NAIOP NM announces new executive director - Albuquerque Journal

NAIOP NM announces new executive director


Rhiannon Samuel is the new executive director for NAIOP New Mexico.(Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)


Rhiannon Samuel represents a new generation of leadership for NAIOP New Mexico.

The native New Mexican and 2014 graduate of the University of New Mexico comes to the commercial real estate development association with ample public-facing experience under her belt.

She has a degree in communications and religious studies and once served as the director of communications for former Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry. In 2017 she became the founding executive director of nonpartisan political education group Viante New Mexico.

One of her strengths, she said, “is my spirit of collaboration and my nonpartisan approach to everything.”

In her role as director of communications for Republican Berry, she said her position could have been partisan, “but it is not the way I conducted myself.”

Viante, she said, “was the exclamation point. Let’s find the common ground and get things done.”

Replacing Lynne Andersen, who is retiring after 26 years as executive director of NAIOP, will be a challenge, she said.

Andersen, she said, “is an impressive community leader and was named to the role in the 1990s – a lone female in a sea of men and she found a way to take charge and turn the organization into the impressive institution it is today.”

“It is quite the legacy to carry on,” Samuel said.

Andersen said she is already impressed by Samuel.

“She is a smart lady,” Andersen said. “I kid her about being a millennial, but she is a hard worker, very smart and I think she will do just fine.”

Samuel has already taken steps to get to know the New Mexico NAIOP membership, she said, and even made contact with the national group.

“She has gotten plugged in in a hurry,” Andersen said. “She’s already gotten to know a lot of people and is getting to know the national folks.”

Samuel said her goals include taking a new look at networking and collaborative policy making.

“With the advent of COVID, it’s given everybody the opportunity to evaluate what they do effectively and to make adjustments,” Samuel said. “What I hope to bring is a new take on networking and a new take on collaborative policymaking and relationships with decision makers.”

For instance, she plans to reimagine the way the organization handles events.

“Right now, there are 18 a year and a lot of folks are getting comfortable with Zoom,” she said. “How we are adapting to our membership needs is what I am going to prioritize in my first year.”

Samuel also wants to help leadership in the industry.

“There are presidents who are retiring, and I want to see if NAIOP can help ease that transition and make sure that the networking components that those owners had is being carried forward into this industry,” she said.

COVID, she added, and the hybrid model it has sparked for NAIOP, isn’t going away any time soon. She wants to look at how the organization can continue to use Zoom and even add to what Zoom can offer. Samuel said that she wants to make sure that people do not get burned out on using Zoom.

Zoom “transcends space,” she said.

“I want to be thoughtful about how we are engaging folks all the north in the state and all the way south in the state,” Samuel said.

Outside of the office, Samuel and her husband, Adan, love to travel. They have been to England, Greece, Italy, South Korea, Japan and Mexico.

They also love to travel in the state.

“In New Mexico, there’s a lot of ways we can improve and there are a lot of things that are wonderful,” she said.

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