Customer Feature: SIOR President-Elect Mark Duclos
This article is part of a new series featuring Rethink customers who are leading the way in commercial real estate.
Mark Duclos, President-Elect of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR), is no stranger to leadership.
In 1991, he co-founded Sentry Commercial, serving as the President ever since and leading the firm through the acquisition of a property management company in 2017 and start-up of its construction management company in 2018.
“When I jump in, I jump in with both feet,” Mark explained.
His time with SIOR has been no different.
After joining as a member 18 years ago, he quickly sought positions with greater impact and responsibility — serving as Treasurer, Vice President, and President of his local chapter, as well as Chairperson of multiple global committees.
He expects that experience to serve him well when he becomes SIOR’s President.
“Everything I did prepared me for this role,” Mark said. “This was the natural next step for me.”
As President-Elect, Mark is in the second year of a four-year process that will soon see him take SIOR’s top leadership position. Members of the organization’s governance group each serve a year as Vice President, President-Elect, and President before joining the ranks of Past Presidents.
“We have a strategic plan that guides how we operate and what we want to accomplish,” Mark explained. “It’s up to myself, our governance group and board of directors to insure that we execute that plan.”
The strategic plan consists of two primary goals:
- Increasing membership and member engagement
- Increasing brand awareness and communication
Mark and the rest of the SIOR organization also plan to increase international membership, particularly those in Europe, as well as increase member diversity.
But they face one major challenge — strict membership criteria.
“SIOR is made up of highly ethical, high-achieving, long-term brokers,” Mark said. “You have to have been in the business a minimum of five years, and you have to achieve a certain gross fee income depending on what region you’re in.”
And they refuse to lower those standards in hopes of obtaining new members.
“We don’t want to dilute the quality of the membership,” Mark said. “We are not an organization where you can just cut a check and become a member. You have to earn the right to be in SIOR, and we want to make sure we protect that quality.”
Attracting new members, then, becomes an exercise in demonstrating the organization’s value.
“When a high-performing member considers SIOR, their first question will be ‘Why do I need to join?’ and we need to have a great answer ready,” Mark said. “A major part of that value proposition is the relationships you develop, both personally and professionally. That’s what I appreciate most — that I’m surrounded by really, really good people who make me proud to be part of this organization.”
The next part of their plan — increasing diversity — involves actively encouraging members of underrepresented groups to join SIOR.
“We are not as diverse as we want to be,” Mark said. “We’re making a significant effort to change that in the near term.”
Part of that effort includes promoting commercial real estate as a viable career path.
“There are an awful lot of people who grow up without realizing commercial real estate is an option,” Mark said. “We have teamed up with an organization called Nexus, which introduces inner-city kids to commercial real estate, to show high school students that this is a real opportunity for them.”
They’re also focusing on diversity in their speaking engagements.
“When people look at us, we want them to be able to see themselves in our organization,” Mark said. “So, we’re being mindful of that when selecting speakers and populating panels.”
Finally, they’re creating a mentorship program for women.
“When we have women who are interested in either becoming brokers or SIORs, we reach out and connect them with female mentors who guide them through the process, nurture them, and develop them,” Mark explained.
At the end of the day, Mark hopes this, along with the other initiatives he’s pursuing, will provide him with an opportunity to give back to SIOR.
“It’s an honor to serve this organization because it has done so much for me,” he said.