How to Extend the Power of Your Networking

By: John Salustri


You can never overestimate the power of networking. It has come to be an expected benefit of IAMC Forums. 

Lane Johnson, director of property management at Whataburger, Inc. in Schertz, TX, has found a way to extend that Forum experience. “I was an early adopter of Cornerstone, and I’ve found it to be an excellent resource for proper benchmarking and peer resources.”

Cornerstone is IAMC’s membership community portal (https://cornerstone.iamc.org/home), providing platforms for discussions on a wide variety of hot-button topics in addition to a variety of other customizable features. 

In fact, he explains, whenever he has a question with a few potential answers, he resorts to the Cornerstone Discussion page to query his industry colleagues. Like his peers, “I’m constantly being tasked to make sure we’re on top of best practices and working toward best-in-class performance.” Cornerstone, he says, allows him to “verify performance against my peers that are faced with the same challenges.”

An early case in point occurred when the firm was analyzing service charge-outs to other business units. “We wanted to compare our practices to the rest of the industry,” he explains. “So I put out a feeler on Cornerstone, and I had six to eight replies, with the majority of my colleagues verifying that charge-outs to other parts of the country didn’t make sense. 

“So I reported back to my senior management explaining that few others have regional charge-outs,” he continues. “In those cases it was treated as an operating expense, and that’s the way it should stay . . . and that’s what we did.” 

He has since used the service for such questions as rent reductions during the COVID-19 pandemic and whether the wisest use of third-party facilities maintenance services was on a national or regional basis. (Spoiler alert: the answer was regional.) 

What he says he likes most about the platform is the speed of response. “It’s virtually immediate,” he says, “and that’s been very beneficial to me. It’s not more than a day or two before I can get back to my managers with an informed answer.”

Of course, Cornerstone is a two-way street, and Johnson reports that he also pays it forward, responding to other members’ queries about such hot-button topics as active shooter programs and business continuity. 

These are crazy times, and we need all the help we can get. In the face of new challenges, Johnson urges members not to “limit your possibilities for connecting to valuable resources. You’ll be greatly surprised with the possibilities, and the range and depth of the information you can get from your peers.”

(For more information on connecting with your peers on Cornerstone, click here. https://cornerstone.iamc.org/home or contact Mark Nortman at mark.nortman@iamc.org.)