In the Know: BOMA International’s Medical Office Buildings and Healthcare Real Estate Conference

After a hiatus in 2020, the Meridian team was very excited to be back in-person at BOMA International’s most exciting conference of the year, the Medical Office Buildings and Healthcare Real Estate Conference. This year’s event was held in Dallas, TX, and was jam packed with informative education sessions, compelling panel discussions, and enjoyable networking receptions. Most exciting for our team, was Meridian Chief Development Officer, Mike Conn’s panel titled “Developing Healthcare Real Estate Leaders”. As healthcare real estate professionals, we understand how important developing a strong team is to the success of your organization. Mike and his fellow panelists provided some valuable key points regarding how to thrive in the industry, and we’ve outlined them below.

How to set yourself up for success

The panelists opened up about what set them up to be successful in the industry. Alex Bell, Senior Vice President at Catalyst Healthcare Real Estate, talked about how he always made sure to dig in and understand things outside his comfort zone. This deeper understanding prepared him to answer questions on a variety of topics, much to the surprise of his managers and peers. The other panelists encouraged newcomers to always be willing to pitch in, regardless of the type of project and/or functional area. The willingness to “pitch in” will give you insights into the other functional areas of the organization and ultimately help you become an effective cross functional leader. They also stressed taking the time to understand the economics of the deal and to become an expert in your specific area – this is something your clients will come to rely on and really value.

What role do mentors play in career development?

The panelists agreed that mentorship isn’t something that should feel “forced”. Connie O’Murray, Managing Director, Property Management at JLL, stressed that mentorship will be far more effective if you let it happen organically. Similarly, the others talked about the importance of surrounding yourself with like-minded people and absorb as much information from them as possible. Considering a network of professionals as your mentor may be far more beneficial that just seeking it out from one person.

What are the secrets to hiring?

Nelson Udstuen, Senior Vice President at CBRE, talked about hiring in the brokerage community. Most brokers are individual contributors quickly jumping from one opportunity to the next. Nelson looks for someone that is tenacious, a self-starter and that can handle rejections. He is honest with new brokers and let’s them know that it will take a minimum of 2-years to build a book of business and make real money – you must be able to survive the buildup and stay hungry. Other panelists talked about how they look for team members that are inquisitive, communicative and pay good attention to detail. They look for candidates that are self-starters and kind – those who are not egocentric and can praise teammates. Some of the panelists even do various types of testing when hiring new analysts. They agreed that hiring is simply hard and focusing on soft skills and culture fit is just as important as evaluating past successes.

Advice for Young Professionals

The panelists ended by answering moderator Ted McKenna, Senior Manager at Colliers’, final question – what advice do you have for young professionals? Here’s what they said:

  • Learn as much as you can and network as often as possible.
  • Use social media to build your own, individual brand.
  • Be a trusted resource to clients and teammates.
  • At networking events like this one, schedule meetings in advance and maximize your time.

Even as veteran healthcare real estate professionals, our team took away a lot of great advice from this panel of experts. At Meridian, we recognize how important it is to have a strong team of passionate, smart, and committed professionals and we are excited to continue building our team based on some of the advice seen here. If you’re interested in learning more about this conference, visit

Author: John Pollock