TAG’s October Networking Adventures


The October Tenant Advisory Group Executives Breakfast and Executives Luncheon saw quite the turnout! Attendees from a variety of industries came together to build their individual networks and learn how they can work together to enhance their business results. Thanks to all who attended!


TAG Executives Breakfast Guest List

Faheem Ahmad, COO, Technical Doctor

Sam Barhoumeh, Managing Director and CEO, Ready Networks

Rob Bisceglie, CEO, Action for Healthy Kids

Jon Borg-Breen, Co-Founder, Symbiont Group

Erryn Cobb, Co-Founder, Fetch Public Relations

Gina Cocking, Managing Director, Colonnade Securities LLC.

Kim Eberl, CEO, Motion PR

Jonathan Eisler, Managing Director, Perspectives Organizational Consulting Group, President, Association of Consultants to Nonprofits

Adam Glazer, Managing Partner; Schoenberg, Finkel, Newman and Rosenberg, LLC

Mitchell Gordon, Co-Founder, Bradford and Gordon, LLC

Jeff Hirner, Founder and COO, One North Interactive

Eric Lazar, Partner and Lead Evangelist, SpeedPro Chicago Loop

Stephanie LoVerde, Jameson Sotheby’s

Tyler Mose, CEO, Indirap Productions

Sagar Pandaya, CEO, Middleground

Grigory Pekarsky, Managing Broker and Partner, Vesta Preferred Realty

Dan Porcaro, CEO, Porcaro, Stolarek and Mete, LLC

Jason Randolph, CEO and Founder, Savant

Paul Raya, Attorney, Cook Alex

Scott Seagren, Vistage Chair

Robert Szafaraowicz, Vice President, Buzz

Jeremy Waitzman, Partner, Walker Morton LLP

Michael Ward, Riley, Safer, Holmes and Cancila LLP

Greg Woodard, Principal, Solve


TAG Executives Luncheon Guest List

Jon Adler, Managing Partner, Adler Law

Stuart Baum, President, Large Pond

Bob Berland, President, Berland Communications, Co-Founder, Hire Elite Athletes

Bill Bolotin, Partner, Funkhouser, Vergosen, Liebman and Dunn

Brad Factor, President, Chicago Messenger Service

Jerry Holisky, Managing Partner, AGDG

Rashod Johnson, President and Owner, Ardmore/Roderick Group

Michael LaVista, CEO, Caxy Interactive

Kim Robinson, President, Frontline

Sapan Shah, CEO, Flagship

Ann Simms, CFO & COO, American Planning Association

Karen Villaflor, President, Algonquin Bank

TAG’s August Networking Adventures


Tenant Advisory Group had an exciting August, hosting multiple events including an Executive’s Breakfast, Executive’s Luncheon and Networking Boat Ride. TAG is committed to making connections that matter and hosts these events for the purpose of helping those in our network grow their businesses by coming together in relaxed, intimate environments designed to help build new strategic relationships.

Thanks to all who attended!

TAG Executives Breakfast Guest List

Eddie Lou, CEO, Co-Founder, Shiftgig; Rhonda V. Jensen, President, Jensen Litigation Solutions; Keith Glantz, President and Chief Creative Officer, Glantz Design; James Taylor, Managing Partner, Taylor Group; Stephen G. Daday, Klein, Daday, Aretos & O’Donoghue, LLC; John Fakhoury, CEO, Framework Communications; David Crowell, Managing Director, CEO, rmc International; Nick Espinosa, Chief Security Fanatic, Security Fanatics & BSSi2 LLC; Craig Castelli, CEO, Saber Hill Advisors; Mark Meyer, President, ICI Staffing; Michael Erin, CEO, Progressive Management; Fletcher Boyle, VP of Business Development and Strategy, Chicagoland Smile Group; Amber Autumn, Business Development, Summit Design + Build LLC; Daniel Porcaro, Managing Partner, Porcaro Stolarek Mete Partners, LLC; Adam J. Glazer, Schoenberg Finkel Newman & Rosenber, LLC; Tyler E. Mose, CEO, Indirap Productions; Jim Anderson, President, Switchfast; Andrea Fox, Managing Director,

