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Every year, about this time, the commercial real estate industry congregates for conference season. It’s a time to gather, learn and network.

When the pandemic struck in 2020, we found ourselves doing this virtually. I’ve embraced virtual meetings in a big way, but conferences just don’t work.

Yes, the learning sessions are OK, but the real fun of a convention is passing someone in the hall on the way to dinner and inviting them to come along. Or grabbing a quick cup of Joe with an acquaintance from another market. These chance encounters are all lost when conferences are conducted virtually.

Annually, two or three of these decorate my docket — the Lee & Associates Summit, Society of Industrial and Office Realtors and one other. The “other” this year was the Commercial Real Estate Influencers Summit. Others such as NAIOP, CCIM, Crew Network and ICSC abound. If so inclined, you could bounce from one to another for the entire month. But two this year were enough for me!