A Select Group of Presidents Shares Advice

Content presented by NAIOP Maryland

Only four women have served as President of NAIOP Maryland since the Chapter’s founding in 1985, including the recently elected Kate Jordan of Lee & Associates| Maryland. The select group recently gathered in Columbia for a friendly and wide-ranging conversation designed to dole out helpful guidance as Jordan begins her two-year term. Amid the laughter and reminiscing, solid ideas emerged from the past leaders.

“It is important to remember that you cannot do everything and, like any good business, you will achieve success by surrounding yourself with good people, stating clear goals and empowering them to work independently,” stated Abby Glassberg of KLNB, who was the first female President of NAIOP Maryland. “Kate is recognized for her extreme passion about the industry and caring for others and she needs to apply those same traits, as I know she will, into her leadership.”

Cathy Ward, formerly with COPT and now working as a commercial real estate consultant, fondly remembers establishing the Penny Per Square Foot fund which powers the Chapter’s legislative activities, as well as hiring Tom Ballentine as the first full-time lobbyist and Vice President of Public Policy. “Both of those accomplishments were game changers in many ways, as NAIOP Maryland now had a dedicated presence in Annapolis to combat issues impacting the industry, as well as establishing the Chapter to speak with a unified voice.”

(Left to right) Abby Glassberg, Cathy Ward, Kate Jordan and Dianna Wilhelm

Dianna Wilhelm of Wilhelm Business Enterprises set a standard for her goal- and agenda-setting initiatives which ultimately rewarded NAIOP Maryland with its recognition as the “Chapter of the Year” by NAIOP Corporate. She stressed the importance of actively engaging all Board members to assume specific duties based on their individual area of expertise, which will result in the accomplishment of strategic goals.

All three past Presidents indicated that their careers were positively impacted, if not forever changed, following the completion of their terms.

“I took over the reins of the Chapter just after a terrible downturn in the economy which negatively impacted the real estate sector,” Glassberg said. “One major goal was to instill more pride and cohesiveness and we accomplished that by establishing the Awards of Excellence program. I guess that is part of my legacy. Serving as President definitively opened new doors for me with developers.”

“My tenure helped me grow as a leader and as an executive as I had to stay atop of every facet of the organization, including finances and the various committees, as well as trying to grow membership,” Ward added. “There were many senior executives of prominent organizations and real estate companies who were involved, so it was extremely important to lead the group in the right direction. Those critical skills transcended into my role at COPT.”

“My real estate and business relationships increased exponentially,” said Wilhelm. “Being president allowed me to meet and create friendships with many professionals and gain tremendous knowledge from their areas of expertise and career experiences.”

During the meeting, Jordan mostly listened and took copious notes.

“Abby, Cathy and Dianna are true role models for me and others, and each left an indelible mark on NAIOP Maryland,” Jordan said. “My conversations with them have further inspired me to make myself, my company and each NAIOP Maryland member proud of what we are about to accomplish over the next two years. They reminded me clearly that it will take a team effort to make this happen.”