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  • Writer's pictureAlexa L. Barnett

2021: A Year of Growth, Because

DISCLAIMER: This is the personal blog of Alexa L. Barnett and does not reflect any position of her employer.

2021 was a year of growth. I "leveled-up" professionally, while continuing to work on my dream of helping CRE professionals develop in the Nashville market.

After several months of conversing and negotiating, I accepted a position as Southern Land Company's first commercial property manager. I get to build a department from the ground up as we expand into larger markets including Las Vegas, Sacramento, and Philadelphia. It's a job that even 18 months ago I could only have dreamt of applying for, but I never would have imagined that a company of this caliber would seek me out for such a role.

CRE615 took off like wildfire in 2021. Membership doubled and we had 60+ members in attendance at multiple events. The team grew, and the mission evolved. We started a volunteering division. We helped CRE professionals across all sub-sects find new jobs, build their book of business, and expand their reach in the market.

And honestly, it was one of the easier* years for me. Why? Because I showed vulnerability and stopped trying to do everything by myself.

Because I hired a career coach so I could hone my ability to have critical conversations, negotiate, self reflect and better manage my time. Because hello?! No one is naturally good at all four, and I’m not naturally good at any of those soft skills!

Because the networking group I started in 2020, and the website I spent too long designing, finally gained traction (of course I never posted the photos of the happy hour where 5 people attended, but we all know it happened, and will happen again).

Because I understood that this would take help, and that I would not be able to do it all on my own, so I learned to delegate and grew the CRE615 team.

But most importantly, 2021 was a year of growth because I surrounded myself with strong, successful, women, who lift each other up, give constructive criticism, and know how to play this crazy game that is commercial real estate.

And finding these women was the hardest and most important component of them all.

First CRE615 Ladies Night

Start now.

Build your network one coffee/cocktail at a time, and know that for every great encounter, there will be several duds. Send them all a thank you note anyway.

Finding mentors takes time.

Learn your weaknesses and work on them. If you can't fix them, figure out how to delegate.

Make a roadmap of where you want to go and learn the steps you must take to get there. This will tell you what you need to focus on right now, and nothing else matters. Don’t worry about the next step until it is time too. It will make each small step of progress feel like the accomplishment that it is! But also understand that the path might change, and that’s okay too.

Have a positive attitude. This will get your further than anything else.

But most importantly just do it, and know you're going to have to re-do it, again, and again until you get it, right. Whether it is a website, conversation, resume, or pitch. The first pancake is going to suck.

But when you look back a year from now, you’ll see that all those baby steps and shitty pancakes are starting to add up.

Alexa L. Barnett is the commercial property manager for Southern Land Company and co-founder of CRE615, a networking group for the Nashville's next generation of commercial real estate professionals.


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