TAG Executives Luncheon Guest List

Stephanie Storkel, COO, Pedersen & Houpt; David Diamond, Partner, Kutchins Robbins & Diamond; Haskel Weiss, President, TWG Benefits; Jennifer Masi, Partner, Torque Digital; Bridget Brennan, Founder and CEO, Female Factor; Dan Walsh, CEO, Aurora Management Partners; Steve Dinelli, CEO, Blackbird Garage; Rich Bartell, CFO, 8th Light; Tom Patterson, Managing Partner, Patterson Law; Adam Glazer, Managing Partner, Schoenberg, Finkel, Newman & Rosenberg LLC; Brian Gurber, Partner, Pokorny & Marks LLC; Lisa Mirabelli, Business Performance Advisor, Insperity; Morrie Elstein, Cendrowski Corporate Advisors; Joanna Sobran, CEO, MXOTech; Jonathan Rothstein, Senior VP, MB Bank; Colleen Warner, CEO, LulaFit; Laurel Bellows, Managing Partner, Bellows and Bellows; Margaret Pagel, Partner, 8th Light; Irwin Cohen, CEO, Affiliated Equities.

TAG Networking Boat Ride Guest List

Josh Golden, CEO, Table XI; Tim Schumm, Founder, Carver Peterson; Joanna Sobran, CEO, MXOTech; Bruce Johnstone COO, Apex Design/Build; Dave LeTourneau, COO, Gregg Communications; Jordan Matyas, Managing Partner, 1818 Advocacy Group; Mark Meyer, CEO, ICI Staffing, E&M Development; Jim Anderson, President, Switchfast; Tim Smith, Managing Principal and COO, Catalyst Consulting; Tom Goldblatt, Founder, Ravinia Capital; Larry Levy President and Founder, CFO Options Inc.; Amber Autumn, Business Development, Summit Design + Build, LLC; Scott Nicholson CEO, KindredOnore; Tyler Mose, CEO, Indirap Productions; Pierce Hutchings, Partner, Club1 Hotels; Melanie DeCaprio, CEO, New Sky Strategies; Steven Thomas, CEO, BizIntro; Morrie Elstein, Cendrowski Corporate Advisors; Dr. Gabriel Martinez-Diaz, Dermatologist, CompHealth; Jonathan Rothstein, Senior Vice President of Commercial Banking, MB Financial Bank; Dave Stolarek, Partner, PSM Partners; Greg Fenton, CEO, VirDocs; Samuel P. Gussis, Managing Partner, Gussis Lichtenfeld & Alexander LLC; Grant Gochnauer, Co-Founder and CTO, Vodori Inc; Sanjay Sharma, Co-Founder, Bridge; George DePalma, CEO, DePalma Group Architects and Design; Andrew D. Bell, Spain, Spain and Varnet, P.C.; Kaitlin H. Reimann, Co-Founder, uBack; Sam Barhoumeh, Managing Director, ReadyNetworks; Joel Wicks, CFO, Belly Card; Brian Kasal, CEO, Four Star Wealth Advisors; Jay Breeden, COO, ACT Dental Practice Coaching; Becka Bates, CEO, Bates Moran Design; Michael Ward, Partner, Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila; Doug Harris, CEO, Kaleidoscope Group; Pete Cunningham, CEO, CCO Healthcare Partners; Elizabeth Peterson, CEO and Founder, Eastwood Group; Stuart Baum, CEO, Larger Pond; Alap Shah, Co-Founder, SoMe Connect; Paul Raya, CEO, Cook Alex Law; Angelika Coghlan, Founder, Success Catalyst; Stefan Birrer, CEO and Founder, Phoenix 2P; Brendan Flanigan, CEO and Founder, Smark Labs; Jim Mattei, Sandler Sales

Bill Himmelstein Moderates Panel at TechWeek

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At the 2017 Chicago TechWeek, Bill Himmelstein was a moderator for the Building Company Equity panel at the TechWeek Chicago Launch Startup Showcase.

