A Conversation with the President | Thor Emblem, GSH Group
Tuesday, May 30, 2023
by: Thor Emblem, GSH Group & Rachel Willis, Pacific Rim Mechanical

Section: President's Message

We’re back with another message from our spon – I mean, our chapter President!! Join us for a Q&A-style conversation with Thor Emblem as we discuss our sold-out Membership Luncheon, the latest chapter committee updates, and one rising star’s appointment to the BOMA International Executive Committee. 


BOMA San Diego: The past few months have held a number of exciting as well as educational events for our chapter! Let’s start with our sold-out March program, highlighting women in commercial real estate. What did you think of the event?

Thor: It was excellent, and we were so pleased to have Heather Myers from CBS 8 there to moderate it.  Volunteering with BOMA has afforded me the chance to work with so many accomplished women and I look for opportunities to introduce them to my daughter.  This year, I decided to bring her to our luncheon program for the second year in a row. Talking about it later, I know that it was a meaningful experience for her.

BOMA San Diego: You’ve been vocal about gender equality. Do you consider yourself to be a feminist?

Thor: I have quoted Phil Hartman before when he says once you have a daughter, you become an instant feminist and I mostly agree with that. That is not to say that I was incapable of empathy toward women before my daughter was born.  I’ve always believed in building an egalitarian society. But having a daughter gave my desire for fairness a renewed focus. Logically, I know that I can't stop the world from hurting my kids but that doesn’t mean that I am not going to try my hardest.  And that means that I must, as a father, do my part to make sure my daughter lives in a world where opportunities are not limited by gender.


BOMA San Diego: Speaking of March events, our Life Science Committee held their first seminar of the year that same month. What’s next for our Life Science Committee?

Thor: We have a seminar on June 1st that is focused on budgeting for life science properties.  This seminar is being led by Tracy Perelle of BioMed Realty.  She has taught budgeting for our chapter before and she is such an engaging teacher.  I would say that this seminar is terrific for anyone looking to learn about budgeting whether they manage life science properties or not.


BOMA San Diego:  Advocacy plays a vital role in our chapter and our Government Affairs Committee meets monthly to discuss the local and statewide policies that matter most to our members. Can you tell us more about the special guest in attendance at this month’s committee meeting?

Thor: Many of us that work downtown are reaching a fatigue level when it comes to dealing with unhoused folks.  We are not trying to demonize this group of people but be it physical attacks, human waste, garbage, or awkward interactions, the current situation definitely affects us negatively.  Some of our members have even had their own employees attacked.  That is why we were so pleased to welcome, his honor, Mayor Todd Gloria to our committee meeting.  He shared the latest updates on the efforts to solve homelessness, including the proposal for two new safe camping sites.  Normally we have about 20 people in attendance, but we had about 55 in attendance for this meeting.  This confirms that homelessness is a hot topic for our membership.  

If you’re interested in learning more, find our most recent Legislative Update here


BOMA San Diego: One of our own Rising Stars has joined the BOMA International Executive Committee! Would you share more about that?

Thor: I’d love to share more about that. Tiyana Smallegan, our Emerging Professionals Committee Chair, was offered and accepted the Emerging Professional Seat on BOMA International’s Executive Committee. Our BOMA Pacific Southwest Region even gave her a recent shoutout in their spring newsletter.

Tiyana has established herself as an invaluable member of our chapter.  She recently moved to San Diego from the San Francisco area. Because of her involvement with BOMA San Francisco, she joined our BOMA chapter right away.   She came to BOMA San Francisco through the Commercial Real Estate Fellows Program while still in college and once she became a member, she completed the Foundations of Commercial Real Estate course with her chapter. Her enthusiasm for being a BOMA member is contagious, and she immediately made a positive impact on our Emerging Professionals committee.  As such, she has been elevated to the role of chair position.  With the help of her committee members, she will be focused on reviving our college outreach program in 2023. She also contributes heavily to our Emergency Preparedness and Sustainability committee. Tiyana has worked to build authentic relationships with fellow members and her presence and participation at BOMA events makes them more meaningful.


BOMA San Diego: After accepting the nomination, Tiyana shared, “My heart is to be a resource and an advocate for Emerging Professionals at every BOMA level and I hope to make San Diego proud!” How can our membership embrace this philosophy and better support our Emerging Professional members on the local level?

Thor: First, they should find Tiyana at an event and congratulate her.  Next, they could join or support the college outreach subcommittee.  Now is the time to reach out to the next generation of property managers as they finish college. Most are unaware of our industry and are focused on residential, development, or the brokerage side. 


BOMA San Diego:  Our chapter put in a lot of work to bring The Outstanding Building of the Year (TOBY) awards back to San Diego last year… and they’re back again in 2023! What would you say to anyone on the fence about entering this year?

Thor: I am excited that this is back.  I have been involved in the TOBY competition for 12 years and it means a lot to me.  I know it provides our building managers an opportunity to showcase their buildings, it provides a competitive advantage when it comes to leasing but most importantly, it allows the managers and their team to get on stage at our black-tie gala held in November and be recognized for their excellence.  A big shout out to Isaac Warner, of American Assets Trust, and the Awards and Scholarships Committee for their efforts in reviving this competition last year and putting it on this year.


BOMA San Diego: What’s coming up next for our chapter this summer?

Thor: We have the Summer Work Party, BOMA International Conference & Expo in Kansas City, Designer Purse Bingo, Day at the Races, and a robust slate of Hollywood blockbusters hitting theaters.  For the BOMA events, please visit BOMASD.org and click on the “Events” tab.  For the movies, you can Google local showtimes.

Additionally, our BOMA San Diego chapter is celebrating 60 years this June!  Be sure to attend our night out at the ballpark on June 14th.  The Padres will be acknowledging our anniversary and one of our members will be ringing the bell.


Thank you for your leadership (and humor), Thor! We look forward to catching you in theaters this summer. 

Article by: Thor Emblem, GSH Group & Rachel Willis, Pacific Rim Mechanical