Business is BOMA: KA Realty’s Cindy MacDonald on Properties, People, Politics and Positive Change
As Director of Properties and Redevelopment at Kraus-Anderson Realty Company, MacDonald manages over 1.7 million square feet of commercial properties. But she’s really a people person.
MacDonald is one of the real estate professionals keeping Minnesota’s business climate and economy strong through dedicated service at work and beyond. A longtime member of BOMA Greater Minneapolis, MacDonald works within a trade association representing the interests of commercial real estate in Minneapolis and its suburbs. As one of the 100 North American and nine overseas affiliates of BOMA International, the chapter brings a robust voice to the ownership of more than 60 million square feet of commercial office space in the Minneapolis area; providing the working environments for 200,000 people and paying $250 million in local and state property taxes each year. In addition, BOMA members spend more than $360 million each year in keeping their buildings operating.
A member since 1993, MacDonald has served on the BOMA Board of Directors since 2014 and currently serves as Secretary/Treasurer and on the Executive Committee. Her past BOMA activities have included work on the membership committee and compensation survey sub-committee; Board Champion BOMA Young Professionals and Emerging Leaders Council; and mentoring to three young professionals.
In February, MacDonald was presented with the BOMA President’s Award at the 2018 Best of BOMA. The annual award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to furthering the mission of BOMA Greater Minneapolis and in enhancing the benefits of BOMA membership for colleagues in the association. MacDonald shared some of her insights about BOMA’s work, and what fuels her commitment.
Q: What makes you a committed member of BOMA?
CINDY MACDONALD: It’s an organization of involved professionals within the industry that have a passion for their craft and want to impact positive change. The networking with the members has been rewarding both professionally and personally. To help empower careers of young professionals and expose them to our industry is delightful.
Q: You recently traveled to Washington, D.C. as part of BOMA’s ongoing advocacy efforts. Talk about that.
CINDY MACDONALD: It was the BOMA International Winter Business Meeting & National Issues Conference. It’s a great opportunity to network with other BOMA Federations and discuss what’s happening internationally, the industry in general, concerns, what’s working and areas of opportunities for change and advocacy. In addition to the general sessions, breakout meetings and committee meetings, the majority of one day was set aside for congressional office visits.
Q: What are some of the major issues that BOMA advocates on behalf of the real estate industry?
CINDY MACDONALD: ADA Notice and Compliance has been a big issue for our industry. BOMA is in alignment with the spirit of the ADA- we believe people with disabilities should have the same access to our members’ properties as everyone else; and we’ve authored the ADA Compliance Guidebook to assist with this process.
BOMA formed a coalition of many local organizations to help change MN legislation to allow business owners 120 days to fix any ADA violation before having to pay legal fees. Minnesota passed this legislation during the 2017 session. Our next step was to make this change on the federal level. This was our message to our members of Congress on January 31, and I’m happy to report that on February 15, 2018 the U.S. House voted and passed the ADA bill, H.R. 620 by a vote of 225 – 192. It now is with the Senate.
In other legislative activity, we’ve also reinforced our strong support of ENERGY STAR for Commercial Buildings; and the importance of continued investment in infrastructure, to the legislature. These are all issues of quality, safety and health that affect everyone, not just building owners.
Q: We hear a lot about big business lobbying the legislature to drive down taxes. What’s your comment?
CINDY MACDONALD: At BOMA, we always use the opportunity to emphasize to legislators that the tax burden is passed on the tenants, not the landlords. We want tenants to grow and thrive versus having a heavy tax burden on top of the challenges of running a successful business. The tenants’ success is our success.
Q: Beyond your BOMA activities, you were also selected for this year’s Kraus-Anderson Leadership Development Program (LDP). What are you learning in LDP?
CINDY MACDONALD: I’m honored to be part of the LDP Program this year! I think any opportunity to get involved in a leadership capacity, to further your knowledge is worthwhile and helps hone your skills to take on more and assist where needed. The course content reinforces best practices in time management, determining priorities, elevating your team. And emotional intelligence.
Q: As a busy professional, care to share any time management insights? How do you make time for the additional demands of LDP, BOMA, mentoring?
CINDY MACDONALD: You have to want to do these things to make the time for them. I love my job working for KA, the variety and opportunities. I enjoy mentoring! You get to watch them grow into new roles and responsibilities and it’s so fun. And I firmly believe in taking advantage of all learning and networking opportunities through every stage of our careers. It helps you grow, and truth be told, it helps you manage your time more efficiently when you develop such a strong network of support. I am not an expert, but I know experts and I have access to experts. Also, I have a great team, and we help each other out. They are all rock stars.