Launch is the place to see exciting companies pitch, and to learn about different business models in the trending, local tech ecosystem. This event is the place where future hero companies get discovered, and it provides an atmosphere for early startups to meet mentors, obtain professional evaluation and global recognition. It features the best entrepreneurs and their businesses in front of regional and local angel and VC investors.


Techweek photos 2017 - Tenant Advisory Group

Techweek photos 2017 - Tenant Advisory Group (1)

How to Maximize Your Office’s Collaboration

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An organization’s greatest asset is its people, and success is often defined by the team’s ability to work together to yield great results. This new collaborative mentality has manifested itself in a complete overhaul of office design. Fortune 500 companies have invested in unique spaces featuring everything from coffee bars to tiki bars.

Your company might not have the budget of Google or Grubhub, but there are plenty of changes you can seek out to optimize your space to encourage knowledge sharing.

Plan for Unplanned
The founder of Pixar attributes much of the company’s success on building a space for “unplanned collaboration”; you never know where a business-changing meeting will take place, so create spaces that allow for unexpected meetings. Open work stations coupled with cafe-like vignettes and well-stocked coffee and soda machines are better for creativity than cube walls and scheduled conference rooms.

Invest in Collaborative Technology
Having the right tools available throughout the office and accessible to everyone will allow your team to stay in motion while working together. Both planned and impromptu meetings will become more efficient and productive if the best collaborative technology is ready for employees to share and build on their ideas.

Balance “We” and “Me”
When redesigning your office – or choosing a new one – to fit a collaborative-based model, remember to still leave private space for employees to work independently. Since not everyone works in the same way, have an open conversation with your staff to find the best solution for your company’s productivity.

For more information about how you can redesign or find a new office space to best encourage collaboration and teamwork, contact Tenant Advisory Group.

5 Reasons a Good Commercial Real Estate Broker Adds Tremendous Value

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Choosing the right office space is one of the most important steps a small business owner can take, which is why it’s crucial to have an expert commercial real estate (CRE) broker with local ties to guide you through the process. Not only will a CRE professional handle every detail of the transaction, they also provide invaluable insights, connections and business support that will ultimately benefit both your top and bottom line.

Access to a Bigger, Better Market

In a city as big as Chicago, there are literally tens of thousands of places your business could call home. Active brokers make it part of their job to be in constant communication with local owners, developers and investors providing them with knowledge of both on- and off-market opportunities. They are your guide to locating the right space for you opening up infinitely more possibilities for your business.

Realistic Views of the Space

Commercial brokers work hand-in-hand with the best real estate service providers – architects, contractors, interior designers, etc. – to provide a complete picture of space capabilities and potential costs. Can a 100-year-old converted warehouse handle a gut renovation? What are the sign requirements in a specific ward? Is it worth it to put in new windows? An experienced broker will be able to get the answers.

More Affordable Monthly Payment

Everything is negotiable (from tenant improvements to rent credits and even access to first-class amenities) if you know the right way to ask. A CRE professional tuned into the local market will know the moves to ensure you are getting the most out of your monthly payments.

A Better Understanding of Your Contract

As a business owner, it’s imperative that you have a thorough understanding of a document before you sign it — how can you be expected to comprehend the industry specific terms and legalese that fill a commercial lease? Chicago CRE brokers live and breathe this language every day, creating much-needed guides in these complicated transactions. In fact, Tenant Advisory Group negotiates 25 transactions per year, working with approximately four to six different properties for each deal!

Support Beyond the Lease

CRE brokers work with dozens of professionals across a variety of industries on a daily basis, carefully curating a network of trusted individuals. A close relationship with your broker can provide you access to the top attorneys, accountants, bankers, insurance brokers, financial advisors, web designers and IT companies in Chicago.

For more information about how Tenant Advisory Group can be your partner in all of your commercial real estate needs, click here.

5 Critical Traits Of A Successful Real Estate Broker

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It’s common knowledge in this business that most real estate agents will fail to succeed in their first year. After struggling to get by with little business, most would-be agents decide to move on. Aside from things like working harder than anyone else or making it a point to learn daily, there are a few key traits that successful brokers always put into practice. If you can work to embody these five traits today, you’ll be a much better broker or agent tomorrow.

