In partnership with ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers), Stirling Properties’ team members have been actively involved in leading efforts to help create and maintain a pipeline of strong and diverse talent for the future of the commercial real estate industry. Two main areas of focus are centered on professional and academic development.
Next Generation is ICSC’s educational, networking, and mentoring program specifically designed for emerging retail real estate professionals who are seeking to develop and advance their careers and build relationships in the commercial real estate industry.
Townsend Underhill, Stirling Properties’ President of Development, is serving as the Southern Division Chairman for Next Generation—he is also Past Louisiana State Director for ICSC. Recently, his volunteer committee hosted the very first fundraising event for the Next Generation Fund of the ICSC Foundation during the ICSC Next Generation Conference in Toronto. More than $7,000 was raised to help support a professional education scholarship fund designed for up-and-coming professionals who are interested in progressing their skills in retail real estate.
Carly Plotkin, Sales & Leasing Executive with Stirling Properties, was awarded one of the first two scholarships from the Next Generation fund! Plotkin is also currently serving as the ICSC Next Generation State Chair for Louisiana and on the national Board for ICSC Next Generation.
“Stirling Properties is extremely proud of our work on this front. We are equally proud that one of our very own agents was awarded a professional development scholarship. No one is more deserving of this honor than Carly,” said Underhill. “Assisting new professionals in our industry to succeed—and even excel—in their careers is crucial for the future of our business. So we must be proactive in ensuring that we are not only attracting and retaining the brightest talent base available, but also equipping them with the tools they need to be prosperous.”
ICSC also supports numerous student academic programs, such as annual student membership opportunities, conference attendance, scholarships and experiential opportunities, as well as mentoring and job assistance.
Stirling Properties’ Vice President of Finance, Justin Landry, serves on the ICSC Foundation Talent & Education Committee, which focuses on identifying, attracting, and developing young people with interest in the retail real estate industry. The committee’s primary goal is to increase student engagement in ICSC, and focus on job placement within the industry.
Landry was selected to serve on the ICSC committee due to his background working with college-level students at LSU (Louisiana State University). He works as an instructor for the university teaching Finance 7720 (Commercial Real Estate Investing).
Over the past few years, Landry has been instrumental in introducing LSU students to academic scholarships and career placement opportunities, such as the ICSC Maurin-Ogden Foundation LSU Scholarship Award, funded by Jimmy Maurin and Roger Ogden, founders of Stirling Properties. Through the scholarship, students receive all-expense-paid attendance to ICSC RECon in Las Vegas, the world’s largest retail real estate convention. Each year, Stirling Properties hosts LSU Award Recipients at the conference, offering the students valuable exposure to industry leaders and potential employers.
Now, working with the ICSC Foundation Talent & Education Committee, future academic engagement strategies include developing and increasing student-focused events at major ICSC conferences; building relationships with universities and establishing/enhancing Real Estate Clubs; identifying and expanding educational opportunities such as internships and case competitions; and career placement programs such as career fairs and targeted recruitment sessions.
“This is an extraordinary opportunity for us to invest in the future of our industry, while also supporting local communities,” said Landry. “ICSC has been on the front lines leading this charge, and Stirling Properties is proud to be able to partner with them to advance their efforts. Collectively, we are developing strategies that will lead to job creation for students, economic growth for local communities, and talent retention within our industry. These are the next generation of executives and brokers that are going to lead our companies—it’s critical that we make them a priority.”