Building  Owners  and  Managers  Association  International

Building Owners and Managers Association International

BOMA Local Association Executives Share Best Practices and Leadership Strategies

Representatives from 43 BOMA local associations across the U.S. and Canada gathered in Washington, D.C. in late October for the 20th annual BOMA Association Executive (BAE) Leadership Conference. Attendees networked, participated in small group discussions and heard from a wide array of speakers on everything from business continuity planning to association management platforms.

BAE Council Chair Melanie Schrul, executive director, BOMA/Fort Lauderdale and the Palm Beaches, gave the opening remarks, welcoming attendees to the conference and recognizing the BAEs and staff who helped produce the program. BOMA President Henry Chamberlain and Chair Boyd Zoccola presented the opening session, which focused on leadership, strategic initiatives and association governance tools. Zoccola opened the session by thanking BAEs for their commitment to BOMA. “You are vital for preparing our existing members for success and recruiting new members to the organization,” he remarked.

Chamberlain gave an overview of several key commercial real estate issues, including carried interest tax treatment, the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA), GSA budget shortfalls and base realignment and closure (BRAC) affecting the U.S. Armed Forces. Their presentation also touched on the challenges that associations face today—demographic changes, time and resource constraints-- and underscored the importance of showing members the return on their membership investment. Chamberlain also suggested that in the future, associations will have to explore non-traditional membership models.

BOMA International’s Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance, Administration and Information Technology Brian Green presented a session on business continuity to help prepare BAEs and their local associations for the unexpected. “Identify threats to your organizations and work to develop a plan to prevent and protect them,” explained Green. He added that the analysis stage—determining what the organization’s risks and vulnerabilities are—is the most important and most difficult part of the process.

Sessions on data security, iMIS membership database training and membership surveys leveraged the expertise of other BOMA International staff, while sessions on generating non-dues revenue, improving the member experience and member communications were presented by BAEs. The agenda also included a significant amount of time for break out discussions, allowing BAEs to pose questions and share ideas with their peers.

In one break out session, BAEs split up into groups according to the size of their organizations’ successes and challenges. For BOMA local associations with small staffs, the overwhelming challenge was time constraints and the many “hats” executives wear. Mid-sized associations cited challenges with balancing principal and associate member ratios, demonstrating the value of programming and effectively using social media to engage members. Large local associations discussed solutions to get members to events and involved in committees.

Successes were numerous and showcased the innovation and ingenuity of local association staff and their boards. Many attendees shared successful tactics for raising non-dues revenues, including dart tournaments, sponsorship opportunities and advertising. BOMA/Calgary created a young professional of the year award and developed a local mentorship program to encourage the next generation to join the industry. BOMA/Portland and BOMA/South Florida adapted the Foundations in Real Estate Management education program; instead of having one instructor teach the course, they divided the course among four different real estate companies, which has improved instruction, developed new teachers and created awareness for the program.

In all, it was a successful meeting for BOMA’s local association executives, who equipped themselves with new tools and resources to help them serve BOMA members all year long.