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  • Writer's pictureMAREJ

NAIOP NJ holds seminar "Transformational Leadership: The Workforce of Tomorrow”

NAIOP New Jersey’s workplace-focused seminar shown (L-R): Keynote speaker Xiangmin (Helen) Li and panelists Roselyn Feinsod, Terry Harris, Jessica Casey, Joseph Galley (moderator) and Jeffery Fuller.

ROSELAND, NJ — Commercial real estate companies, like all businesses, are grappling with recruiting and retaining talent in a candidate’s job market – and at a time when COVID-19 has transformed both the workplace and the workforce. NAIOP New Jersey’s recent seminar, “Transformational Leadership: The Workforce of Tomorrow,” provided research-based insights and actionable strategies to help organizations and their leadership meet the considerable challenges of the post-pandemic workplace.

Discussion moderator Joseph Galley, VP with GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc., said the genesis of the program began when the commercial real estate development association’s board of directors met to talk about issues impacting the commercial real estate market today. “At our NAIOP NJ leadership training in Feb., we were asked, ‘What’s keeping you up at night?’ It came down to the fact that we are all dealing with hiring employees, finding employees and keeping employees. This program is the result of those discussions.”

Keynote speaker Xiangmin (Helen) Liu, a professor in the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University, recommended strategies for improving workforce engagement that are grounded in current academic research. “In today’s business environment, companies cannot always buy the right talent,” she said. “Transformational leaders should personalize and digitize learning, and expand the focus from the development of skills to the development of mindsets and capabilities that will help workers perform well now and adapt in the future.”

Galley led the panel discussion, which focused on recruitment, retention and workplace strategy from a range of perspectives, including consulting and executive search as well as leadership of both large and small firms. The panelists were Terry Harris, market director and COO for JLL; Jessica Casey, managing director with Ferguson Partners; Roselyn Feinsod, principal at Ernst & Young; and Jeffery Fuller, COO of Alfred Sanzari Enterprises.

Key takeaways included:

Maintaining existing teams and recruiting talent requires prioritizing location, schedule flexibility and rethinking workspaces, as well as competitive compensation.

The pandemic has changed the way people define rewards and compensation, with flexibility and work/life balance taking precedence. Companies can no longer take a one-size-fits-all approach.

The Great Resignation could also be dubbed “career epiphany” as people leave not just jobs, but their industries, in pursuit of something new. It is important to move away from the idea of “ex-employee” to “alumni,” as some may come full circle in the future.

NAIOP NJ CEO Michael McGuinness noted, “The thought leaders and experts gathered here have offered compelling data and an insightful exchange of information that will help businesses navigate the current workplace environment and be better prepared for the future.”

Founded in 1970, NAIOP NJ is a chapter of NAIOP, a leading trade association for developers, owners investors, asset managers and other professionals in commercial real estate with 19,000 members in North America. NAIOP advances responsible commercial real estate development and advocates for effective public policy.

The New Jersey Chapter is comprised of 850 members who benefit from a variety of business and networking opportunities, education and professional development programs, research on trends and innovations and strong legislative and public affairs representation. For more information, visit

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