Lasting Impression by Pioneer of Firsts; Sidor Named BOMA Industry Leader of the YearDecember 04, 2018 — By Joe Clements
BOSTON—When she received a call one autumn day from BOMA Boston, Cushman & Wakefield Managing Principal Carolyn J. Sidor “almost fell out of my chair” hearing the reason group leader Adrienne Maley was phoning her, the 35-year CRE veteran recounts in a recent interview with Real Reporter.
“It was the last thing I expected,” Sidor says regarding news she had been named BOMA Industry Leader of the Year, the coveted personal achievement commendation given at the globally recognized TOBY Awards, a fete to facilities that kicked off the 32nd annual, three-phase competition with regional winners unveiled last week at the Copley Marriott Back Bay and where Sidor’s vast achievements were applauded by an audience cresting 600 industry professionals, investors, landlords and guests.
Sidor is supremely familiar with the program, having begun her real estate career at BOMA one year prior to TOBY’s introduction, the contest’s mission to foment better design and performance of commercial properties. She was at BOMA and its parent organization, the Greater Boston Real Estate Board, from 1984 to 1998 before embarking into unchartered waters featuring pioneering roles for such firms as CB Richard Ellis, Colliers International, and Cassidy Turley, encouraging companies to retire old-line thinking in favor of new-millennium approaches, a pattern leading to her selection as C&W’s first-ever New England female managing principal in May 2017 overseeing dozens of professionals from Boston up to New Hampshire and down to Connecticut.
“Carolyn’s leadership has brought a new energy, enthusiasm and focus on improvement to our office,” C&W Vice Chair Robert B. Richards says in praising Sidor for her BOMA award plus internal feats that included shifting the C&W Boston brokerage structure and creating a five-person steering committee to provide advice and counsel, all that while leading a vast operation registering 700 transactions valued at $5 billion across all service lines during her tenure. Meanwhile, it has been a period when C&W joined competitors in a fierce range war when several top performers—including Richards—came available after being freed of long-term contracts at rival firms.
Sidor is credited by C&W for having played “an instrumental role in recruitment” of such skilled brokers as Tom Ashe, Rob Byrne and Elizabeth Donatoni. Epic battles were waged by multiple shops to woo Cambridge/Inner Suburbs specialist Richards and Downtown expert Michael Joyce, both founding principals of independent brokerage Richards Barry Joyce & Partners whose sale to Transwestern made them available until each pegged C&W as their new home. In his statement, Richards did not address the factors in his choice, but does say of Sidor that “her perseverance and guidance helps us every day,” adding, “No one works harder or cares more.”
Sidor observes that “we more than held our own” in securing the seasoned talent that came available, and says C&W’s ample resources make it able to pursue others who might free up, but she stresses C&W is keen on enticing emerging professionals to consider a position there, among them young women in the field whom she has been a longtime mentor of, “a high-priority” matter which extends to promoting diversity of all manner in a sector that was decidedly mono shade/gender back in the mid-1980s when Sidor was setting out.
BOMA’s formative years were in an era where mavericks and strong personalities were as common as chain-smoking and turf wars, and while acceding it could be challenging at times to keep everyone in check, Sidor counts the backdrop as key to her successes. “It was a great experience and I was able to learn so much from incredibly great people in the organization, and I especially benefited from having a different president every year,” she recalls. “Each had their own styles of doing things and you had to be able to adjust, so I learned a lot from being able to make that work.”
Sidor also describes an atmosphere at GBREB and BOMA that favored a calm approach even when taking on emotional issues of the day such as condominium conversions, environmental regulations and rent control, and she attributes legendary principal Andrew J. Hickey for setting the tone in that regard, recalling a day that would begin as likely with photos of grandchildren as handling an organizational issue or planning strategy, the message being to keep things in perspective even when delivering a professional result. “Andy was a beacon and a mentor and a wonderful influence on me,” Sidor says. “I will always treasure my time at (GBREB) and the fond memories there and how Andy helped me in ways that continue to give me guidance every day.”
Indeed, while thanking the audience at the TOBY Awards during her presentation, Sidor implored attendees to measure their pace when possible, referencing a quote advising that “Gratitude can transform common days into Thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy and change ordinary opportunities into blessings,” with Sidor relaying that, “In the spirit of the season, I encourage you to stop, reflect and count your blessings as I did in preparation for this event.”
As to the BOMA Award, for which Sidor says she is “humbled and honored” by the consideration, credit was given to C&W for its commitment, and she was also ebullient about how the BOMA Boston team has created such a major program to celebrate the regional entries, with winners heading to New York City for a Mid-Atlantic contest, followed by the National phase set for next summer in Salt Lake City. Back in 1985, Sidor was in charge of taking judges to the local buildings entered in the contest, and while she says there was uncertainty as to where the event might lead, “the pride and excitement” shown among landlords on the tours suggested it could catch on over time, she recalls.
“I don’t know we ever saw 600 people showing up, but people in Boston were very supportive” early on, she says, adding, “It really is incredible how far it has come.”BOMA Boston TOBY Awards 2018