Get to Know...
"Having a professional mentor is so critical to early career success, and BOMA plays a big role in that."
Traci Devereaux has more than 20 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry. As a senior vice president of Management Services for Holt Lunsford Commercial, Devereaux works directly with clients to oversee a portfolio of properties in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas. She has served as the president of both BOMA/Fort Worth and Texas BOMA, and she is the current chair of BOMA International’s State and Local Government Affairs Committee.
How did you get your start in commercial real estate?
Like many of my colleagues, I stumbled into commercial real estate. While pursuing my MBA, I wanted to explore my career options, so I began working with a temp agency to get a better idea of what was out there. My very first assignment was as a receptionist with LaSalle Partners (now JLL). Every time I was assigned somewhere, I learned as much as I could about the different positions available there, and I became very interested in property management. When a longterm assignment opened up at LaSalle Partners, they requested me because of my previous time there. I took that assignment, and I’ve been in commercial real estate ever since.
I’m glad that BOMA and others in our industry are finding new ways to draw in young and emerging professionals, because many people don’t know these positions exist. I got very lucky with that first assignment.
How did you discover BOMA?
I began attending BOMA/Dallas lunch events early in my career, and my involvement slowly grew. I eventually had a supervisor who was really involved in BOMA and conveyed how important it was—she even made joining BOMA/Fort Worth one of my professional goals. She also encouraged me to take on a leadership position within BOMA. Having a professional mentor is so critical to early career success, and BOMA plays a big role in that. Over the years, I’ve benefitted greatly from my BOMA network, including through advice and support, professional connections and resources.
What makes BOMA advocacy effective?
We underestimate how powerful our individual voices are if we use them to speak to our lawmakers. The first time I went to Washington, D.C., and met with my elected officials through BOMA, I realized the power of grassroots advocacy. A single conversation can lead to real change. During BOMA’s National Issues Conference in February, hundreds of BOMA members had face-to-face meetings on Capitol Hill, and we’re going to see the benefits of those efforts for a long time. And, our advocacy efforts clearly demonstrate the value of BOMA to our building owners, who see the impact on their bottom line.
As chair of the State and Local Government Affairs Committee, what makes state and local advocacy so important for BOMA members?
Since becoming chair of the State and Local Government Affairs Committee in 2018, I’ve deeply enjoyed learning about the different issues affecting other commercial real estate markets and other BOMA local associations’ legislative strategies. There’s never a shortage of people willing to stand up and share their insight at State and Local Government Affairs Committee meetings. It’s that willingness to share our own experiences and lessons learned with each other that makes our work so valuable—and so effective.
There have been two big initiatives I’ve been involved in during my time with Texas BOMA. The first was a challenge to increasing state property taxes. After a six-year fight, we got a bill passed last year that was in our favor. The other initiative involved legislation about restricting firearms on private properties, including commercial office buildings, and I spoke at a hearing on behalf of Texas BOMA. It passed in our favor, and I was incredibly proud to have played a role in that process. Just like advocating on Capitol Hill, I have been very pleasantly surprised to discover how much of an impact a single person can have.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
As a child, I starred in a local children’s television show although it shall remain nameless! I thought I wanted to grow up to be an actress and that this was my big break. Of course, I ended up changing my mind about that, though I have found that my acting skills do sometimes come in handy in my current job.
This article was originally published in the March/April 2020 issue of BOMA Magazine.