When one meets Chris Nasim for the first time, it becomes glaringly apparent to sense the passion for commercial real estate and BOMA Calgary. As the current chair of BOMA Calgary, Nasim is a true believer that you “get out what you put in” and will jump at every opportunity to contribute and shape the many environments he is involved in. If it’s not BOMA Calgary, then it’s his involvement with his residential community association or the parent advisory board at the school his young sons attend.
Nasim discovered his passion for buildings very early on. His father owned rental properties when Nasim was a boy, which piqued his interest, particularly in the business side of real estate and asset management. Those interests followed him out of university where both real estate and finance became front-runners as potential career paths. After a brief period as a financial planner, he started working with a family friend in private property management and never looked back. That was 15 years ago. Nasim has spent the past 11 years with GWL Realty Advisors, where he currently is vice president, asset management.
Exposure and experience in two vastly different industries is what Nasim credits in preparing him for his professional career and role with BOMA Calgary. The financial industry, particularly brokerage, is what Nasim considers having a similar skills set as people within real estate; and his earliest profession, a bartender and waiter in university, prepared him for “meeting people and managing expectations.”
So what does Nasim feel his expectations are as chair of BOMA Calgary? He states “continue making sure that the key priorities of BOMA Calgary are adhered to by the committees, by the staff and by the board.”
Nasim points out that people look to the board for direction, and the board looks to the chair for confirmation – not to set the agenda or make priorities. “This isn’t the will of one person. This is a big organization and we’re volunteers because we care and we’re engaged. I believe in the power of groups and the power of collaboration.”
Where Nasim feels he can contribute to this collaborative effort is to help prioritize, be efficient, hold people accountable, and ensure everyone on the board has an opportunity to speak their mind by providing an open, safe and transparent meeting environment.
When asked what Nasim enjoys most about the BOMA Calgary community, he very quickly and succinctly articulates: “The people and the breadth.”
BOMA Calgary “allows me to work with great people in the industry that my normal day to day wouldn’t have me interacting with – even people who I am professional ‘competitors’ with – but with BOMA, we are highly aligned. Great people working together for the common good of the industry.”
Nasim states it is very rewarding seeing people in commercial real estate receiving recognition for their outstanding achievement in the industry, whether it be the BOMA Best Certification of a building or a BOMA Excellence Award.
“Knowing how hard they worked, and how many hours went into it – them getting their chance to be recognized for that – is really cool. Property managers are our day-to-day managers, operations guys climbing around in mechanical rooms – they are the ones who run real estate so when they get recognized, I think that is the biggest reward for me.”
One area Nasim seems extremely excited about is the new collaboration with other industry-related groups. Previously these groups had adverse relationships among each other that created debilitating roadblocks and prevented individual or group advancement. Nasim is now seeing a positive shift with synergies in the industry groups and the concept of “having different stakeholders working towards a similar goal, allowing us to have success in achieving wins which may not have occurred going it alone.” One example is the joint effort between BOMA, NAIOP and UDI (Urban Development Institute) jointly collaborating with the City of Calgary regarding issues surrounding new and existing real estate development near the railways. “If we can demonstrate success by collaboration it would be a huge win for everybody.”
A year from now when he reflects back on his role with BOMA, Nasim hopes to say that “BOMA influenced legislation for the positive benefit of our members on the Municipal Government Act with our earned seat at the table.”
At present, the Municipal Government Act (MGA) which focuses on governance, planning and development, and assessment and taxation, is being updated and modernized. The current MGA is one of Alberta’s largest pieces of legislation, containing 18 parts and more than 650 sections. The MGA provides the governance model for cities, towns, villages, municipal districts, specialized municipalities and other forms of local government. It lays the foundation for how municipalities operate, how municipal councils function and how citizens can work with their municipalities. Currently the MGA is being tabled, with results expected in Q2 or Q3 of 2016.
Reflecting on the local market conditions, Nasim is not naive to the current economic slowdown and the challenges that brings with it to Calgary’s workforce, property managers and building owners. “If we can maintain our membership, keep our events fun, our networking lunches full and people are still smiling at the 2016 year-end event – that would be a big year for BOMA Calgary.”
Nasim’s leadership, enthusiasm and approach to BOMA Calgary, BOMA Canada and the commercial real estate industry gives everyone a reason to smile.
Submitted on behalf of the BOMA Communications Committee