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NAIOP SoCal Honors Hines’ Tom Lawless with Parker Award

Hines’ Tom Lawless was recognized as the 2018 John B Parker award winner by NAIOP SoCal, as part of the recent Young Professionals Group graduation ceremony. The organization honored the most recent 35 graduates of this award-winning YPG program.

Lawless was selected by his peers for outstanding contributions to the program, and for embodying the leadership traits demonstrated by industry icon John B Parker (formerly of Parker Properties who passed away in 2010). Hear what the award means, what his keys to success are, and what tools have furthered his career development in Connect Media’s latest 3 CRE Q&A.

Q: What does it mean to you to have received the John B Parker award from your NAIOP SoCal YPG peers?
It was an honor to participate in the YPG program this past year with a group of tremendously bright, ambitious, and kind future leaders. The YPG program offers a terrific opportunity to bond with a group of peers all facing similar career development questions. The YPG alumni, staff, and teachers have developed a best-in-class leadership development program, but as our class reflects on the experience, our most salient takeaway will be the community that we built. It was humbling to be selected by my accomplished fellow YPG’ers for an award in honor of John B Parker. Mr. Parker left an indelible legacy here in Orange County in the physical built environment and his personal legacy of community leadership. As we proceed on our career journeys, we hope to embrace the lessons from YPG, deepen our relationships with one another and the broader community, and follow the leadership example set out by those that came before us like John B Parker.

Q: What are your thoughts on what it takes to succeed today in real estate?
As an industry neophyte, I am not the one to dispense personal wisdom on success. YPG provided the opportunity to learn about success from one another and senior industry leaders. Lifetime learning is critical. Knowledge sharing in an inefficient market like real estate creates competitive advantage. Putting oneself out there to meet new people, grab lunches, or attend conferences builds a knowledge and network base that proves critical to making investment decisions.

During the program, many executives discussed pivotal career moments and the importance of taking calculated risks. As real estate professionals, one of our core competencies is to balance risk and reward. We should never get too comfortable in our current roles or in an investment decision. At this stage in our careers, we should say yes to challenging opportunities/projects. Diving headfirst into difficult assignments will help us grow and earn the respect of our leaders and teammates.

Some sage advice we also heard was to always balance initiative with judgement. We should tenaciously strive to push a deal/project forward and act without overanalyzing. However, we need to maintain humility and know when to raise our hands to ask for help. By displaying balanced judgment and strong initiative we can earn the respect of our leaders and peers to expand our careers.

Q: What are the tools that help in developing a career today?
Through the NAIOP YPG program, we had several opportunities to learn from senior leaders in the real estate industry. A common thread through those discussions was the importance of staying connected and learning from others. While entrepreneurialism and tenacity were important ingredients in each narrative, no person did it all alone. Developing a support network of partners that are willing to offer honest advice and critiques helps foster humility and incremental improvement. The network should also be diverse both across real estate disciplines (architects, lawyers, brokers, etc.) and industries. As relatively young professionals, it can be easy to put our heads down and focus on that next deal or promotion, but it is essential to get out of our respective bubbles and learn from others. Great leaders are not often lauded for their intellect, but rather their ability to collaborate with and lead others to create value. Industry groups like NAIOP, and leadership programs like YPG, offer tremendous opportunity to develop a network and skill-set for success in real estate.

Pictured above on right, Hines’ Tom Lawless, recipient of NAIOP SoCal YPG John B Parker Award with Talonvest Capital’s Tom Sherlock.

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About Dennis Kaiser

Dennis Kaiser is Vice President of Content and Public Relations for Connect Commercial Real Estate. Dennis is a communications leader with more than 30 years of experience including as a journalist and in corporate and agency marketing communications roles. He is responsible for Connect’s client content operations and is involved in a range of initiatives ranging from content strategy, message development, copywriting, media relations, social media and content marketing services. In his most recent corporate communications roles, he led a regional public relations effort across Southern California for CBRE, played a key marketing role on JLL’s national retail team, and was responsible for directing the global public relations effort at ValleyCrest, the nation’s largest commercial landscape services company. In addition to his vast commercial real estate experience, Dennis has worked on communications and launch strategies for a number of residential projects such as Disney’s Celebration in Florida, Ritter Ranch in Palmdale California (7,200 homes, 22,000 acres), WaterColor in Florida and PremierGarage in Phoenix. Dennis’s agency background included firms such as Idea Hall and Macy + Associates. He has earned an outstanding reputation with organization leaders as a trusted advisor, strategic program implementer, consensus builder and exceptional collaborator. Dennis has developed and managed national communications programs for Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, both public and private. He’s successfully worked with journalists across the globe representing clients involved in major-breaking news stories, product launches, media tours, and company news announcements. Dennis has been involved in a host of charitable and community organizations including the American Cancer Society, Easter Seals, BoyScouts, Chrysalis Foundation, Freedom For Life, HOLA, L.A.’s BEST, Reach Out and Read, Super Bowl Host Committee, and Thunderbirds Charities.

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