1. Develop more humanoid relationships

Starting with what is perhaps the most obvious, a successful real estate broker needs to be a polished sales person who knows how to build trusting, lasting relationships with owners and the decision makers of businesses. The twist here, however, is that commercial tenants are no longer just looking for square footage – they’re after an experience. The successful broker will shift their thinking from B2C to more like H2H – “Human to Human.” Treating your tenants as merely “renters” won’t get you very far. Treating people like people, however, will.

Successful brokers find the unique opportunities to connect with their prospective tenants by not just finding them a space — they’ll find ways to make the tenant’s business dreams a reality.

How do you put this into practice? Think about what it is that you are undertaking to bring an answer to the future needs of your client. This may require a few lunches or coffee meet-ups, but taking the time to really see your client’s business from their point of view allows you to switch your approach from “Here’s a wonderful space that has 10 private offices and that conference room you’re looking for”¦” to “The closed-off office space will give your agents the privacy they need to close deals faster, getting you 100x closer to making your dreams of running a Fortune 500 company a reality!

2. Become one with your market

We’ve touched on this before — especially for new agents, you don’t need to be well-versed in every market. You just need to be an expert in yours. The best opportunities are often less advertised, so if you know the market you’re in, you’ll know how to negotiate a great deal and always have the answer for both your client and the landlord. You’ll know the ins and outs on which landlords are the best to work with, and those who may be problematic. You’ll also get the most out of each negotiation, and know which spaces are available.

How do you put this into practice? Make time to attend 1-2 networking events in your city each week. They don’t all have to be specifically related to commercial real estate, they can be from any industry. Get to know your restaurant or hospitality scene, the legal community, the banking community, the financial advisor community, and the CPA community. Grab a friend if you want, and meet and connect with folks outside of your social circle.

3. Become a keen project manager

It’s the broker’s job not only to find the client and negotiate a great deal, but to coordinate the architect, contractor, furniture vendor, phone & data broker, IT resource, banker/ financing, attorney, and anyone else involved in the transaction. Being able to keep everyone on track and driving towards the same goal is no easy feat.

How do you put this into practice? Picture yourself as the quarterback (of the entire process) and you have the ball in your hands to throw to a teammate (project manage the entire process.) Dedicate your time to one play (task) at a time, and give it your full attention. Set deadlines and expectations with your teammates early on, and you’ll be on your way to victor.

4. Practice full transparency with the client

The old school role of the real estate agent was to act as the “gatekeeper” for any and all information, and keep the client in the dark. Today, with access to the Internet, the average buyer or seller of real estate is able to view practically all of the information which used to be the exclusive domain of the real estate agent. Use this to your advantage and get in the mindset of collaboration.

How do you put this into practice? Don’t hide anything from your client. If they have questions, address them head-on. Always create an open, welcoming environment and share information freely. The more your clients know about real estate the better you look.

5. Build a solid team

It’s bold yet foolish to think you can do anything alone. Being successful often requires the help of others.

How do you put this into practice? Recognize your strengths and weaknesses. Maybe you’re fantastic and making connections with hundreds of people a week, but your organizational skills would make anyone cringe. Hire someone who can help. Maybe it just means bringing on an excited intern to help with some of your filing and emails. Whatever it is, do it.

It’s a rare profession that requires these five skill sets to succeed. If you see areas where you can improve, work them into your daily practice slowly. Pick one or two of these traits to work on each month, and hopefully, you’ll see improvements in your business.

Why Giving is Better Than Receiving

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“Giving starts the receiving process.” – Jim Rohn

The quote above speaks volumes to us over at TAG. Like so many of you, our business is built on meaningful relationships. Being able to grow relationships is an incredible talent and is so important to fostering professional success.

Yet, when most people go about this, the number one mistake I see is where a person jumps right in with the expectation that they’re going to “get” something from the other person. Imagine all the times when you’ve been introduced to someone: Do you go into a conversation with expectations? Maybe you struggle to connect with the other person, and you feel like you’re not getting anywhere.

If any of these apply to you, then it might be time to reassess your efforts. Here’s why giving is better than receiving:

Being able to deliver a great experience for someone is the best thing you can give.

