Synergy can be defined as the increased effectiveness that results when two or more people or businesses work together. Or, as Aristotle purportedly said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” When I think of the word synergy, I think of the NRTA. The NRTA, through its annual conference, webinars, newsletters, etc., creates synergy for its members.

I first met Paul Kinney and Moe Laliberte in the early 90s. We were part of a group that met once or twice a year to discuss the challenges we faced in administering large portfolios of leases. Each of us had independently developed desktop auditing processes and procedures that resulted in significant savings for our companies. Those first get-togethers were very helpful as we shared our thoughts and ideas.

Then in 1996, Paul and Moe decided to take it to the next level. If a few folks from a half dozen companies could get together, share ideas and learn from the others’ experiences, what would happen if that resource was extended to dozens of companies and hundreds of professionals, all sharing ideas and learning from each other? I still recall learning things from other attendees at that first conference that helped my company increase its recoveries from desktop audits and which more than paid for the cost of my trip. Most of the attendees did not know each other, but we came together with a common bond. That bond is still very much alive as we regroup and prepare the educational program for the next conference.

The NRTA is the primary educational resource for the commercial real estate lease management profession. Hundreds of professionals come together each year to share existing best practices, and to create new ones. In addition, the annual conference presents a tremendous networking opportunity for those in attendance. Personally, my membership in the NRTA has allowed me to “think out loud” with other professionals, and to evaluate solutions to questions or issues I had been wrestling with. This has become a reliable problem-solving tool that allows me to think outside of my everyday box, and to explore and share best practices for the workplace. Time and again, this resource has translated into a cost savings solution or an improved procedure.

As we begin preparing for Conference 2020, we will ask the members of the NRTA Curriculum Committee to keep in mind their first experiences with the NRTA and use that to build a solid course curriculum. We look forward to the challenge and are eager to share the results of our curriculum plan with you over the next few months.

One area the curriculum planners will devote their attention to is the development of our small group discussion sessions, that are now called Idea Exchanges. These face-to-face chats have become a real cornerstone for conference attendees looking for an opportunity to interface with their peers on specific topics of interest. The goal is to give attendees the opportunity to spend quality time with people who are performing similar tasks. You will have the chance to hear how others approach a particular problem or challenge, and evaluate whether those ideas would work to improve your situation. I know this interactive experience received high praise from last year’s conference attendees, and will be an important feature for this year’s conference experience.

This chance at open dialogue among peers is what attracted 150 of us to the first NRTA conference almost 25 years ago. I feel we have stayed true to our roots.

by, Ted Pajda, Editor; Curriculum Committee Co-chair