As Chair of CoreNet Global for the last two years, David Kamen, MCR.h, Americas Real Estate Services Leader of Business Enablement at Ernst & Young LP (EY), had his eye squarely on the future of the association, and of corporate real estate.

No one could have predicted the global pandemic that would literally take the world by storm at the end of his term this spring, postponing the Global Summit in Singapore where he would have taken a well-deserved bow. And yet, one of Kamen’s key accomplishments as Chair had set CoreNet Global on a strong path toward addressing a future that would dictate new modes of learning, working and living.

CoreNet Global’s groundbreaking FutureForward 2025 didn’t call for social distancing, per se, but it did include as one of many prescient takeaways: CoreNet Global will leverage technology to establish a learning delivery model that focuses on methodologies and solutions that can be applied immediately.

And in what seemed like only days after the Singapore summit was postponed, CoreNet Global announced plans for APACLive, a virtual summit with much of the original summit content, presenters and courses that the summit had promised. About 1,000 people registered for the summit and between 250 and 400 people attended various sessions. The event provided a case study that was featured in Associations Now as an example of how to do it right.

“Because we’ve take a short-term view as well as a longer term strategic view, we have been able to address all these things; we had a head start,” Kamen said. “We were proactive. The pandemic will have a an impact on the organization, but we are in a strong position to manage throughout the crisis and come out of it soundly on the other end.”

Just prior to the pandemic, CoreNet Global was hitting on all cylinders.

Kamen says he was proud that membership levels were continuing to increase to new levels, now at more than 11,000; the learning program was completely updated and revamped to embrace new ways of learning, such as an online model, new recognition of Senior Leaders within CoreNet Global who have contributed for many years in a variety of ways, and young and emerging leader recognition at the three summits in North America, Asia/Pacific and Europe/Middle East/Asia.

And that’s not to mention FutureForward 2025, which analyzes the future of business, corporate real estate, and how CoreNet Global would best serve its members for the foreseeable future.

“I couldn’t be more proud of all that our Board and the CNG staff have been able to accomplish as well as executing on the longer-term strategic opportunities” Kamen said.

Now, Kamen is focusing on the short and long-term strategies and impacts of the pandemic.

“There will continue to be a strong focus on the employee experience, wellness, sustainability, and enabling employees to work at their best. But clearly there will be a focus on gathering and team working in an office presence, and space as a service rather than the traditional office space. Further, external factors such as transportation, travel, and personal well-being will have a significant impact on how and where people work.”

After having served as treasurer and president-elect, David will now serve out his remaining board term as Past Chair.

Michelle Myer, MCR.w, SLCR, VP Americas Real Estate, Oracle Corporation becomes chair during this chaotic period in the world, but she, too is focused on the future.

She started at Oracle more than 30 years ago.

“We were a much smaller company then,” she said. Her career began in facilities, but she now manages a real estate & facilities organization of 385 people, and a 9M RSF portfolio consisting of 180 locations in the U.S., Canada and Latin America.

Her tenure is impressive for the fact that so few people create such long-tenured careers at a single company, and because she was one of few women in corporate real estate at the time that her career began.

“I had amazing support along the way,” she said. “Diversity continues to grow and expand, both in corporate real estate and within CoreNet Global.”

And for her today, even as the leader of the organization, what has always been a core of CoreNet Global is still relevant: learning.

During the pandemic, Michelle sat in on a virtual discussion about how the crisis was going to drive changes in workplace design: operational impacts, re-examining communal spaces, concessions to privacy and personal space within the context of collaborative environments.

“It’s been amazing — this community of CoreNet Global; members have willingly shared knowledge and perspectives. CoreNet Global has always been known for networking, but people have been more forthcoming, even in virtual conversations at the local chapter level.”

When things settle down, Michelle looks to continue leading CoreNet Global along its journey.

“Virtualization is here to stay,” she said, noting that continuing to deliver value to the membership will be an increased challenge.

“We have our strategic initiatives laid out for us thanks to the work that was accomplished through FutureForward 2025,” she said. “The board and I have a lot to look forward to over the next two years!”