The New England Chapter of SIOR sponsored a joint evening event with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 at the Harpoon Brewery and Beer Hall in Boston. The event was both social and educational to inspire attendees to be more involved as a Big Brother or Sister. The two organizations were able to secure a private beer tasting room at the Harpoon Brewery of which 38 attendees from both organizations were presented. Many different beers were on tap for everyone but the focus was to celebrate National Mentoring Month and to share with the attendees how simple it can be to make a difference in a child’s life. The event ran from 6-8pm in the Tasting Room and guests were welcomed.
Caroline Krantz, Senior Director, Recruitment for BBBS was the focal person as well as Mike Giuttari, SIOR Chapter President and Greg Klemmer, Chapter Vice-President. The event was to help BBBS defend, inspire and empower the potential of young people. Greg Klemmer, SIOR has been an impactful volunteer of the Big Brothers. He offered his story and advice to the attendees.
After some social pleasantries and tastings, Mike welcomed the crowd and stated that this was the second annual event. He introduced both Caroline and Greg to give their stories on being a Big Brother or Sister. Additionally Dan Driscoll of Colliers, who was present, has also been a Big Brother over the years.
Greg Klemmer started with an overview of what SIOR is all about. He said that SIOR is a network but it’s primarily a professional designation. It is more like a fraternity but with quality brokers and the best brokers in the U.S. Many large development and landlord companies such as Pantatoni, Pro Logis, will only use SIOR designees in its line of business.
Then Greg transferred to his involvement with BBBS. He has been a volunteer for 33 years and started his journey mentoring a 12 year old boy with a mother and two boys in Charlestown. He would go to see the mother and take her out for Christmas to inspire her day. He remembered that prior to his involvement he was a commercial Boston broker running around Boston working on transactions and grinding away at the industry. But he needed more than transactional success, he needed a “cause.” He found out that he only needed to spend 2 hours a month with BBBS and realized that it was not a great deal of time involved. In fact, he looked forward to seeing his kid so he could mentor him. He realized that the time spent meant a lot to this boy who did not have a dad in his life. He felt that the Big Brother gets more out of the mentoring then the Little Brother. Greg exclaimed that the audience would not regret mentoring. Selfishly, mentoring makes you feel good and the kids feel good too. There’s a lot of kids, Greg said, looking for Big Brothers/Guys. There are many high executives in Boston’s financial sector that are involved in BBBS such as Jim Pallotta. Greg’s question was “where’s the real estate group?” He said that the real estate industry needs to step it up and be involved in BBBS. Greg mentioned that Dan Driscoll of Colliers was involved at a very young age as well.
Then Caroline Krantz, Senior Director of BBBS gave more detailed specifics. She thanked the SIOR Chapter for sponsoring the event. She said that it is more challenging to recruit guys to volunteer than women so there’s a shortage. The goal with the January mentoring month is to inspire more people to get involved with BBBS. There’s two programs; Community Base Program and Mentor 2.0. Caroline is a 20 year volunteer. She was a mentor to a Quincy kid who is now 30 years old, married with a kid and holds a Masters degree. Her kid learned about the BBBS program at school and she needed an adult in her life to help her since she was in a chaotic family with more pets than people in a small house. Caroline has kept in touch via Facebook and in fact had dinner with her Little about 5 weeks ago. The Little told BBBS that Caroline had a big impact in her life during her mentoring years but Caroline never knew that she was having that much of an impact. Being a BBBS is simple. The volunteer is not a babysitter nor a financial supporter nor a parent. It is about your time and advice for two hours a month. You are matched with 7-12 year olds in your community and you have fun. You give kids a role model. BBBS has hundreds of kids on a waiting list and they need guys to get involved. It’s low cost to no cost including taking a kid to low-cost to no cost events. You can take a child to a Red Sox game or to free museums, Blue Man Group, go for an ice-cream or just go for a walk. Greg said that he would take his kid to wash his car with him or have him keep score at his softball team games. It is that simple. BBBS has an Uber relationship as well and BBBS will pay for the Uber if you don’t have a car. It’s a successful and flexible program that only involves two hours a month.
Caroline then went on to discuss the Mentor 2.0 program. It is a different program and the fastest growing program with BBBS. It is focused on high school success and college preparation. They have Charter School relationships as well. Every kid has a mentor demand. Every freshman needs a mentor. There is a strict curriculum and its 1 on 1 mentor of the same gender. The program is once a week online platform during the school week. You work on the child’s future and you see the kid once a month between 5:30-7:30 pm at their school. You receive support from BBBS with current issues or ideas on what to do. The program measures success with confidence, 6 C’s. Child development is the focus. It’s about empowering, inspiring and supporting these kids. There is another office BBBS handles in Eastern MA with a local office. BBBS has a Rhode Island and Central MA location.
Greg then came back to share more of his experiences. He stated that the time commitment was not an issue. You can bring a kid back to your house and wash the car or watch sports on TV. Time is a non-issue and it is not a big deal to commit. Your job is to be there for a kid and not to be a babysitter. You need to just give back since there is no particular time in your life to give back. Greg’s own children got involved with Greg’s Little Brother, Billy. Billy would come over to the house for dinner and interact with his kids. Dan Driscoll told the audience that he spends three times a month with his Little for about two hours per visit. He goes to sport games with his Little.
Caroline then guided the audience with information to become a BBBS. She said that there is a form online and a paper application that is required to be completed. You need a sponsor and there is a required interview process. BBBS wants to get to know you so that they can “cherry pick” a kid that will match your likeness. She closed the program thanking everyone and asked that the attendees consider becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister.
Mike then announced this year’s MIT recipient, Mr. Charles Hope. Charlie is currently a MIT real estate graduate student majoring in real estate development and commercial investment sales. He will be completing his M.S. in Real Estate Development in June, 2019. His background is quite extraordinary. He is from Ft. Worth, Texas. He is a graduate of Texas A&M, then he joined the U.S. Air Force where he became a fighter pilot. He specialized in F16 Fighter jets. He has also obtained top U.S security clearance. He has competed in triathlons as well. On receiving the grant, he thanked SIOR and MIT for its support.
Mike then explained the genesis of the New England Chapter Scholarship Award. The scholarship is in its 12th year and named after Bob Holmes a former SIOR Chapter President and consummate real estate veteran. His son Garry also became an SIOR and has held numerous leadership roles with the Society. The award is to emulate Bob’s strong moral compass, ethics, real estate knowledge and thrust for continuing education.
This year’s recipient has all of these traits. The recipient has 6 years in residential and commercial real estate and has participated in many SIOR chapter events, golf outings and meetings. He started his career working at Goodrich Residential in Boston for 2 years. He then moved to RW Holmes for the last four years and specializes in commercial leasing. He plans to transfer over to investment sales. He plays goalie in hockey and is a graduate of Saint Michaels College in Colchester, Vermont. The recipient is Mike Ogasapian. Mike thanked the chapter for the award. He said that he wants to become an SIOR. He is registered for the November SIOR Atlanta Designation Courses and will be applying the $2,000 grant to the course. The SIOR courses will help him to fulfill the requirements to earn the SIOR designation. He thanked the chapter.
The event was celebrated until 8 pm. We want to again thank Vantage Builders, Inc. for being the sponsor for the evening.