Winter 2012
Best Practices Training for Leasing Professionals

SRR’s Specialty Leasing Designation Certificate Program sharpens essential professional skills.

Whether you’re a new specialty leasing manager or you have been working in the industry for a long time, Specialty Retail Report’s Specialty Leasing Designation Certificate Program offers a wealth of learning and networking opportunities.

The program, launched at the Specialty Retail Summit in Las Vegas last spring, will welcome its first “graduating class” at this year’s Summit. The Summit is held just prior to SPREE, the industry tradeshow hosted by Specialty Retail Report.

Program inception

Duffy Weir, Director of Education at Specialty Retail Report, said the idea for the program was sparked about a year ago when Pinnacle Publishing, SRR’s parent company, gathered a focus group of industry leaders who have since become the magazine’s advisory board.

“Through our discussions it became evident that there was an opportunity to develop a basic training to teach best practices in specialty retail. During our advisory board meeting we formulated the generic curriculum, and it evolved into six training modules with 15 courses in total.”

The modules include legal, leasing/sales and marketing, sponsorship, retail, documentation and deal making. All courses are taught by a lineup of industry leaders. “The program teaches the fundamentals of specialty leasing from a developer’s perspective. The content is not based on one person’s view, but [on] how all developers view a specialty leasing topic,” Weir said.

Classes are taught via webinar, along with in-person seminars held at the Summit. Courses can be completed online. It takes about a year to complete the certification program. Of the current enrollees, most attended the summit, took five courses and are completing the course requirements through webinars or online work. These students are expected to finish their coursework at the 2012 summit to be held in Las Vegas on April 2-3.

Participants who complete the 15 courses will be recognized at a graduation ceremony to be held shortly after the 2012 summit. Nearly 100 professionals are expected to be part of the first graduating class.

Why get your certification?

Weir noted that in addition to educational value, the program provides confidence on the job and opportunities for peer-to-peer networking.

The in-person classes taught at the Summit allow attendees to network with peers and participate in a Q&A session. While the webinars allow participants to ask questions as well, Weir said that many attendees find it’s a different experience to hear other people’s questions, issues and opinions in a live setting. “Engagement is a critical component of the learning process,” Weir said.

Jessica Mangual, who handles specialty retail for Virginia’s Springfield and Manassas malls at Vornado Realty Trust, agreed that meeting others in the industry has been an integral and useful part of the program. “The classes have been fantastic and I’ve enjoyed listening to people from all over the country talk about [what] works for them and their centers. Because I am still relatively new in the specialty leasing world, it’s been a great way to get in there and learn the basics, meet people who are doing the same thing I’m doing and share ideas. It helps facilitate the idea that we’re all on the same team.”

As an extension of the program, Weir said a masters program is being considered with more advanced coursework that would appeal to someone with experience in a leadership role.

“I think that education is the greatest gift you can give an employee,” Weir said. “My hope is that people walk away and feel that they have more knowledge and therefore more confidence when working with an entrepreneur or a seasoned retailer. In today’s economic environment you really need confidence.”

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