In Memorium: Jeffrey A. Barclay
I first met Jeff almost seven years ago when he interviewed me for a job. One thing struck me right away: he asked a lot of questions. They were good questions: provocative, in-depth, and searching. Despite his obvious brilliance, the questions he asked were not used to confirm what he knew, but to learn what he didn’t know. Which of course meant that he listened – very closely and critically – to whatever I managed to say. In the gentlest way, even in that first meeting, he asked for more; more insight, more understanding, and more truth.
Jeff’s questions impacted everyone around him and allowed many of us to improve. As Chair of the Board of NAREIM from 2012 to 2014, he never accepted “good enough”. He was a true leader in that he always looked for “better”. Our organization blossomed as a result.
Jeff was a life-long student and mentor, who always gave of himself. He welcomed discussion and was unafraid of disagreement. He cared.
Throughout his career as a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Executive Officer at Clarion Partners, in various roles at other real estate firms, as an active participant in ULI, PREA, and NAREIM, and as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia Business School, he had a significant and important impact on the institutional real estate business – and on many of us that worked with him.
The news of Jeff’s death in March of this year was a shock to everyone who knew him – and not only because he was too young and vital to leave us so early. His contributions, as a colleague, as a leader, as a teacher, and as a human being were supposed to continue for many more years. In a world where image seems to eclipse substance, where success is seen as a zero sum enterprise, and listening is undervalued, his deep questioning is needed now more than ever.
Jeff believed deeply in supporting and mentoring the next generation. One of his early ideas as chair was to establish a NAREIM Fellowship Program that each year invites 12 students nominated by university real estate programs all over the country to participate in our Executive Officer Meetings. The program continues to this day, and many of the fellows have gone on to exciting careers in our industry. That is why NAREIM is establishing The Jeff Barclay Memorial Scholarship to give students the opportunity to ask more questions. We are still putting together the details for the scholarship foundation, but look forward to involving everyone at NAREIM in this important effort.
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