When building any relationship, it’s never about what you can get from someone. It’s not even about what you think the other person needs.

Building a solid relationship is about creating an impactful experience for the other person. Every time you engage with someone, think about your interaction from their perspective. When you take this approach, the other person becomes more comfortable with you, they feel appreciated, they’re receptive to you and they become more responsive.

If you can give the other person a valuable experience, then you’ve committed the single most important feat: You’ve genuinely served another person without any expectation. And since experiences are unique, this is quite a difficult thing to master.

Try it out:

The next time you meet someone new, try to see the interaction through their eyes. Get a reading for how they think. Ask them questions. Be genuine and real in your interaction. It’s not easy, but you can start this ASAP.

Exercise: Pick one relationship you’d really like to foster. Take some time and figure out what makes them tick. Then give them something of value – it’s up to you to figure out what that is. Maybe it’s an email introduction between them and another person that can positively change the course of their business. Or, maybe it’s giving someone an hour of your time to serve as a mentor.

The more we give to people in a valuable and unique way, the more we can create a meaningful network of relationships which is beneficial for everyone.

Happy Holidays!

The 7 Habits of Successful New Real Estate Agents

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You have a shiny new license in hand and are ready to conquer the real estate landscape! The median age in real estate is now 57 years old, which may cause young agents to have a difficult time getting clients or referrals – or being taken seriously by peers. Whether you’re a recent graduate or a couple of years into the profession, these are the seven habits you’ll want to adopt in order to be perceived as a driven professional with longevity.

1. Always, always, always take notes
Learning should be your top focus, and a great way to be successful at this is to take notes – on everything. Jot down bullet points on how to process vital client paperwork. Mark down the steps on invoicing. Keep a list of your clients’ favorite restaurants. Write down the steps on how to work the office coffee maker. Also, if you’re talking to someone you should be taking notes. It doesn’t matter if it’s Google Docs, Evernote, your iPad or a trusty pen and paper – find a way to write stuff down.

2. Choose your brokerage firm wisely
Spend some time looking into a brokerage firm that’s right for you. Get a sense of the overall culture – talk to as many other agents in each firm you’re evaluating as you can. Keep in mind that a big named company might not always be the answer. Ask yourself – is the firm focused on growth? Or are they content with what works now? Likewise, make sure you are assigned the right mentor. In the end, align yourself with an organization and mentor that will support your success and goals.

3. This isn’t the “Devil Wears Prada”…
But this isn’t a Sandals vacation either. Appearances do matter. Sure, that C-level exec may march around the office in a salmon-colored polo shirt and cargo shorts, but that doesn’t mean you should. Fair or not, your clothes, your hair – it all makes a difference. As a junior-level employee it really matters. Not just for how others see you, but how you see yourself. You only get one chance to make a first impression. You’ll take yourself and your job more seriously when you dress better than your current job requires.

4. Stay curious and be motivated
If you aren’t motivated to do your best, you’re wasting your organization (and your clients’) time as well as your own. Ignored phone calls, deals that fall-through, losing out at the negotiation table – these are all things that can happen almost on a daily basis. It’s easy to beat yourself up and fall into the dark hole of apathy. Remember – don’t be too hard on yourself. Approach each experience with an open mind and see it as an opportunity to learn.

5. Talk less, listen more
When you’re in the company of others, listen more. As the Greek philosopher Epictetus once wrote, “We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Be present and in the moment, whether you’re out with your boss or with a client. Keep your ears open – opportunities and ideas can often time spring out of nowhere.

6. Network
This is an incredibly powerful tool. Pick 2-3 times each month (or a week if you’re really a go-getter!) to attend a networking event in your city. While you’re there, keep your elevator pitch handy; however, just speak to people as you normally would. Let the conversation flow naturally. When you feel like an interaction has reached its end, don’t be afraid to politely excuse yourself. There’s nothing wrong with telling the other person “I’ve really enjoyed chatting and I’m short on time, so I’m going to make my way around the room before I go. Let’ grab coffee next week, so we can dive deeper into how your grandmother’ property is driving her bonkers.”

