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2015 Emerging Leader of the Year Ashley Meyer

Ashley Meyer with Tishman Speyer was the recipient of the 2015 Gold Circle Awards Emerging Leader of the Year. Previously at The Franklin, Ashley has since moved to the Tishman Speyer headquarters in New York where she serves as assistant property manager at the Rockefeller Center.

What are some trends in commercial real estate that interest you the most? Trends I continue to follow include the development of 24-hour cities around the country and the rise of technology. With a resurgence in downtown living and a demand by millennials for the "live, work, play" lifestyle, companies are meeting these demands and spaces are being built to draw talent. The expansion and improvement in technology is creating more variety and greater flexibility, people don’t use or need the same space they once did.

In relation to the 24-hour city, thoughts on space compression and new office concepts like “WeWork” are beginning to change. The collaborative open concept is not appealing to everyone and there's not a one size fits all solution. Landlords are challenged to strike the perfect balance not only with the baby-boomers still holding a huge portion of the decision-making power and Millennials waiting in the wings, but also the GenZ or “boomlets” yet to enter the workforce in this time of digital globalization. It's an exciting time to be on the forefront of establishing the new standard for the office of the future.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the commercial real estate industry?Ask questions and network. Don’t be afraid because you don’t know the answer – that’s why you ask. I was always trained to “know your building”. This means walking your building and not just knowing where your building chiller is, but actually understanding the basic mechanics behind it. Go on rounds with your engineers to understand their role in building operations - and of course, always ask questions.

Networking is essential in the real estate industry. In an information-driven world we are faced with constant change. It is just as important to network with like-minded individuals as it is to have an open dialogue with someone with a different perspective.  Challenge yourself when you go to events to speak to others outside of your normal circle of friends and colleagues in order to develop your network.

Other sage advice that I received was: “treat the building as you would your house, the budget as you would your wallet, and the people as your family.”  When you make this your practice, you begin to see things differently. Your respect for the property increases, your financial awareness and focus on running your building in a financially savvy manner becomes forefront, and the way you interact and relate to your staff sets the tone for the building.

Throughout your membership with BOMA/Chicago, what experiences stand out the most to you? I have been granted many wonderful experiences during my membership with BOMA/Chicago.  I met many incredible people and worked alongside very bright individuals on various BOMA/Chicago committees.  I have had very positive experiences with BOMA/Chicago and the experience that stands out most was being the recipient of the 2015 Emerging Leader of the Year award.

I'm also truly grateful for all the many wonderful friends I made through BOMA/Chicago and appreciate the support and friendship.

What BOMA/Chicago events are most meaningful to you? The 2014 BOMA Annual Meeting was definitely the most memorable.  To hear guest speaker, Elizabeth Dozier tell her story of perseverance was inspiring. It was incredible to hear her speak of her vision, trials, and success.  Everyone who heard her that night walked away with a skip in their step and thinking - how can I be the change?

Tell us about some of your professional accomplishments over the last few years. In addition to obaining my Real Estate Brokerage License and LEED Green Associate accreditation, I have had the privilege of working alongside the best in our industry by participating as a judge in the BOMA/Chicago TOBY awards for the last two years. I proudly served as a Board Member and most recently held the position of Secretary at the Chicago Real Estate Network. Last year I became a part of NAIOP and the Developing Leader program which proved useful as our building embarked on a large scale lobby renovation.

My most recent professional accomplishment was fulfilling a career goal to work for Tishman Speyer in our headquarters in New York. I currently work at Rockefeller Center, overseeing the operations of over 2.3 million square feet.

I credit the achievement of this goal to the experience I gained in Chicago and the support of my colleagues both at my company and within the industry, along with my involvement with BOMA/Chicago.

What are some of your interests outside of work? I'm a foodie. Exploring different neighborhoods for hidden gems is definitely a way I spend an evening or weekend afternoon. I also love to cook and create new dishes, imagining it's what I would serve if I owned my own restaurant.

My joy for cooking and interest in different foods stemmed from my passion for travel. Experiencing different cultures and making friends from around the world opened my eyes and gave me a whole other sense of appreciation for life. I made it a goal to travel to all 7 continents in my lifetime. I have two more continents to explore and many cultures to experience.