Director of public policy for NAIOP Minnesota, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association
After serving as NAIOP Minnesota’s director of public policy for the past 13 years, Kaye Rakow is stepping down from the post on Dec. 31. Rakow has been a leading defender and “point woman” at the State Capitol for issues that affect the Minnesota commercial real estate industry. Issues have included pushing for greater transparency in local government budgeting and lowering business property taxes.
A commercial real estate veteran, Rakow, 66, started her career in 1984 as an industrial broker at Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate Services (now CBRE Group Inc.). She also served as president of the Twin West Chamber of Commerce.
Q: Why did you make the move from a broker to this advocate role at NAIOP?
A: Actually, when you look at the work you do at the Capitol, there are a lot of similarities between that work and being a broker. You’re putting deals together and getting people to come together and agree on something. So a lot of the skills that you need to be a good broker are many of the same skills you need to operate in the political world.
Q: And how do the two jobs differ?
A: The biggest difference is when you do a commercial real estate deal, you get paid, put the money in the bank and you’re done. But at the Capitol, you can get a bill passed and get some legislation done or defend yourselves against something, and they can turn around and the next year you start the whole thing all over again.
Q: Why are you stepping down now from the position?
A: There comes a time when you’ve got to quit the job, and then it’s just a matter of when. I just felt it in my gut that it was time. And I feel really, really good about the work that we have done over the last number of years. NAIOP is really well-positioned in the public policy world with good credibility, so it’s just time for me to do something else and let someone else come in and put their creative minds to work and take it wherever they want to take it.
Q: What will you miss most about the job?
A: The people … the kind of people attracted to commercial real estate and NAIOP are energetic, Type A, let’s-go, risk-taking, let’s-get-it-done people. And I like working with that kind of a personality.