Membership Spotlight

Nicole Dedic

Director of Sponsorship

1. What has been your biggest challenge to get to where you are in your career?

The commercial real estate industry is a hidden gem in terms of careers. I’ve enjoyed a few different roles at this point, and it has taken time to find the right role that continues to stretch me and provide me with unique challenges on a daily basis, while leveraging my particular skillset.

2. Looking back and looking ahead, what do you see as the future of Commercial Real Estate, particularly as it relates to women?

I like to learn lessons from the women who paved the way for the next generation of professionals, but I prefer not to dwell on the past. A lot of companies are implementing gender equality and advocating diversity, and there’s a lot more to still be done. Diversity in the workplace – in any industry – creates more dynamic teams and promotes a better workplace culture overall.

3. As a woman in Commercial Real Estate, what do you feel was most beneficial to you to jump start your career?

Mentorship, sponsorship, and feedback from trusted advisors is critical to success and longevity. The relationships I’ve formed in CREW-LA have been instrumental in building my career – from guiding me through certain challenges that might be unique as a woman to the continued positive support. I hope that I can give back as generously as the women who have guided me.

4. How have you used CREW-LA to grow your business? Can you tell us about a time when being a part of CREW has come in handy to complete a goal or deal?

The CREW-LA group helped guide me to the role I have today, and in my previous role, the connection I made with a fellow member helped me to come up with a creative marketing platform between our respective companies.

5. What are you most looking forward to this year as a CREW-LA member? Any big goals that you would like to share?

At this point in my career, I am interested in giving back and as the director of sponsorships for CREW-LA, during the next year I want to increase the number of sponsors and expand the reach of CREW-LA to more women in real estate.

6. Can you give me a specific example of a recent situation where being a CREW member helped you to grow personally and/or professionally?

I have made lifelong connections in CREW-LA. I met one of my closest friends in CREW-LA after other members pulled us aside and said that we just had to meet. They were right. Also, I met my mentor that provides ongoing career advice through CREW-LA.

7. How have you used CREW LA and your relationships to grow your business?

I’ve done deals based on relationships formed via CREW-LA, which I would not have otherwise been a part of without CREW-LA.

8. As our interview comes to a close, I think our readers would want to know what advice you would give to a young woman just starting out in Commercial Real Estate in Los Angeles?

I would encourage all young women interested in Commercial Real Estate in Los Angeles to find a mentor, foster meaningful connections, and don’t be afraid to reach out to others to ask questions and learn from them. Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention joining CREW-LA is a must.

Erin L. Murphy
Partner at Allen Matkins, Los Angeles

1. What has been your biggest challenge to get to where you are in your career?

My biggest challenge was “sticking with it” in the 2-3 years before making partner at my law firm. There were many late nights at the office during those years when I questioned whether I was on the right career path for myself and my family. I evaluated where I wanted to be in 5 years and decided being partner at my firm was it- I am glad I took the time to make that evaluation and didn’t let the intense work schedule at the time turn me in a different direction.

2. As a woman in Commercial Real Estate, what do you feel was most beneficial to you to jump start your career?

It was most beneficial to me to find a “champion” for me at my law firm- a respected partner who took the time to mentor me (both in terms of the practice of law and in business development) and support me in my bid to become partner.

3. How have you used CREW LA and your relationships to grow your business?

I have used CREW LA and my relationships formed with CREW LA members to help get my name out in the Los Angeles real estate community.

4. What was your most memorable commercial real estate transaction and why?

One of my most memorable commercial real estate transactions was representing Hines, as landlord, in leasing space at 444 S. Flower Street to Equinox in 2011. At the end of the deal, the printed lease weighed over 2 lbs! I always enjoy walking by and seeing the Equinox signs because I helped draft the provisions that govern them.

5. You have been an attorney working in commercial real estate for many years. As an attorney you could have chosen many paths. What made you decide to pursue real estate law?

I pursued real estate law because it gives me a chance to negotiate on behalf of my client, but at the end of the day, everyone is working towards a common goal to get the deal done or the lease signed and I enjoy that spirit of cooperation.

6. What is one of your favorite parts of being a CREW LA member?

One of my favorite parts of being a CREW LA member was serving on the committee for the CREW LA 30th Anniversary Gala – it was a nice way to meet other members on a more personal level and it was a great feeling of accomplishment to see our work come together and result in a wonderful event for CREW LA.

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Veronique Trimble, Associate at Park & Velayos LLP

1. It is an honor to interview you for our member spotlight. What has been your biggest challenge to get to where you are in your career?

