The Making of a Real Estate Management Champion

Debbie Phillips, winner of the 2015 IREM® REME CPM® of the Year Award, talks about the value she's gained from her Certified Property Manager accreditation.

REMELogo2015 IREM® REME Award Winner:  CPM® of the Year

Debbie Phillips, Ph.D, CPM®

The Quadrillion, Stockbridge, Georgia

How has your CPM® contributed to your career?

Phillips: Having my CPM® has added tremendous value to my career. It has been the game changer for me personally and professionally. A person can have all the degrees in the world from top-tier universities, but a professional designation that represents the pinnacle of a person’s profession demonstrates the extra effort and determination that one has given to the advancement of his or her career. Being an active member of IREM® expands my circles of influence. It provides resources (education, tools, professional networks) that I would not otherwise have access to—and I have that access to use every day. It’s like having premium fuel for your car. When you have to travel long distances, you want to make sure you can reach your destination. IREM® is my professional fuel that helps me get to where I want to go!

Has your CPM® been a lucrative investment?

Phillips: I can remember when I first became an IREM® member and my employer paid my dues. When I started my own business and had to prioritize my expenses, there was never a question that I would drop my membership, because I knew without a shadow of a doubt that it would pay huge dividends in every way. In addition to numerous ways that it has added real dollars to my bank account, it has added so much more in my sense of gratitude and pride.

What advice do you have for other professionals who are considering a CPM?

Phillips: Start your candidacy today! Don’t wait another minute. Why put off taking the single most important step to advancing your career? The single best investment a person can make is the one they make in themselves. IREM® celebrates more than 80 years of being recognized as the preeminent source for real estate education. It was founded on ethics and integrity and has reached the far corners of the world to expand the body of knowledge and be a vanguard in real estate management. Why wouldn’t a person want to leverage that prestige and value?

What three things make you proud to win the 2015 REME Award for CPM® of the Year?

Phillips: First and foremost, it gives me another reason to share the great news about IREM® and all that it offers. I get to share with my students, my colleagues and everyone in my path about what IREM® means to me. Secondly, it gives me an opportunity to expand on what IREM® can do for a person’s career. It also adds value as I promote multifamily housing and our textbook.

The IREM® REME Awards recognize real estate management companies and individual practitioners for innovative, leading-edge, business practices and initiatives.  For more information about the 2016 IREM® REME Awards, visit