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Developing Leader Spotlight: Leading by Example

Since joining NAIOP in 2009, Nicole Wilhelm Smith – a recipient of NAIOP’s 2015 Developing Leaders Award – has contributed her infectious enthusiasm, skills and innovative ideas to the association. She quickly became an active member of the NAIOP Maryland Developing Leaders group and Membership Committee, and has served as chair of the chapter’s Programs Committee since 2013. In 2014, NAIOP Maryland awarded her the chapter’s Service Provider of the Year Award in recognition of her efforts on behalf of the chapter and the local commercial real estate industry. She helped launch a new chapter Ambassador Committee and has served on NAIOP Maryland’s Awards Committee.

Nicole Wilhelm SmithWilhelm Smith works as a business development manager for ECS Mid-Atlantic, LLC, a firm with more than 50 U.S. locations that specializes in geotechnical engineering, environmental consulting, construction materials testing and facilities engineering services. Previously, she spent nine years working at Heath Design Group, Inc., where she served as an assistant controller and later as director of business development and marketing. We caught up with this intrepid young professional to find out where she draws her energy and inspiration.

NAIOP: How has being a member of NAIOP helped your career?

Wilhelm Smith: NAIOP has been invaluable for me in my career. It has introduced me to a group of people who are incredibly knowledgeable and eager to help me succeed. At my relatively young age, it would have been impossible to have entered the inner circle of the Maryland commercial real estate industry without NAIOP.

NAIOP: What are some of the most rewarding aspects of your job?

Wilhelm Smith: The most rewarding part of my job is making valuable connections with the people in my network and building meaningful relationships.

NAIOP: What advice would you offer to other young professionals in commercial real estate? 

Wilhelm Smith: Be persistent and deliver on what you say you are going to do.

NAIOP: Who has been an inspiring or influential figure in your life?

Wilhelm Smith: Michael McGowan, the president of Heath Design Group, has been very influential for me professionally. He taught me to think on my feet and be confident in myself.

This is part of a series of profiles of NAIOP’s 2015 Developing Leaders Award recipients, who have distinguished themselves through exceptional commitment and contributions to the industry. This prestigious award was presented at NAIOP’s Commercial Real Estate Conference 2015 in Toronto. Read about all of the honorees in the Winter 2015/2016 issue of Development Magazine.

 The recipients of the 2016 Developing Leaders Award will be recognized at Commercial Real Estate Conference 2016 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Watch this two-minute video to learn more about NAIOP’s Developing Leaders program.

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