About Diana Chaban Griffith

Diana is a communications management professional with more than 10 years experience in writing/editing, social media, publications management, and journalism, as well as volunteer management, event planning, and nonprofit administration. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, she is a member of several professional organizations and serves on the governing board of Boston's Young Achievers Pilot School.

Take NAIOP’s Communications Survey and Win!

Have you taken the 2011 NAIOP Massachusetts Communications survey yet? If not, please take a moment to answer this brief questionnaire, which will provide invaluable feedback as we evaluate and update our communications plan. In return, we’ll enter your name to win one of 10 tickets to a 2011 Main Event breakfast program!

Surveys must be completed no later than Friday, August 5, and a valid email address must be included to be eligible to win. If you have any questions or additional comments on the survey, please contact me, Diana Chaban Griffith, at 781-453-6900 x6.

Four New Tools for Real Estate Marketers

Monday’s program on Jumpstart Your Marketing included a wealth of ideas and examples of how to navigate the modern marketing mix, including new approaches to websites, how to select the right social media platform for the job, and knowing when to let the product speak for itself. Among the case studies and client examples, the speakers shared a handful of resources guaranteed to help marketers make better use of their time, get a new perspective on their work, and reach their target audience.

Here are four new tools CRE marketers should know about:

Speakers at NAIOP's Jumpstart Your Marketing program (l-r): Susan Shelby, Mo Doerr, Diane Danielson, Steve Steinberg, Tina Snyder

  • HootSuite – One of the best tools to automate and organize social media, HootSuite allows you to post once on multiple channels (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and others), as well as scheduling tweets, retweeting, and tracking. As Diane Danielson said “This allows me to write once and publish twice!” We use the service as well, and have found it invaluable for managing NAIOP’s social media efforts.
  • Texting To SellTina Snyder, speaking with colleague Steve Steinberg, shared this cost-effective way to generate leads from property signage. A call to action is displayed asking passers-by to text a unique Mobile ID, after which they instantly receive two text messages back: The first shows pictures and listing details for that property, the second provides contact info with an option to receive an immediate call back. Each time a property’s unique Mobile ID is texted, you receive an alert with your prospect’s contact information. It’s a simple, effective and low cost option to generate leads!
  • Guts: Advertising from the Inside Out, by John Lyons: A classic how-to book recommended by Mo Doerr, who raved about the author’s provocative approach to strategy.  One of her favorite quotes: “Have teeth, will bite. A strategy is a carefully designed plot to murder the competition. Any idea that makes your competition hate you, cry foul, or quietly invoke Chapter 11 qualifies.” (currently out of print, but still available online)
  • Facebook –Facebook isn’t new, but what many don’t realize is that it has greater customization options than may be obvious. Diane used the landing page for SouthField as an example, showing how, through careful use of custom tabs and graphics, they were able to fully brand their Facebook Page, keeping it tightly integrated with the rest of the SouthField marketing materials.

These are just a few of the tools available to today’s marketing professional – what are your favorites? Is there a tool you can’t live without, or one you wish you’d never wasted your time on? Let us know – comment today!

MIT Professor William Wheaton to Speak at NAIOP/SIOR Forecast

MIT Professor William Wheaton – who is speaking at our Dec. 2 NAIOP/SIOR Annual Market Forecast – has been generating national media coverage lately with his calls for lenders to “split the difference” on mortgages facing foreclosure. From an email sent out by the MIT Center for Real Estate, where Wheaton teaches a popular course on the economics of real estate markets: 

“With the release of MIT/CRE Professor William Wheaton’s recent proposal for fixing the housing mess, three of the nation’s premier media outlets (Fortune MagazineNational Public Radio, and CNBC) have sought him out for further comment and forecasting. Professor Wheaton proposes that the 2-sides of the equation “split the difference”.  Lenders write down the mortgage to current value, and then take a significant (but not complete) share of any equity appreciation that does occur. This gives the borrower a deal good enough to prevent “walking”, and also provides the lender with an asset (the contingent claim on appreciation at sale) that is much better than taking the write down alone. It’s a win-win, although the devil is always in the details.” 

Professor Wheaton will turn his attention to the commercial side of things at our always-popular Forecast, where his economic overview will look at current conditions, their impact on the market, and what to expect in the coming year.  Don’t miss this opportunity to hear the latest economic news from a local expert! Click here for more info on the Forecast.

How to Become a Woman of Influence in Boston Real Estate

This post was written by NAIOP member Diane K. Danielson, a consultant who works with clients to incorporate social media into their traditional marketing and business development plans.

On Nov. 2nd, over 100 women packed into Goulston & Storrs to hear from several of Boston real estate’s “Women of Influence.” The panelists and moderator (see photo) shared stories, tips and thoughts about what it takes to rise to the top in commercial real estate.

