LAS VEGAS—ICSC Las Vegas event panels were in full swing yesterday, with industry leaders sharing their experiences and insights on how they had been communicating with stakeholders during the challenging economic times. Moderator Glenn Rufrano, ICSC Chair and former CEO of VEREIT, posed a question to the opening panel, eager to uncover their strategies and approaches.
Rufrano turned to Alex Nyhan, CEO of First Washington Realty, asking about their communication methods and the time period and constituencies they focused on. Nyhan responded, emphasizing their commitment to reducing anxiety levels at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. They achieved this by sharing extensive business information with their team members, ensuring transparency and keeping everyone informed.
When it came to their investor base, Nyhan explained that they adopted a more frequent update approach, surpassing their previous communication efforts. By sharing more information, they were able to provide reassurance and instill confidence, leading to increased investment during that challenging time period.
Hessam Nadji, president and CEO of Marcus & Millichap, emphasized the importance of aligning everyone’s efforts in the same direction. Nadji acknowledged the challenges of communicating with a large and diverse group of stakeholders. He emphasized that the current market downturn was just as confusing and threatening to their clients as the pandemic itself had been. Nadji stressed the necessity of providing a steady stream of information to clients, acknowledging the risks their equity faced.
According to Nadji, the key was not pretending to have all the answers but rather being there to offer perspective and share their insights but still updating clients on what they believed would happen based on the available data. Above all, Nadji stressed the importance of maintaining a consistent flow of information, even if the future remained uncertain.
Devin Murphy, president of Phillips, Edison & Co., added to the discussion by sharing their migration back to more traditional communication methods. While acknowledging the efficiency of platforms like Zoom, Murphy expressed their preference for face-to-face shareholder meetings.
According to Murphy, the social interaction provided a deeper level of connection and understanding, leading to more effective communication and collaboration.
Rufrano interjected, recounting a board meeting where someone had asked him if he was efficient. He redirected the focus, suggesting that the real question should be whether they were getting the job done. Rufrano expressed his belief that more face-to-face interactions would result in increased efficiency, emphasizing the importance of combining social interaction with effective communication.
Overall, the panel discussion shed light on the diverse approaches taken by industry leaders to communicate with stakeholders during the difficult economic times. From prioritizing transparency and sharing information with team members and investors to providing regular updates and perspective to clients, the speakers underscored the importance of maintaining open lines of communication.