Mason Bodie, a property manager with Stream Realty Partners in Dallas, oversees the management of 1.2 million square feet of commercial office space. An active member of BOMA/Dallas, Bodie serves on the local association’s Government Affairs and Young Professionals Committees. He also is chair of BOMA International’s Emerging Professionals Committee. Last year, Bodie was awarded one of the inaugural J. Michael Coleman Scholarships by the BOMA Foundation to attend the 2017 BOMA International Annual Conference & Expo.
How did you get started in the industry? It’s a cliché in our industry that no one grows up dreaming of being a property manager, but that’s not exactly true for me. As a kid in Dallas, I was always fascinated by the high-rise buildings downtown and wanted to learn more about them. I earned my college degree in accounting, but I knew I wanted to work in commercial real estate. I started out as a property accountant, working closely with property managers on Stream’s national portfolio, but I was so intrigued by the operational side that I transitioned to a property management position a year later. I’ve never looked back.
You’re the chair of BOMA International’s Emerging Professionals Committee. Can you talk a little about its mission? Many BOMA local associations have thriving young or emerging professionals committees, and BOMA International’s Emerging Professionals Committee helps support and connect these groups—and amplify the work they are doing. These committees are critical to spreading awareness about the commercial real estate career opportunities available in their markets and supporting people once they join our industry as they navigate a new career path.
Our committee also is creating new resources and programming specifically designed to support young and emerging professionals within the industry. For instance, I was one of the recipients of the very first J. Michael Coleman Scholarship for emerging professionals last year, which allowed me to attend BOMA International’s annual conference for the first time last June. I know how important resources like this scholarship can be for people at the start of their careers, and I want to help expand these efforts.
What can BOMA members do to help attract and foster new talent in the industry? The biggest hurdle for our industry is getting the word out that careers in commercial real estate are available— and we can’t rely on recruitment tactics that worked a decade or so ago. Most young professionals learn about career opportunities through their college career centers, job fairs and internships, and many commercial real estate companies are beginning to use these resources and strategies to attract new talent.
Once these young professionals join our companies, it’s our responsibility to help them grow so that their first jobs can turn into fulfilling, lifelong careers. BOMA members looking for ways to help develop new talent can become mentors, either formally or informally, through their companies or their BOMA local associations. Having a supportive mentor can mean the difference between someone staying in the industry or not.
Many people entering commercial real estate today bring with them new ideas about technology, amenities, sustainability and wellness. Embracing younger professionals also means embracing change, to some extent. But, I also think it’s important for us to not get too caught up in the “millennial” label. If you’re looking for generational divides and differences, you’re going to find them, but I think industry veterans have a lot more in common with the values and goals of young professionals than they might think.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering a career in commercial real estate? Get involved! This is a people business, and making connections is vital to our success. BOMA is a great resource for building a diverse and powerful network; I’ve only been in the industry for a few years, but, because of BOMA, I have strong professional relationships with other people in the industry—not just in my area, but all over the United States. Being involved in BOMA also has given me everything from leadership experience to the chance to lobby my lawmakers on Capitol Hill—all in just a few short years.
What is something that most people don’t know about you? I’m an avid outdoorsman and I really enjoy primitive camping, which is camping without electricity or running water. Luckily, I married an amazing woman who enjoys it as much as I do. If I could have it my way, we’d live out in the middle of nowhere most of the time. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many high-rise buildings out there for me to manage.