Meet a NAIOP Chicago Developing Leader | Michael Clewlow
Name: Michael Clewlow
Company: Venture One Real Estate
Position: Acquisitions Associate
Education: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Years in Real Estate: 4
1. What led you to work in the Real Estate industry?
Growing up in a real estate family, I was fortunate to be exposed to it from a young age. Whether it was going on “field trips” after baseball games or pointing out buildings when taking off from O’Hare, my dad made sure I was well versed on the Chicago industrial market. After interning at Bespoke Commercial Real Estate and Colliers International, I knew it was the right industry for me.I joined Venture One in November of 2020. As an Acquisitions Associate at Venture One, I am responsible for assisting in the acquisition of industrial buildings through our investment fund. Each day is different, which keeps me on my toes.
2. Who have been the biggest influences in your career?
My dad has been a great role model for me both personally and professionally. Through his actions, he taught me the importance of keeping your head down and working hard, treating people with respect, building a large network of professional connections and continually challenging yourself to learn and improve. I inherited his hard-working personality and, as a result, I continuously push myself to do my best in everything I do. I aspire to one day mentor other young professionals in real estate, serving as the strong role model my dad was for me.Additionally, at Venture One, Matt Goode and Ryan Stoller have both been incredible mentors to me. More often than not, you can find me sitting in Matt’s office picking his brain about a deal or what we should eat for lunch. Matt and Ryan have both taken a genuine interest in my professional growth and have been instrumental in guiding and challenging me to be a more prudent real estate investor.
3. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
As Venture One continues to expand its national footprint, I hope to take on additional responsibility within the Chicago market and ultimately hold a leadership position. Personally, I’d like to get more involved in philanthropic organizations, particularly those which service Chicago’s at-risk youth.
4. How long have you been involved with NAIOP and what do you view as the benefits of your NAIOP Developing Leader membership?
I have been involved with NAIOP since 2020. NAIOP does a great job of bringing a wide range of real estate professionals together. Specifically, Developing Leaders has strong initiatives in place, such as its mentorship program, which allows younger professionals to connect with NAIOP board members.
5. What is the most important lesson you have learned during your career?
The most important lesson I’ve learned is to surround yourself with the right people, especially early on in your career. I have been fortunate to learn from and work with such a great group at Venture One over the last two years. To be able to get to the next level in your career, you need to surround yourself with people who not only inspire you and serve as mentors, but also challenge you.
6. What is the best piece of professional advice you have been given?
Be a sponge and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
7. What characteristics do you consider most important in your role and in the industry?
A strong work ethic is important in any industry. The ability to foster professional relationships is particularly important in my role, as the connections I develop will help me as I progress in my career. In our industry, there are oftentimes, lots of balls in the air, so it’s important to be detail-oriented to ensure that things don’t fall through the cracks. Creativity is also crucial because no two deals are alike and oftentimes you need to think outside the box in order to come up with a solution.
8. Outside of work, how do you enjoy spending your time?
When I’m not at my desk, you’ll most likely find me at a Chicago sporting event, golf course or trying out a new restaurant in Chicago.
9. What is your favorite building in Chicago?
Chicago Board of Trade. The owners of Ceres Cafe are lifelong friends of my family. I have always admired the buildings’ unique architectural style and how it sits at the foot of LaSalle Street.