Though Natalie Tyler-Martin is now regional vice president for asset management at Duke Realty—and very much in love with her job—she’s also a Girl Scout to her core. She started in kindergarten as a Daisy Scout and stuck with it through college, leading her very own group of Girl Scouts as a campus scout at Florida A&M University.
“There are multiple ways this comes through for me in my work, whether it’s understanding the importance of being prepared, which is the Girl Scout motto,” Tyler-Martin said, “or the value of service. Asset management is very focused on customer service. We’re the problem solvers. We like helping people and being sure they have what they need to succeed.”
Listening to commercial tenants and understanding their needs has been a passion for Tyler-Martin since she was an intern at Duke Realty almost 20 years ago.
“I’ve always had an eye for residential real estate and the community impact that it can have. But when I got to see the commercial side, it blew my mind,” she said. “I was fortunate to have a mentor and supervisor, Robin McBride Zeigler, who was also a Black female and an alum of my university. Even to this day, she is still an inspiration for me and my career path.”
At Duke Realty, in logistics real estate, Tyler-Martin has found the perfect way of combining her passion for service with business acumen. For Tyler-Martin, our buildings are high-value assets, but so are strong tenant relationships.
“Our goal is to maintain our buildings and to make sure they’re solid assets, but we are also responsible for making sure our tenants stay in them,” she said. “That’s the revenue side of the business. It’s easier and cheaper for us to renew a lease than to find a completely new tenant. So when we have a good tenant, we need to work to keep them in the building.”
Keeping the tenant in the building has always been important for the bottom line, but these days, it also means constantly attending to the details of the tenant’s business, their operation, and changes in the industry and the economy.
“The biggest challenge we face as asset managers is that our customers’ businesses are evolving, and so are their operations,” Tyler-Martin said. “With the evolution and cost of changes in their operations, changes also need to happen in the buildings. For us, it’s about understanding those changes and their impact on the buildings, and then figuring out not only how to make them, but also to try to anticipate the changes that may be coming next. Because we build our buildings for the long term.”
In addition to keeping up with the latest challenges tenants face in their industries, Tyler-Martin said that creative problem-solving—and a willingness to go above and beyond—can go a long way to winning tenant loyalty.
“Sometimes it helps to step outside of the contract—who’s responsible for what—and just solve the problem,” she said. “The tenant may be facing a problem, and contractually it may be the tenant’s responsibility to solve it, but there’s a lot of value in us stepping in, in any way, to help. Later on, there will be time to sort out who is responsible for what, but by solving the immediate problem the tenant is having and finding them a quick way out, we get a win for the day.”
It’s an approach that works well with the high-quality Duke Realty tenants who trust us to put their needs first. “We serve A-credit tenants—quality organizations that have the systems and processes in place to get things done, and they share our values about putting the customer first,” said Tyler-Martin. “When you work with a company that provides great customer service, they understand great customer service. Good attracts good.”
It’s also an approach she shares with her coworkers. “I work with amazing leaders and coworkers,” she said. “We’re a special bunch, mostly because we’ve been empowered to do what we think is right. Thinking freely, we often get to come up with fun, sometimes off-the-wall solutions to problems. Out of the box is celebrated.”
It’s been a great landing place for a person who devoted her early life to the resourcefulness and responsiveness demanded by scouting. “I’m the fixer, the problem solver, the people pleaser,” she said. “A little obsessive about the details sometimes, but for the right reasons. I’m a Girl Scout through and through.”
It’s remarkably similar to the set of values at the heart of Duke Realty. The creativity, resourcefulness, and dedication of all of our associates shine through in a thousand different ways every day. They are just some of the values that keep our tenants happy—and keep them coming back to us for all of their real estate needs.