CCIM Institute's executive vice president prepares to explore a new path.
More than a few things have changed at the CCIM Institute in the past 20 years. The Internet was years away from becoming a vital platform for STDB-online, the institute’s leading technology tool. There weren’t any national conferences to help CCIMs further their post-designation education. And the concept of a global organization was nearly impossible to fathom. However, one thing that hasn’t changed in the past two decades is Susan J. Groeneveld, CCIM, CAE’s dedication to this organization.
Groeneveld has been a catalyst for growth in nearly every institute department, including education, conferences, and membership since her first day in November 1987. This year she will retire as executive vice president and chief executive officer, but will continue to consult with the institute on future special projects and initiatives.
While her first initiatives were reorganizing and strengthening the institute’s chapter network and post-designation educational offerings, Groeneveld is most proud of the institute’s technology initiatives, including STDB-online, CCIMNet, and advancements in online education. “In the world of associations, we have been pioneers in introducing technology,” she says. In addition, “The curriculum has been rewritten three times since I’ve been here,” Groeneveld says, noting the organization’s progressive approach to its educational offerings and delivery methods.
Over the years Groeneveld has made it a practice to transcend her role as the institute’s day-to-day CEO. She has taken each CCIM core course and examination. “I took the courses to really learn about what our members do and to truly get the student experience,” she says. “I encourage all of our staff members to do the same.” In recognition of her accomplishments, Groeneveld was honored in fall 2006 as the first-ever staff member to be awarded the CCIM designation.
A major highlight of Groeneveld’s institute career is the J.W. Levine Leadership Development Academy, a professional training program for CCIM designees she founded in 2003. While many of the academy’s graduates pursue volunteer leadership opportunities within the institute, “the program helps them develop skills they can use throughout their lives — in their companies, other organizations, and even their families,” Groeneveld says. Each year she enjoys interacting with “a new generation of people who are passionate about this organization.” Last year an annual scholarship in Groeneveld’s name was created for a designee to participate in the leadership academy. The scholarship is funded by the institute and the CCIM Education Foundation.
As she prepares to take on a new role within the institute, Groeneveld looks forward to being part of the organization’s future growth. “We’ve grown from a $2 million organization to a $20 million organization, we have a for-profit subsidiary [STDBonline], we have a $5 million Education Foundation, and we have the largest staff we’ve ever had,” she says. “The institute is turning the corner on becoming a mature organization.”