Some of the best ideas are born during challenging times, and that is exactly what happened with this company and its CEO over the past year and a half. CARROLL is a premier east-coast real estate investment company founded by American entrepreneur and philanthropist M. Patrick Carroll.

Carroll’s namesake company hosted a webinar in May 2020 to allow others to share their experiences and give advice to peers in the industry. Some of the participants include Robert LaChapelle, the Regional Managing Director for CBRE’s Debt & Structured Finance Group in Atlanta, Georgia; Kris Mikkelsen, the Managing Partner and COO of Atlanta-based investment firm of Walker and Dunlop; and Blake Okland, Vice Chairman, Head of Multifamily Investment Sales for Newmark — and of course, Carroll himself.

Carroll said that finding new methods of communication in an industry that is largely face-to-face was one of the most prominent obstacles during the pandemic. “We are a solution provider to our investors and to our renters,” he said. “[This] has been instrumental in keeping us afloat during the shutdown.

“We’ve also invested a lot in communications technology,” Carroll continued. “If you’re not versed on this technology, if you’re not putting new content out regularly, you’re lagging behind.”

Moving forward, Carroll thinks there will be a migration from expensive cities like Silicon Valley and San Francisco towards places with lower rent prices, so long as work-from-home options continue. Arizona, Boise and Salt Lake City are likely destinations.

“I won’t lie; the middle of March, 2020 was kind of scary. However, I stressed optimism to my people. It’s the American way. When I talk with people from Europe, it’s really obvious that we Americans are more hopeful and optimistic,” explained Carroll. “I think if you wake up with a positive attitude every day, that’s your advantage, because your competitors probably aren’t doing that.”

In the final moments of the webinar, the entrepreneur said, “You can take any bad situation and fix it.”