It is an honor to be interviewed! The biggest challenge for me was probably the gap between what I was taught about environmental law and land use in law school, and what I do working with developers on complex entitlements to build in Southern California.. I had taken a few environmental law courses in law school. But a land use practice also requires knowledge of real estate, urban planning and local politics. The more I learned, the more I became fascinated with land use and real estate law, with how varied and complex our clients’ issues can be, and with how the solutions we help craft translate to the apartments where people live, the stores where they shop, the offices where they work and even the arenas and cultural centers that are part of the fabric of our community.

2. As a woman in Commercial Real Estate, what do you feel was most beneficial to you to jump start your career?

I have been with Park & Velayos for a little over four years, since I graduated from law school. Working with knowledgeable, friendly partners and colleagues in a firm where asking questions has always been encouraged has made all the difference in terms of my ability to work at the center of complex projects. I was encouraged from my very first day at the firm to ask questions, be curious, and delve into land use and other legal and business issues. As I’ve grown more seasoned, I’m still cultivating my curiosity and asking questions. It helps that while I’ve stayed in a focused practice area, every project is a different, so I am constantly learning.

3. What are you most looking forward to this year as a CREW-LA member?

I am a relatively new member, so I still have many people to meet within the accomplished and generous CREW-LA network of women. I have already enjoyed attending local lunches and other events. Meeting other CREW-LA members and hearing about their careers and experiences in real estate has been a fantastic window into our field. So I am looking forward to meeting more of the CREW-LA network and to deepening relationships with the talented women I have already met.

4. As our interview comes to a close, I think our readers would want to know what advice you would give to a young woman just starting out in Commercial Real Estate in Los Angeles?

There’s probably nothing more exciting, and frightening, than being new to your field. There’s also no better time to be an active observer: listen, watch and learn from every meeting/task, no matter how minor. And of course, ask questions. People like sharing their knowledge and experience with you. The knowledge and experience you gain will boost your confidence and will help you better your serve clients.

Jennifer Hsu Headshot

Jennifer Hsu, MAI, ASA | Vice President
CBRE | Valuation & Advisory Services
Hospitality and Gaming Group Member
[email protected] | 213.613.3264

 

1. Jennifer, it is an honor to interview you for our member spotlight. You have worked in Commercial Real Estate for over 15 years. What has been your biggest challenge to get to where you are in your career?

The biggest challenge for me has been sticking to the field of real estate. CRE is a cyclical market and
especially within the hotel market that I work in. Many real estate professionals have to manage the ups and downs of the market as it relates to personal salary and life style. Being an appraiser within the CRE field requires a strong interest and dedication. Whether you’ve been in the field for 2 years or 20 years, you will be continually challenged to balance work and life.

2. You specialize in valuations for hospitality. How did you come to choose this specialty?

I studied hotel management in college and it was a natural first job for me. My first job was with HVS
International where I learned my trade as an appraiser. It was a great training ground and I enjoyed eing able to travel the country appraising various hotels. After all, the hotel business is a global industry and knowing multiple markets was a real benefit in growing professionally.

3. As a woman in Commercial Real Estate, what do you feel was most beneficial to you to jump start your career?

A passion for real estate. Like all aspects of life, without passion and dedication, it is hard to succeed.

4. How have you used CREW-LA to grow your business? Can you tell us about a time when being a part of CREW has come in handy to complete a goal or deal?

Being part of CREW allowed me to meet many senior women in this field. As an entrepreneur, I received invaluable marketing advise from fellow member Cheryl Yanez, whom I met at a First Thursday lunch. I was
looking for ways to do business and bidding on government contracts. Cheryl had been doing business with
government entities for many years and was able to show me the ropes.

5. As our interview comes to a close, I think our readers would want to know what advice you would give to a young woman just starting out in Commercial Real Estate in Los Angeles?

There as so many fields within CRE and I encourage young professionals to explore the career that best fits with their personality. After you’ve discovered your path, stick with it. Only hard work and dedication will make you successful.

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Kate Haupert – UCLA endowment winner

[email protected]anderson.ucla.edu and https://www.linkedin.com/in/katherinehaupert

1. It is an honor to interview you for our member spotlight.  You have been selected as our UCLA Endowment Scholarship winner for 2016. Tell me a little bit about the process that you went through to earn this distinguished award?

When I came to business school I wasn’t 100% sure of the path I wanted to take. I heard business school was great if you knew exactly what you wanted to do or if you didn’t have any idea of what you wanted to do. I was in the latter group. I worked in education for 6 years and my biggest takeaway was I loved community building. Because of that I thought real estate development could be really interesting since it had a strong community building component, but I was hesitant because it was such a big jump from the education world. Luckily, I found a really supportive network in the Anderson real estate community. I started to network with current students until I felt I had a better sense of what real estate was all about. I then started to network outside of Anderson. The more people I talked to the more I fell in love with real estate development. I joined our real estate club and got heavily involved as a director.  I also had a ton of support from The Ziman Center at UCLA and my career adviser at Anderson. I think what ultimately happened was I found something I was super passionate about and the process followed organically after I took the leap.

