Networking in the shopping center industry is an absolutely critical component for career success. Our industry can feel both extremely large and extremely small at the same time – even in a crowd of 37,000 people at RECon, you’re likely not more than one or two degrees of separation from any individual there. We operate in a field where a primary goal is to build as many bridges as you can, all while trying to burn none.
The individuals comprising the shopping center industry are visionaries, dealmakers, number crunchers, storytellers, data junkies and operational hounds. It’s a group with a reputation for being very smart, talented, fast-paced, generous, and thoughtful. Take advantage of every networking opportunity as you never know who you will meet next and what influence they may have on your career (near or short term) as well as your personal life. Many life-long friendships emerge from industry connections.
TRADE ORGANIZATIONS: Here’s a list of notable trade organizations to consider joining or at least attending their sponsored events.
- ICSC, International Council for Shopping Centers
- Next Gen, ICSC’s Next Generation
- CREW Atlanta, Commercial Real Estate Women, Atlanta
- CREW, CREW Network
- REGA, Real Estate Group of Atlanta
- YARA, Young Atlanta Retail Alliance
- ULI, Urban Land Institute
- Council of Quality Growth
EVENTS: These organizations host local, topical events across the country.
- Chambers of Commerce: Local Chambers of Commerce typically host monthly events, which can be beneficial for meeting community leaders and small business owners.
LINKEDIN: Go onto LinkedIn, identify someone in the industry (connect with them if you are not already) and look at the groups they belong to & join those as well.
PERSONAL MEETINGS: Reach out to a “mover & shaker” in the industry and invite them out to breakfast or lunch and ask them who you should meet within the industry. Take your resume and have specific questions already prepared. Leaders in the shopping center industry nearly always got to where they are because of a mentor or key figure in their career development. More often than not, they want to pay that forward to the next generation so don’t be shy!