The Power of Connection: Back to Business in a Post-Pandemic World

November 30, 2021

In a post-pandemic world, Valbridge strives to get back to making in-person connections in the real estate market and the global community.

Over the past 18 months or so, we’ve really come to appreciate the usefulness, ease, and capabilities of connecting online – not only from a remote learning and workflow standpoint but from a connection standpoint as well. As we diligently joined forces to battle the coronavirus pandemic – taking as many measures and health and safety precautions as possible to keep ourselves, our families, our clients, and our communities safe – we turned to technology to unite as a global force to stay connected. Platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet enable us to collaborate “screen to screen” (the closest thing to face-to-face) in real-time.

But as essential as virtual meetings are, technology isn’t without its shortcomings – and connecting via the computer comes with the inevitable screen fatigue and lost bits of human experience that can only take place in real-time. Meaning can be lost – especially when tens to thousands of participant’s faces are squished into a grid of thumbnails (and are less expressive), and attention spans can gradually wander back to social media feeds and multiple open tabs – after all, your disappearance into the ether is only a ‘turn camera off’ mouse-click away.

So, in addition to helping us unify during the pandemic, virtual meetings have also highlighted exactly what’s so effective about in-person meetings. That’s why we’re grateful that meeting in person is slowly but surely making its way back into reality.

Valbridge in the Office

Thanks to the due diligence of both our employees and partners, we at Valbridge Property Advisors are ecstatic to be meeting with our colleagues and clients once again in person both in the office and the field. With more than 200 MAI-designated commercial property appraisers, 675 staff members, and more than 80 office locations across the nation, our team couldn’t wait to reunite and extend handshakes that broke through the computer screen.

One small benefit we quickly came to realize: in-person connection is invaluable. How often are you able to truly convey your interest, emotion, enthusiasm, ideas, or feedback in an email? A one-line response, an exclamation point, a random emoji —deciphering meaning over text-based communication (even video) can be a minefield, especially when communicating between different cultures or across borders. We truly appreciate the ability to meet and collaborate with our professional connections. Whether that be to simply catch up or to review a property valuation, it’s all important!

Valbridge on the Road

As mentioned, we’re also pleased to be able to join our colleagues and partners safely and responsibly in the field once again, not only to educate others on Valbridge but to expand our wealth of knowledge in the various sectors of the CRE industry, as well. Over the next few months, our team will be out and about, across the nation, participating in various conferences, shows, and networking events to unite with industry leaders once again.

In November, we attended the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference in Las Vegas. Come February, you can find Valbridge in San Diego for the Mortgage Brokers Association CREF. At the beginning of the year, our Florida executives will be attending the Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning: The nation’s leading conference for estate planning professionals, offering unparalleled educational and professional development opportunities for all members touching each and every part of the estate planning process.

This specific program will cover topics of timely interest to attorneys, trust officers, accountants, charitable giving professionals, insurance advisors, elder law specialists, wealth management professionals, nonprofit advisors, and more. It’s our involvement with programs like Heckerling (and those aforementioned) – industry events which are so invaluable – that keep us eternally grateful for the ability to meet once again in person. They allow our team to connect, learn, grow, sharpen our skills, and continually evolve as professionals both in and outside of the Valbridge office walls.

Bridging Even More Connections

The Appraisal Institute has recently announced the creation of the University Relations Committee (URC), which is being chaired by Valbridge’s very own Ryan L. Zink, MAI, with our Florida offices. The mission of the URC will be creating, growing, and fostering relationships between the Institute and colleges and universities of all shapes and sizes across the country in order to connect with future AI professionals.

The roles and responsibilities of Ambassadors of the URC program (Ryan included) will include activities such as:

  • In-classroom promotion of Appraisal Institute materials
  • Informing students of internship and job opportunities aligned with AI member companies
  • Recruiting Appraisal Institute guest speakers within the college and university setting
  • Attending university job fairs
  • Providing information on Appraisal Institute Student membership opportunities
  • Providing information on scholarship opportunities
  • Assisting with state certification issues for real estate students
  • Promoting greater awareness of the AI Master Degree Program
  • Serving as a liaison between students and the Institute

The addition of the University Relations Committee – along with the many ways Valbridge Property Advisors continues to mark its presence in the community and the industry – is just another example of how we strive to strengthen our presence in the greater real estate market. Even more, it’s another example of how excited we are about getting back to meeting face-to-face once again!

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