continue to build the CRE brand through strategic alliances, speaking engagements, and media relations, it’s never lost on me that CRE membership is an honor. The Counselors of Real Estate is unique in its membership and purpose. As with any relationship, the more you give, the more you receive. I welcome your thoughts on how we can make this partnership a better and more rewarding experience for you and your Counselor colleagues. Thank you for your affiliation. •