ACROSS: WHAT IS THE IDEA BEHIND IMCR?
Anna Zachara-Widła and Michał Miazek: The main idea of the International Mentoring Community of Real Estate (IMCR) is to learn, to gain knowledge and inspiration from the best in the real estate & retail industry. We decided to build a community of experts, who can motivate each other to get the most out of shared experiences. Generally, the basic idea of mentoring is to be advantageous to both sides. Both mentors and mentees can gain from such long-lasting, unique relationships. However, our mentoring is not ordinary. The mentoring programs are specially and individually designed by us and each mentor assumes their role for 12 months total. We strongly believe that well prepared and long-lasting mentoring relationships are the most precious ones. Additionally, we have decided to build an international community. In the first stage – we aim to bring together international mentors with Polish experts who then will join our programs as mentees. Polish real estate & retail industry has been going through substantial changes right now, thus we need to develop and learn from the best.
ACROSS: WHY ARE WE IN NEED OF MENTORING NOWADAYS?
Zachara-Widła and Miazek: We are now going through rough changes. The COVID-19 pandemic brought a big revolution in real estate & retail and forced us to change our way of thinking. Now, we are facing an economic crisis and a war at our borders. We strongly believe that nowadays the kind of growth we offer is a must. Practical knowledge that can be shared between professionals from different parts of the globe is now the most valuable kind of experience we can get. In our opinion, gaining knowledge from the best by being a part of mentoring programs can be one of the most effective ways to learn how to adapt to such a fast changing environment.
ACROSS: WHAT PARTNERS DO YOU HAVE ON BOARD?
Zachara-Widła and Miazek: First of all – we’ve got our mentors who have believed in the IMCR idea and us, the first one being our International Ambassador Chris Igwe. Everyone who works in this industry knows him. He is an extraordinary retail expert who has worked with and been an advisor for the biggest retail brands. Managing of shopping centre’s can be learned from Shannon Quilty, who has experience in managing different kinds of schemes all over the world, e.g. Turkey, Russia and the US. Last but not least, Ingela & Anna from Sweden share the strong belief that building a sustainable world is not impossible.
ACROSS: HOW DO THE MENTORING PROGRAMS LOOK LIKE?
Zachara-Widła and Miazek: Nowadays, we can find three crucial and important topics in the IMCR’s offer. In cooperation with our mentors, we created 3 unique mentoring programs, each based on a different topic and mentor’s experience.
Building retail brands
If we would like to learn about building retail brands, brands’ strategies or how to build landlord-brand relationships, Chris Igwe’s “Cross-border retail” program would be the best one to choose. As Chris Igwe is one of the biggest and most experienced minds in the retail industry, it would be an absolutely unique opportunity to gain from Chris during this 12-month-long adventure.
Managing shopping centers
The other proposition is based on one of the toughest issues in the real estate & retail industry, and refers to the managing of shopping centers and common difficulties that comes with it. Here, we can find support within another 12-month mentoring program provided by Shannon Quilty. Shannon can give mentees practical and unique knowledge regarding scheme’s managing including tougher issues like the relationships between landlords and brands, facility management, communication, and crisis management.
The third topic, which we all know how crucial it is for us now, is sustainability. That’s why we have decided to build the mentoring program in accordance to that. This is where we meet up with two great sustainability experts – Anna Bergstrom & Ingela Ljung, straight from Sweden who can provide us with the most exceptional and innovative ways of building sustainable brands and businesses. Anna knows the industry very well as she was once the director of the first second-hand shopping mall in the world.
Each program brings something different and is based on different goals and ideas. It depends on what we are facing nowadays and what our professional path is. The number of mentoring programs will definitely grow and we will surely touch on many more crucial real estate & retail issues. More mentoring programs and great experts will be available soon.
ACROSS: PLEASE GIVE US AN EXAMPLE ON HOW THE MENTORING WORKS.
Zachara-Widła and Miazek: It is very important to mention that our mentoring programs are not only based on meeting with mentors. It is much more. We believe that such unique relationships should build something more. That’s why we have decided to widen the mentoring programs by additional factors such as common mentor and mentee publications, articles promoted in the industry media or webinars and conferences speeches. We also plan to provide pan-European research projects in which both mentors and mentees will be involved. It is all because we believe such great 12-month mentor and mentee relationships should also end with something more, something measurable and memorable. We, as IMCR, will widely promote all of these activities to also support each mentor and mentee`s image among real estate and retail professionals.