In 2013, I was invited to teach my first course at the NRTA conference in Orlando. I had shared with my sister who worked for YUM Brands at the time that I was excited about the research and applied strategies in positive psychology that could contribute to increased success and overall productivity in the work place. She relayed my enthusiasm and experience to Sue Harrod who was serving on the NRTA Board. The Board had been exploring the possibility of adding more courses focused on leadership and individual professional development and invited me to teach my first course.

I was immediately struck by not only the professionalism of the organization but also with the friendliness of the Board, the Officers and with all of the attendees. I was welcomed into this professional organization with kindness and respect. I felt like I was a visitor to a foreign country as I was woefully unfamiliar with the retail leasing profession, and that first year—I learned a great deal about the many nuances of this professional field. I learned that this field is complex and demanding and that it is important to stay up-to-date with all of the information, policies, and procedures. I also learned that it is critical to be innovative and creative.

The NRTA provides both a thorough and comprehensive educational experience for professionals in the leasing field to increase their knowledge, competency, and understanding while also providing networking and social opportunities for individuals and businesses to share best practices and cutting-edge products in the field. The conference creates connection and promotes collaboration. I have been incredibly fortunate to attend the conference the last seven years in a row and to observe up close how valuable this professional development opportunity is for all levels of employees and leaders.

As someone who studies leadership, I view the NRTA and the people who make it up as class acts and leaders in their fields and encourage leasing professionals and corporate partners to get involved with this outstanding organization. Investing in the development of your employees and cultivating relationships contributes to the overall success and productivity of both individuals and organizations. I look forward to learning and connecting with you in Texas in 2020 at the NRTA national conference!

Guest Editorial by:

Jill Stratton, Ph.D.  “The Dean of Joy” at Washington University in St. Louis