TEN Takeaways from Becky Hanner, BOMA Fellows Chair and Principal at Commercial Asset Services
ICYMI: HILO’s David Abrams hosted Becky Hanner, BOMA Fellows Chair and Principal at Commercial Asset Services, to chat about the customization of tenant amenities and ROI. Here are some of our takeaways:
Wear different hats
Becky is a hard worker, having a strong background in accounting (similar to HILO’s own CEO & Co-Founder David Abrams) moving to a property development role with a “country boy from Virginia”. Becky describes her experience in property management with a small company as being very multi-faceted, citing involvement in accounting, development, design, construction, leasing. “Experiences I never would have had if I was with a larger company.”
Build a strong foundation
Looking back at her experience with a national REIT, Becky reflects on her time handling property in several states fondly, remembering it as a fantastic experience to work with great mentors. She tells David, “it’s been great because I just feel like everything that you learn from one experience to another helps make up that fabric that leads you into who you are today, and you remember it. I’ve had a very varied background, which I wouldn’t trade for anything.”
Learn from your peers
When Becky was a property manager with a small local developer, she became aware of industry organizations and how valuable they could be to her learning. Becky was approached by BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association) to start the Raleigh-Durham chapter, and attributes the group to helping to learn leadership skills, make connections and ultimately build foundational skills in the Real Estate industry. “These are things that you may not otherwise have an opportunity to experience. And you really take that with you to your next job.”
Never turn down an opportunity
David asked Becky what she attributes her success to, and she shares some valuable advice for anyone reading or listening to the episode: Never turn down an opportunity. She says, “It’s just a situation where if somebody asks you to do something, it’s not a situation of ‘gee, that’s just more work.’ It’s like, ‘let me just try that out, and see what I could do, and see what I can do with it.’” Seizing the day is a mantra that we agree with! You never know what can come from an exciting new opportunity.
Look out for the little guy
While the commercial real estate landscape might be dominated by some of what Becky calls “the big boys, the institutional owners”, she shares that there are smaller owners that sometimes don’t know what their goals or objectives are for their properties. Becky shares that she loves working with these groups, citing “it’s just a different mindset when you’re working with some of the smaller companies. You can give them more of a boutique experience…I love the diversity, it’s just so much fun.” While a company might have a smaller portfolio, it doesn’t mean that company isn’t deserving of excellent service and strong guidance.
Escalate and pivot
Looking ahead to how we will define and deliver tenant experience in 2021, Becky talks about a renewed emphasis on health and wellness. She shares that two words they’ve used through the past year have been “escalate and pivot”, referring to an escalation of importance in Tenant Experience, and how companies need to pivot to be creative with how to offer them to their communities. “There may be more outdoor yoga classes, or boot camps that would compliment the fixed office space.”
The property manager’s role is to help the tenants find workers
David and Becky talk about how tech-enabled buildings that were once a differentiator are now an essential service tenants are looking for. Becky shares “it’s important for property managers to understand that if they don’t start implementing technology in their buildings, your building’s going to be left behind.” She cites how HR is being involved more in property selection when a company is looking for a new office space, “They’re looking at these things as part of their benefit package for people that would be a prospective employee that would come work for them.”
Communication is always key
COVID wreaked havoc on building operating expense reconciliations, and as we look ahead to a return-to-office, Becky is curious about what tenants are going to be expecting. She points out that expenses for cleaning may have been higher, but electricity costs were lower due to less people occupying the office. The delicate part is being fair to both the tenant and the landlord. “Communication is going to be key because there’s going to have to be a lot of conversations between tenants and owners right now while 2020 reconciliations are going out, and it’ll be the same next year.”
Make time for yourself
In our closing speed round, Becky shares a myriad of her hobbies, including mountain biking, hiking, golfing, yoga, sewing and quilting. She tells David about Barn Quilting, where “you paint the design of a quilt to put on the side of a barn. And that’s actually a lot of fun, too”. With so many of our day-to-day activities paused, it’s important to have hobbies and get outside for fresh air.
There’s no shortage of great TV
Like many of us, Becky has been watching some of the new great television shows that have been released during the last year. The Queen’s Gambit, The Crown, Schitt’s Creek and Homeland are a few of her favorites. We happen to like all of those shows too, so consider this a double recommendation.