News from the Chicago Chapter

IREM Next-Gen CPM Leaders Program: A Fast-Track to Advancement



Last year, IREM launched Next-Gen CPM Leaders, an initiative designed to nurture young property managers with accelerated education and professional development that leads to earning the Certified Property Manager designation. Through the program, committed property managers under 40 can fast-track the CPM program in two years.

Next-Gen CPM Leaders is open exclusively to managers working at Accredited Management Organization firms. Lindsay N. Bonilla, a Property Manager with Draper and Kramer, was accepted into the debut cohort group. Lindsay is scheduled to complete education requirements for the CPM later this year and be recognized with fellow participants at the 2019 IREM Global Summit in San Francisco.

Currently, Lindsay is Property Manager at Burnham Pointe, a 298 unit mixed-use development in Chicago. She notes that her dynamic leadership and communication style is attributed to study of Early Childhood Education and Communicative Disorders at Northern Illinois University. In her free time, Lindsay enjoys football, travel and writing poetry.

Here, she shares thoughts on the Next-Gen CPM program and its contribution to her growth and advancement in the property management profession.

  1. What are some factors that prompted you to apply for the Next-Gen CPM Program?

I became aware of the Next-Gen CPM program through an IREM national newsletter. Professional development has always been a passion of mine and this program presented the perfect opportunity to continue that journey.

  1. The leadership at Draper and Kramer supported your initiative. How will earning the CPM benefit you and the company?

The CPM designation reflects an individual’s commitment to the highest standards of professionalism, ethics, and passion for the real estate industry.

Draper and Kramer has numerous CPMs, and working with many of these professionals day-to-day inspired me to achieve the same. Being part of a company that values its employees and is equally committed to our development has been incredibly motivating.

As a real estate professional early in my career, the CPM designation allows me to execute my knowledge and passion for real estate management with distinct credibility.

  1. Along with the fast-track education component, the program offers leadership development and networking opportunities.  Please share insight on how you've benefited in these areas.

This program created the opportunity to develop relationships with real estate professional across the country, specializing in all corners of the industry. As a multifamily property manager, it was fascinating to find common ground with professionals in the retail and industrial sectors. While our daily tasks may vary, it quickly became apparent that our roles truly center on providing quality space to tenants while achieving ownership goals.

As a millennial in the real estate industry, it can often be difficult to find the right engagement and networking avenues. In fact, I initially found the idea of becoming more involved with IREM rather daunting given the expertise and tenure of its members. I’m glad to say that I couldn’t have been more wrong; IREM members of all ages have been incredibly welcoming and supportive of the next-gen cohort.

  1. Has the knowledge you gained through course work been beneficial so far in your day-to-day responsibilities for the assets you're charged with managing?  Please share examples.

I think the biggest value I’ve seen thus far is understanding the “why” of real estate management. The CPM coursework has allowed me to see property management from a macro perspective; a view typically reserved for asset managers and owners. Put quite simply, I am now able to communicate more effectively and execute more efficiently because I see the big picture.

As a multifamily property manager now overseeing a mixed-use development, I frequently referenced my CPM course materials and IREM resources for commercial management.

  1. The residential property management industry continues to evolve and managers face challenges that didn't exist a decade ago. How will completing the Next Gen Program and earning the credential better prepare you for the challenges ahead?

 The real estate management profession is not an easy one and our daily challenges have only become more amplified given the legal and financial climate of today.

I think, in many ways, our biggest challenges come down to one thing: people. Recruiting, engaging and retaining the right people. Fostering positive relationships with tenants and vendors. Communicating effectively with owners. With these challenges, the more professional resources we have available, the better.

The Next-Gen program has truly been an unforgettable experience and I feel immeasurably more prepared to be an integral part of the future of real estate management.