7. At the end of the day, just be patient
You can hold yourself in a confident manner. You can be organized and dressed professionally. You can be an expert at communicating with clients. You can have the right mentor at the right firm. However, at the same time, you’re still young. There may be times where you’re overlooked for a promotion or a new client. It’s not fair but it’ll happen. You can’t control how you’re perceived but you can control your reaction. Wear a smile, put in the work, be gracious and opportunities can – and will – fly your way.

[New Episode, S1:E2] Commercial Real Estate: What I Know Now and Wish I Knew Then

In a time where the commercial real estate industry is as fast-paced and as dynamic as ever, having helpful insight and advice about what’s important and what’s working (or not) can help anyone learn as they go. We’ve launched an all-new series with MeetAdvisors.com – “Commercial Real Estate: What I Know Now and Wish I Knew Then.”

Bill is leading this monthly series and explores the dos and don’ts for business owners when seeking commercial real estate. Coming from those who have been there and done that, this show seeks to inform those who will be seeking space for the first time or even those who already have gone through the process but could benefit from someone else’ successes and failures.

This week Bill spoke with Ed Momkus, Managing Partner of Momkus McCluskey. Momkus McCluskey is a full-service law firm based in the Chicagoland area that specializes in the representation of small and medium-sized businesses. Ed and his team assist in cases involving business law, real estate, healthcare law, family law, and many more areas!

We’re aiming to bring you two new videos each month and will be sharing each episode with you as they appear. For more information and to see other great content, visit www.MeetAdvisors.com.

How to Keep a Positive Brand Image in Real Estate



The commercial real estate industry is much smaller than you would think. Networking events and LinkedIn allow for everyone to know everyone else – or at the very least, have mutual acquaintances. Because of this, it is imperative to promote while protecting your image when dealing with colleagues, clients, or your competition. Failure to do so can result in lost business.

Negotiate Fairly

Brokers want to please their clients – no question about it. However, if your client’ idea is to attempt to throw out lowball bids for property, you will be in trouble. It only takes one client who operates this way to ostensibly ruin your brand. By only bidding garbage, relationships you have made in the past will soon begin to distrust you for other deals. It is far more important to keep industry-related relationships than to attempt to please a one-time client who refuses to offer a fair deal.

Getting blacklisted by other companies or clients is a surefire way to kill your brand and reputation. Finally, since many potential leads come from business referrals, your pipeline will quickly dry up when you get pegged as a lowball negotiator.

Don’t Overdo your Advertising

Especially if you run a small shop, it is important to get your name out there. However, in the world of commercial real estate, you do not want to have your face on every billboard, bus, or magazine. Enormous ad campaigns can be, and often are, a tremendous waste of money. Instead of plastering your face or company logo on any website that will have you, get much more targeted with your approach.

Using digital mediums like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook are all a great start – to begin with, they are free. Also, digital media, unlike traditional advertising (radio, print, or TV), is very trackable. You can see where a lead comes from, how long they are on your site, and if they eventually call your company or fill out an online form. Moreover, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook all allow you to run targeted ad campaigns that can cost as little as $500, and reach thousands of local prospects. Social media is no longer just for millennials – billions of people worldwide utilize some variation of social media. Remember that anything you put out there is directly reflecting you and your business.

Don’t Attack your Competition

Denigrating your competition is truly a terrible idea. In doing so, you look childish when trying to attack someone. Remember that in a corporate world where everyone knows each other, word gets around. If you build a reputation as someone who talks bad about others, your referrals are bound to drop. Instead of getting into petty arguments, be the bigger person and act professionally. The most important part of not attacking your competition, is never posting about it on social media. Even if you think you have a hidden Twitter or Facebook account, written words can easily get around.

Getting blacklisted within real estate can be a quick way to find bankruptcy. As I discussed before, leads often times come from referrals. If you give out lowball offers, have obnoxious advertising everywhere, or attack your competition, you can almost assure yourself of lost business. Instead, negotiate fairly, use social media for targeted advertising, and be professional with your competition. While commercial real estate is a multi-billion dollar industry, it is a much smaller world than you might think.

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