A look back on 2021: The Year in Review at NAREIM

Year in Review 2021

February 14, 2022


2021 was a busy year for real estate investment management. It was a year of growth, a year of innovation and new ideas. It was also exhausting for many people. 


At NAREIM, we felt the same highs, growth and pain points as we celebrated unprecedented member growth and doubled what we deliver for members. In this Year in Review, we want to summarize what we did in 2021, providing a handy snapshot of the meetings, research and member best practice sharing produced throughout the calendar year. 


Download the Year in Review here.


What NAREIM did in 2021 

  • 4 corporate benchmarking surveys 

  • 6 member pulse surveys 

  • 13 in-person and virtual meetings 

  • 15 new member firms joined NAREIM in 2021

  • 29 newsletters 

  • 3 LP Perspectives on DEI 

  • 2 Dialogues magazines 

  • 1 year in review 

  • 1 resume book containing 395 resumes 


NAREIM welcomed 15 new member firms in the 2021 calendar year, including: 

  • American Equity Life Insurance, Alidade Capital, BH Equities, Cabot Properties, Comstock Companies, DivcoWest, Enterprise Community Investment, Graceada Partners, The Green Cities Company, KKR, Manulife Investment Management, Menlo Equities, Pennybacker Capital, Transwestern Investment Management, Virtus Real Estate. 

  • RXR, Rockpoint Group and MultiGreen Properties also recently joined NAREIM in January 2022.


We are truly excited to have these firms join NAREIM’s work, meetings and benchmarking. No growth for growth’s sake NAREIM now has more than 100 member firms and, as we look to the future of our meetings, one strategy is clear — we will not grow for growth’s sake. 



NAREIM is deliberately a small association 

Our meetings are about small group discussions to encourage honest and candid conversations among peers and to ensure every voice in the room is heard. 


NAREIM will never lose the intimacy of its gatherings, because, if we grow too big, so too will the nature and tone of those conversations change. We are here as an association to help you connect and share ideas with peers — and the best way to deliver that is through small group connections. That will remain at the heart of NAREIM.



New Head of Programming: Sanyu Kyeyune

In July 2021, NAREIM hired Sanyu Kyeyune to join Zoe Hughes in driving the mission of the association. 


Sanyu is a critical part of NAREIM’s operations helping deliver high quality peer-topeer conversations and networking, both virtually and in-person — and always testing what NAREIM delivers. As one new member said in their member application in the latter part of 2021: “We’ve been able to experience firsthand the quality and depth of the resources provided by NAREIM.” 


That is down to the passion of our members, and particularly to Sanyu. Check out the NAREIM 2022 calendar and the work Sanyu is doing to bring members together through the in-person meetings, as well as through additional 60- minute virtual connections


Download the Year in Review here.



More investment in meetings

You come to meetings to network. We love NAREIM’s roundtable format, which helps every member network with peers, but in 2021 we also wanted to up our game in terms of our networking. 


Starting with the Executive Officer and Architecture & Engineering meetings, NAREIM invested additional capital to bring the meetings not only back in-person, but also to provide a better networking experience for members with restaurant buyouts, and, for EO, a trip to the world-renowned Louis Mueller BBQ restaurant on the outskirts of Austin. 


Additional investment will continue in 2022 and beyond thanks to expense reductions achieved over the past two years and recent membership growth. 


Who doesn’t want an LP–GP MasterChef cook-off? 

Even virtual meetings got a test of the networking investment, with an LP Celebrity MasterChef cook-off, where former MasterChef contestant Mike Silverstein guided two investors and one manager through a cooking competition, judged by NAREIM members. 


Judy McMahan of UPS Pension Investments, Michael Leifeste of Texas Treasury Safekeeping Trust Company and Kathy Briscoe of Dermody Properties battled it out to produce the best — and fastest — chicken satay. 


In 15 minutes, with smoke alarms ringing, wine being consumed and no cheating whatsoever, the winner was revealed: Michael Leifeste of Texas Treasury. MasterChef Silverstein offered words of advice for all members to “get out of their comfort zone,” adding: “Take some risks. You’ll have some fun in doing that.”



The NAREIM brand gets stronger

Collaboration was the name of the game in 2021, with NAREIM not only doubling the number of benchmarking surveys it produces each year, but bringing other industry associations together to help promote standard approaches to data collection. 


  • Global Management Survey: For more than a decade NAREIM has partnered with Ferguson Partners to publish the Global Management Survey, an annual survey covering enterprise benchmarking and management practices for real estate investment managers. In 2021, we joined forces with INREV to provide deeper analysis of European operations and together NAREIM, INREV and Ferguson deliver data on organizational structures, staffing levels, roles and responsibilities, fundraising trends, fund structures and terms, and enterprise financial performance metrics for the industry. 

  • Global Real Estate DEI Survey: NAREIM has tracked DEI at the corporate level since 2017, but in 2021 we partnered with ANREV, INREV, NCREIF, PREA, REALPAC and ULI to expand the survey and create the Global Real Estate DEI Survey. The DEI Survey is the industry’s first global collection of corporate best practices and employee demographics for commercial real estate, tracking gender, race/ethnicity and nationality across seniority and job functions in Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America as well as corporate practices in relation to DEI programs, recruitment, retention, training and development, inclusivity and pay equity. Conducted by Ferguson Partners, the DEI Survey helps create a true global benchmark for investment managers and the wider industry on DEI practices and demographics. 

  • Defined Contribution Survey: In collaboration with the Defined Contribution Real Estate Council (DCREC) and Ferguson Partners, NAREIM provides an indepth view of defined contribution (DC) capital raising and organizational metrics from the real estate manager perspective relating to scale and growth of DC offerings and the management of DC real estate vehicles. The survey expands on DC questions in the Global Management Survey and to also include five-year AUM growth, DC real estate capital flow trends and DC investor appetite for private real estate strategies and offerings. 


A few social stats 

NAREIM’s reputation continues to grow and members and staff are helping push the word out with social media posts and communication to the industry. 


Here are a few stats from 2021:

  • 23 LinkedIn posts, shared and liked 41,000 times. 

  • 6% LinkedIn engagement rate over the past year vs an average 3% for CRE associations (from a peer group of 12). 

  • 14,480 website sessions involving 8,943 unique visitors in 2021. 81% were new visitors. 

  • NAREIM’s distribution lists increased from 3,051 to 4,533 contacts. 


We’re really proud of our achievements in 2021 and we are excited about what we can deliver in 2022 with and for members. Remember that NAREIM is here to serve you and help you grow your business. Here’s to another tremendous year.

Zoe Hughes, CEO


Download the Year in Review here.