Pay It Forward: “My Goal Is To Be A Culture Curator”
Mindy Mcilroy, 52, Terranova Corporation/Miami Beach, FL
Mindy McIlroy began her career as an executive assistant in 1997 at Terranova, and is now the company’s president. In this role, she oversees all the day-to-day operations for the company’s diverse retail portfolio. Additionally, Mindy has led the company’s strategy through its foray into mixed-use and High Street retail, where Terranova has a leading position as the largest single retail property owner on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach and Miracle Mile in Coral Gables.
Job Title: President
Area of expertise or focus: Commercial Property Leasing, Marketing & Management
What about your current role/position at the company are you most happy with? (working on projects, your impact, team members, etc). In my current position with Terranova, I feel both valued and respected by my team. You have to give respect to earn respect, and I believe my team exemplifies this beautifully. I am proud of the work environment and culture I have helped build out over my close to 25 years with Terranova. Overall, I oversee all the day-to-day operations for the company’s retail and restaurant portfolio. My goal is to be a culture curator by conceptualizing, researching and developing innovative new concepts in order to develop communities over time.
What is the best piece of advice you have received that has helped you succeed in your industry and what advice do you have specifically for the next generation? The best piece of advice I have received over the years that has helped me succeed in my industry is to find a mentor in your chosen field. Throughout my career, I have been blessed with three unique and knowledgeable mentors; each has had a large impact on me and played a role in shaping who I am in this industry. It is important to listen and learn all you can from your mentor, as well as taking the opportunity to soak up the knowledge all the members of your team have to offer to better you and your career.
For the next generation, my best advice is to find and stick with an employer who shares your values and work ethic. Too many young people today jump from job to job, chasing what they perceive to be better opportunities elsewhere with a mild salary increase, when they should dive deep into their positions and seek out adding value and growth opportunities in their current organization.
I will always advocate for younger people to take up careers in CRE. This is a very rewarding industry, as financially as it is mentally stimulating. There is never a dull moment in CRE as the industry is always evolving.
My advice to get a foothold in the industry is to take any available position that will get you in the door. The CRE industry is not welcoming to people without experience, so it is best to get in with a firm to add value to your CRE resume, prove yourself within the firm and take advantage of growth opportunities within the organization. My own career is a perfect example of this advice applied: I started my CRE career as an Executive Assistant to the Owner of Terranova, transferred out of Admin to the Leasing Department, and, after a series of promotions, I am now the firm’s President.
Please share an initiative that you are working on that you are most proud of. I am very proud and passionate about the track record of success we have built since launching the firm in 1980. Today, I am excited about the opportunities to catapult the business and the way we can leverage technology to make better decisions and have data at your fingertips.
In your opinion, what takeaways did we learn from the COVID crisis? The COVID crisis taught us many things, but one of my biggest takeaways is to be flexible and practice patience. With the CRE market always fluctuating and changing, I knew how to be patient and work with the cycle rather than against it. The COVID crisis was a large-scale implementation of this flexible practice; during the lockdown, people were not initially traveling to Lincoln Road or Miracle Mile, major Terranova stakeholders, but returned to the scenes quickly when businesses on both strips began to take advantage of outdoor dining. Further, with people working remotely, there was no need for office space. We are seeing a shift in this now that a “new normal” is being established and the cycle is rising again.
Another key takeaway is to keep company core values in mind. An immediate solution may not be imminent, but by sticking to our core values as a company and advising our clients as best as we could, we were able to weather the storm.
What three key terms would you use to describe your work mindset?
Never stop learning – Knowledge is power and if you want to be the best in your field, you will continue to educate yourself.
Take every opportunity – Every missed opportunity could have been a yes if you only asked. Do not let the fear of hearing the word no stop you from putting yourself out there.
Put your best foot forward – A positive attitude and dedication to hard work can go a long way, especially in an industry that is always changing. One thing that should be constant is your commitment to the final product.