2. As a Masters Student at UCLA Anderson School of Management, and a prior teacher from Boston, what led you to Los Angeles and, particularly, to your involvement with CREW-LA?

Besides running away from the Boston winters, I knew LA was a city I needed to live in. I’m extremely interested in all of the changes taking place downtown and I love the LA culture (or the many LA cultures). I also wanted to go to a school where people pursued many different career paths as I wasn’t sure about mine at the time. Anderson was the perfect fit.

When I started doing informational interviews one of the first people I talked to was Reisa Bloc. She was involved in CREW-LA and had great things to say about it. She recommended joining. I have also found the real estate community here extremely supportive – particularly the women – so I’m always looking for opportunities to meet and learn from amazing women doing amazing work.

3. As a young woman just getting started in Commercial Real Estate, what do you feel would be most beneficial to you to jump start your career?

For me, having people believe in me was the most beneficial thing. I had a few people at Anderson (who weren’t involved in the real estate community) tell me it was too big of a jump to go from education to real estate. I found many of my fellow real estate students had worked in real estate before coming to Anderson and I started to wonder if the jump was possible. Having people tell me my past experience was valid and having people take a risk on me for my summer internship was pivotal.

I also really do believe organizations like CREW-LA are essential for people like me. It is a great place to learn and be challenged.

4.How have you used CREW-LA and your new-found relationships to further your education and hone your craft?

Being in a supportive environment like CREW-LA has allowed me to learn so much more about real estate. When I first really started pursuing real estate I was always so uncomfortable asking questions because I assumed everyone else knew all of the answers. I remember talking to people and I had no idea what their job title meant and I never asked. It wasn’t until I attended a CREW-LA event that I realized people who have been in the industry for years still ask for clarification around job titles. It was a huge “aha” moment for me. I have also met so many amazing women and men through CREW-LA who have been more than happy to meet with me to discuss their careers.

5. What are you most looking forward to this year as a CREW-LA member?  Any big goals that you would like to share?

I’m looking forward to learning more about the LA real estate community and all of the different ways CREW-LA members contribute. I was inspired at a recent CREW-LA event to learn how to better meet people and network at networking events.  I usually find them very intimidating, but after hearing a panelist describe how she approaches networking events I now have a goal of mastering networking events. One big goal I have is to begin working on a business plan for a real estate company I’d like to open on my own someday. The connections and experiences I will gain this year with CREW-LA will be vital in helping me meet this goal.

6. As our interview comes to a close, I think our readers would want to know what your dream job is when you leave UCLA and how can we help you to achieve it?

I want to work for a RE developer who is engaged in community building and is a responsible partner to the communities around its projects. CREW-LA has done so much to already support me. I’m looking forward to more CREW-LA events and networking opportunities.

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Patti Chaffee
Vice President, Stewart Title Guaranty
National Commercial Services
310.903.3845
[email protected]

1. It is an honor to interview you for our member spotlight. You have spent several years in real estate both on the residential side and the commercial side. What have you learned by working on both sides?

I think the most important thing I have learned is that I love real estate and its many facets. The difference between residential and commercial is night and day both transactionally as well as fundamentally. Commercial real estate is so compelling for me because it really comes down to numbers and if the deal pencils; rarely is there any emotional attachment involved. It is so rewarding to take a project from the entitlement stage through completion; likewise it is really special to see an old building transformed into something new and exciting that can impact an entire community.

2. Looking back and looking ahead, what do you see as the future of Commercial Real Estate, particularly as it relates to women?

I have been really blessed to be mentored by some amazing women in this industry, many of whom are CREW members. In so doing, it has truly allowed me to see the industry from so many different perspectives, and all I can see ahead is growth. With foreign investment remaining steady in the US, rents continuing to rise, interest rates barely rising, and institutional buyers continuing to flood the market, I see a strong market ahead. More and more each day I come across strong women who have forged a path for us in commercial real estate and I am watching women really soar in their roles.

3. Do you have any advice for women just entering the field of Commercial Real Estate?

I think the best advice I can give to someone just entering the CRE field is to take every opportunity you can get to learn something new. Every deal is different and there is a new lesson for me every day. Likewise, I would suggest that networking is key. At the end of the day this is a relationship business and the more people you know, the better. Lastly, get involved! CREW is obviously a great place to start as you are surrounded by like-minded women who want to help you succeed. Reach out to me. I’d love to get to know you and your goals. Let’s do some business together!

