Being a Successful BOMA Leader
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
by: Michele Ignacio, A.O. Reed & Co.

Section: Trends and Tips

It was an honor to be named the BOMA San Diego Ray Magnussen Associate Member of the Year.  I, along with my fellow award winners - Principal Member of the Year Paris Cox and Chairperson of the Year Jacqueline Nishnic - earned these prestigious honors for “going above and beyond throughout the year.” And wow, what a year 2020 turned out to be! Looking back at this past year, here are a few ways we became successful BOMA leaders during this unprecedented time:  
  • We stepped up and volunteered to be leaders – BOMA fosters professional development through volunteerism. We are an association that relies on our members to lead committees, plan out events and programs, and step up to serve on the Board of Directors. Without our volunteers, BOMA San Diego would not be as strong as it is today. When I asked Jacqueline what her advice would be for our upcoming leaders, she advised, “Just go for it! [Becoming a leader] is one of the best ways to not only grow within the organization, but it allows for strong networking connections, and professional (and personal) growth. It may initially seem intimidating to step into a leadership role, but it's not! BOMA will provide you with info, tools, and support to succeed - it is so worth it.” 
Looking back at my BOMA journey, one of my first leadership experiences was negotiating the audio-visual (AV) contract for the 2011 BOMA Gala. I joined the Special Events Committee mid-year and had no clue how special events planned events, what AV meant, let alone how a Gala ran. With Heather Collins and Barry Garson’s mentorship, I was able to learn and figure it out. It was terrifying at the time dealing with all the unknowns, but I wouldn’t change a thing. The leadership I learned throughout my years of volunteerism helped me deal with the challenges of the unknown I faced in 2020 both personally and professionally.
  • We set specific goals – Jacqueline, Paris and I had unique leadership responsibilities this year, but we all took a similar approach - we started off the year setting specific goals. I am a BOMA Board Liaison and focused on helping the newly merged Membership & Emerging Leaders (M-EL) committee build a foundation which included mentoring its new chairpersons, establishing a new committee mission statement and goals, and creating a new Ambassador Program for welcoming new members. Jacqueline was a first-time committee chairperson who wanted to implement ideas that the Community Service Committee had discussed over the years that would increase visibility for members and charitable partners. Paris sought to increase class enrollment in BOMI education classes and help the Education Committee by providing a principal/student’s viewpoint on a committee made up of mostly Associate members.
  • We were flexible – Successful BOMA leaders are flexible and are able to work through challenges. When the pandemic hit in March, BOMA leaders faced the new challenge of learning how to keep our members engaged in a virtual environment.  Jacqueline and Paris had to figure out how to keep their committees successful during the pandemic. They faced issues (such as cancelled in-person events and postponed virtual classes) and created opportunities by altering programs to fit the new social distancing rules. Examples include learning how to plan out virtual education classes and hosting the first ever virtual Back to School Drive.
  • We lead by example and worked together – I was fortunate to have served on the BOMA San Diego Board of Directors when Kristin Howell was President. During her time in office, she encouraged the Board Liaisons to implement ‘synergy’ within their committees - the idea of working together and working smarter not harder to achieve successful outcomes. When I rejoined the Board after a couple years hiatus, I kept the word ‘synergy’ at the forefront of my mind and collaborated with my fellow liaisons and encouraged the committee chairpersons to do the same. One of the simplest things I did was encourage the committees to cross-promote each other’s events. Although our committees each have a specific mission, at the end of the day we all have a similar goal of building value for our members and strengthening our association.  
Ultimately, you need to raise your hand and do the work to be a successful BOMA leader.  If you aren’t sure where to start your BOMA leadership journey, take Paris’ advice: “Find a committee you are passionate about… it is important to participate – be of service, offer new ideas, be flexible and adaptable, especially in uncertain times.”