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The 5 Lessons I Just Learned From Some Of The Coolest & Most Innovative Corporate Real Estate Executives

ITRA Global’s spring 2019 conference in Santa Monica, California featured a guest panel of some of the coolest and most innovative corporate real estate executives. Below you will find the lessons I learned from this fascinating panel.

1. How To Innovate With WorkPlace Strategy

According to one panelist, companies such as Cisco, Farmers, Lexus, Mazda, Thales, Toyota and Zurich are creating a roadmap for change by engaging employees in the process early, and utilizing workplace psychology, to establish preferences and innovate a successful strategy that provides a meaningful workplace experience.


Elise Luckham, VP/Director of Real Estate, First American Financial (4th from left), Anita Kamouri, Co-Founder and VP, lometrics (5th from left), Steve Stiesmeyer, Director of Corporate Real Estate, Woodward (6th from the left), Tim Cowell, Director of Workplace Experience, Headspace (6th from right), Vicki Fenton, VP CORE Services, Viacom (5th from right), with the ITRA Global Board Of Directors.


2. How To Keep Calm While Growing Rapidly

Another panelist just added 140 employees in less than a year. Co-working space is being utilized as a short term workplace solution to accommodate rapid growth in multiple U.S. and European markets. To help remain calm and focused, the company hosts daily meditation which is attended by forty percent of employees.


3. How To Consolidate Different Work Cultures

One panelist consolidated different work cultures into a single building and said the key was listening to the population. Some floors were designed to be open with cubicles that are magnetic and writable and other floors are more enclosed with different furniture to accommodate the work being done. Collaboration between divisions is being fostered with a café and ongoing activities, including professional entertainers providing concerts for employees on a rooftop deck.

4. How To Optimize For The Future

Yet another panelist described the process of optimizing an outdated headquarters. His analysis revealed a need for a design to encourage efficient work flow and communication for a multi-generational workforce that would result in increased productivity and an enhanced work experience for employees.  This was best achieved at a new & expanded headquarters building optimized for the future.

5. How To Measure Success

While there are various measures of corporate real estate success such as productivity, reductions to the size of the corporate real estate portfolio, or increase to the headcount through flexible workspace, the ultimate measure is the retention and attraction of top talent.