The power of developing new ideas and mentoring young leaders is no more evident that at X Team Retail Advisors. The national retail alliance announced X Now, its multi-generational team, is growing its members in an effort to cultivate new retail leaders. The new regional X Now leaders are spread across the country and includes:
National leader, Evan Albert of MFI Realty in Baltimore, MD
Northeast, Andrew Thacker of S.L. Nusbaum in Richmond, VA
Southeast, Andrew Tanneberger of The Providence Group in Charlotte, NC
Midwest, Sean von Schwartz of Stokas Bieri in Detroit, MI
South Central, John Frazier of Baker Katz in Houston, TX
West, Kevin Trujillo of Velocity Retail Group in Phoenix, AZ and Joe Chichester of Faris Lee Investments in Irvine, CA
The X Now program was launched to ensure rising stars within the organization receive the tools and resources to develop and sustain a career in the retail real estate industry. Components of the program include mentorship, training, and fostering multi-generational teams, the backbone of longevity in commercial real estate.
“An organization’s growth and long-term success can often be traced to the priority and attention paid to its young leaders,” said X Team’s Jim Stokas of Stokas Bieri, who serves as a mentor to X Now members. “Mentorship benefits the company as well as the younger leaders who receive retail sector training and guidance that ultimately establishes a foundation for career success.”
A recent example of such collaboration within the X Team network involves Indianapolis, IN based Niessink Commercial. Connie Niessink, who serves as a mentor for X Now team members, relays how the firm referred an investment listing encompassing two retail centers in Indianapolis, IN to Faris Lee, an X Team affiliate in Southern California. As a result, Faris Lee found a buyer and a $9.3-million sale was executed for these properties.
The X Team is comprised of more than 350 retail real estate affiliate specialists in 40 markets across the U.S. that have come together in one dynamic and cohesive unit. The value of such an affiliation plays out in numerous ways, not the least of which are the opportunities to network, learn and expand beyond the backyards of members.
Niessink also shares how its 23-years of representing Panera Bread contributes to new opportunities for X Team affiliates. “We just completed our 50th transaction on behalf of Panera,” said Niessink. “Interestingly, this 50th deal was done in Louisville, KY with our X Team Partner, TRIO Commercial Property Group, which was the listing agent for the site. It is a perfect example of the power of collaboration across the X Team platform.”
That type of relationship-building effort to complete deals is at the forefront of X Now, too. Evan Albert, who joined the MFI Realty team in 2015, specializes in tenant and landlord representation throughout the Maryland, Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia markets. He has overseen the expansion of local, regional and national tenants, assisting them in site selection, analytics and deal negotiation. Albert has been in the industry for nearly six years but says he’s looking to build relationships with tenants and landlords through networking in the coming year as part of the X Now program.
Albert said one of the biggest challenges to establishing a foothold in the retail real estate industry for him so far is “building relationships with tenants and landlords who have been using other brokers for years. Retail real estate is an industry of networking, and we are all very social people, but it is difficult to convince someone who has been using broker x for the last 15 years to switch to myself.”
The value a program such as X Now brings to a career is measured in long-term success. “There is tremendous value in the program,” notes Albert. “First, it is a great networking opportunity. Second, these are the future leaders of their markets and by building relationships now, while we are relatively new to the business, allows us to build those decades long relationships that lead to business across our networks. Finally, we can compare ideas, tactics, and strategies to better hone our skills.”
But to tap into the power of X Now, young leaders must understand the support that is available and determine the resources that help them best meet their needs. “I would say the biggest area of support is in networking,” said Albert. “Anyone can trade paper and negotiate LOI’s but getting into the room with the head of real estate for xyz company can be a lot more difficult.”
An example that Albert says shows how a program like X Now brings value was when he needed a contact at a bank for a project in Virginia. Locating the right person was proving elusive through Internet searching or through his local contacts. “Ultimately, he discovered a fellow X Now member represented that bank in their market and was able to connect me to the right person.”
The X Now program equips rising stars within the X Team platform with exactly what they need to build a career in retail real estate. The innovative program is also a powerful tool to cultivate new retail leaders and grow the organization.