(l-r) Amanda Strong, Marty Jones, Lisa Brothers, Marilyn Sticklor, and Sarah Abrams (bios below)

I’ve been working outside of the real estate industry for a little over five years and this was the first opportunity I had to gauge if anything had changed in my absence. Based on what I heard at the panel, it was clear that commercial real estate in Boston remains male-dominated, but discussions about gender in the workplace have, in fact, progressed. Here are a few observations I made – if you have your own, please share them in the comments.

  1. The panel consisted of four women who were presidents of major companies and/or national industry organizations. Finding this many women in these positions would have been a bit harder 5-10 years ago.
  2. When asked about life balance, no one shied away from the question or denied it was an issue. Their response: It’s hard. You’ll feel like you’re neglecting your family and your job. However, it’s up to you to decide how open you are about your non-work life in the office. It’s also up to the women and men in top management to set the example if they want a friendly work/life environment.
  3. Avoid carrying around a career killing chip on your shoulder. Yes, sexism does still happen, but it’s like any other obstacle in your career path, you have the power to either overcome it or succumb to it.
  4. Do the math. There is no part of commercial real estate that doesn’t involve finance. Learn the numbers even if you are in marketing or human resources. If you need to boost your understanding in this area, there are great educational institutions out there that can help you and your career.
  5. Stop sitting around waiting to get noticed. This was by far the most troubling part of the panel for me because I had assumed this would be a non-issue by now. Yet it seems that women still play the “good girl,” work hard, and don’t adequately self-promote. As a result, they are less likely to have “sponsors” in the office, i.e. individuals who will go out on a limb on their behalf. (Sponsors are more crucial than mentors for making it to the top, but that’s fodder for a whole other post.)

Perhaps my favorite highlight was when Sarah Abrams shared an anecdote about whenever she invited men to attend a NEWIRE event, they always asked “will other men be there?” If the shoe was on the other foot, i.e. if she made her decisions to attend real estate events based on whether other women would be in attendance, she certainly wouldn’t be sitting where she is right now.


  • Sarah Abrams, former President of Fidelity Real Estate Company, President of the New England Chapter of CoreNet and of NAIOP Massachusetts (note: link is to a recent profile of Sarah at MIT CRE site)

    At NAIOP's Women of Influence Event

  • Lisa Brothers, Vice President, COO, and Co-Owner, Nitsch Engineering (president/CEO as of 2011), president of the American Council of Engineering Companies/Massachusetts, and recipient of many civic and professional awards
  • Marty Jones, President of the Corcoran Jennison Companies, recipient of the Affordable Housing Vision Award by National Housing & Rehabilitation Association
  • Amanda Strong, Asset Manager for Colony Realty Partners, Founder of AAREP New England and newly-elected President of AAREP-National


  • Marilyn Sticklor, Director at Goulston & Storrs, twice-named a Massachusetts Super Lawyer, with expertise in all aspects of commercial real estate development.

40B Update at NAIOP MultiFamily Event 10/20

Following up on David Begelfer’s recent post on protecting 40B, I want to note that NAIOP’s Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Tamara Small, will offer a brief update on 40B and related public affairs topics at next week’s Main Event program on multifamily housing: MultiFamily – The Bright Star.

Following Tamara’s update, the program will feature leading housing developers discussing the outlook for affordable housing, as well as market-rate and senior housing. Speakers include: Howard Cohen, Chief Executive Officer, Beacon Communities, LLC, Thomas Grape, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Benchmark Senior Living, and David Hall, Development Partner, The Hanover Company, with George Fantini, Chairman, Fantini & Gorga, as moderator. Click here for more info – hope to see you there!

Windshield Tour of Boston’s Four Hottest Markets

What if you could get to know a key sector of the Greater Boston commercial real estate market in a half day?  How would you like to get in-depth insight and analysis on existing and proposed development projects, and the latest sales, lease, and development activity? 

You can do this on October 6th at the NAIOP Massachusetts Annual Bus Tour: “Markets in Transition: Today’s Projects and Tomorrow’s Opportunities.” 

Networking at NAIOP Bus Tour

If you never have participated in one of these tours, you are missing out on a great opportunity to understand what is happening in the market from the leading brokers in the area. The 2010 NAIOP Bus Tour will visit Boston’s Seaport area, Cambridge, North Inner Suburbs, and Waltham.  

You’ll be able to ask the experts questions, while networking with the region’s owners, investors, developers, brokers and real estate professionals. 

Contact Pauline Rand at 781-453-6900 ext. 4 or rand@naiopma.org or visit our website to register today.