4. How have you used CREW LA and your relationships to grow your business?

In the beginning I used CREW to get to know more people in the industry and to learn what role they played. Now, particularly with Fiona’s focus this year on helping each other grow our businesses, I am taking the opportunity to introduce myself to people who I want to work with and who I can help. I have made some lifelong friends in CREW and I am excited for what this year will bring.

5. You are the chair for the Communications Committee for CREWLA for the second year. What are some of the goals for your committee this year?

We are really excited this year to really get our name out there via Social Media, our newsletter,
and email campaigns. This is the year of pictures for us as we want to highlight all of the
opportunities available through CREW LA to meet new people, grow your business, and be a part
of wonderful movement to support Women in Commercial Real Estate. To that end, if you have any pictures from events, be sure to share with us! Likewise, our intention is to increase our footprint across multiple channels. If you haven’t already, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram. And as far as committees go, I highly suggest it! Not only do you meet wonderful new people, but you get to leave your imprint on our organization.

6. What are you most looking forward to for our CREW LA chapter in 2016? Any big goals year?

This year I am really looking forward to helping my fellow CREW members to grow their business and I am excited to grow mine as well. Personally, I am looking to get at least one new client in every major market across the US and I intend on using my CREW connections to accomplish that goal. I am excited for our First Thursday Member Only Networking Events as we will be incorporating a notable member of the CRE community at each event so that we can interact on a more intimate level. And lastly, I am looking forward to building new friendships and growing my business at the same time. 2016 is already shaping up to be an epic year for me and my business and I am thrilled to be learning and growing with the best of the best.

Fiona McCarthy HeadshotFiona McCarthy
Vice President, Business Banking
CREW-LA President-Elect/Delegate

Bank of America

1. It is an honor to interview you for our member spotlight. You have been preparing all year to
take over the presidency of our CREW LA chapter. What has been your biggest “Aha” moment this year
as it relates to CREW?

For me, it’s been connecting with some of the legacy members and seeing how CREW helped them with their career and professional development. Many of these women are tremendously successful. I am so impressed by how much they give back in presence, mentoring, and accessibility. Due to the role CREW played in supporting them in their careers earlier on, they make the time to give back. They are wonderful examples of the advancement women in real estate have made, and of what CREW can do to help support members along that path.

2. Looking back and looking ahead, what do you see as the future of Commercial Real Estate, particularly as it relates to women?

Nothing but good things! Our membership base has brokers, loan originators, Engineers, Developers, Appraisers…. You name a role in CRE real estate and women are present.

3. Do you have any advice for women just entering the field of Commercial Real Estate in Los
Angeles?

Get involved. See how you can make a contribution, even if it seems like a chore initially. Our lasting connections come from our partnerships and shared achievements.

4. How have you used CREW LA and your relationships to grow your business?

Absolutely. I make it a point in being deliberate about both giving and getting referrals through CREW. We encourage newer members to let us know who they need to meet to grow their business and we make a point of helping them find those connections through introductions where we can.

5. Can you give me a specific example of a recent situation where being a CREW member helped you to grow personally and/or professionally?

I have a client that is purchasing new real estate construction for Owner Occupancy. They needed a Phase I, Tenant Improvements, Furniture, Equipment financing. I was able to provide a value add through recommendations and assistance they needed through CREW connections.

6. What are you most looking forward to for our CREW LA chapter in 2016?

Any big goals that you would like to share? I’m most looking forward to working with the Board and Committees. As much as I
enjoy the networking events and getting to know all the members, it’s at the committee and board level where you really get to know the individual and have a deeper understanding of how you can help their career. My goal is just to ensure it’s an enjoyable and rewarding experience for our members and volunteers.

7. As our interview comes to a close, I think our readers would want to know what was your most memorable commercial real estate transaction and why?

Moving to the commercial banking side and doing owner occupied transactions has brought a personal element to the transaction that makes them more memorable and rewarding.

Crystal Fiedler

1. It is an honor to interview you for our member spotlight. You have had quite a year! As your tenure as president starts to wind down, can you share what you feel is your greatest accomplishment this year for CREW? What was your biggest challenge?

It is my honor to be interviewed, thank you! This year has been fast-paced with many exciting opportunities and successes, I can’t believe it’s almost over! With a booming real estate community and strong Board of Directors, Advisory Board and Committee Members, we have achieved many goals in building CREW-LA this year and supporting our mission of , “Advancing the Success of Women in Commercial Real Estate”. This years’ focus was on the value of our members and we succeeded in diversifying and growing our membership base 20%. We hosted quality monthly chapter events, brought back our popular member Dine-Arounds, and rebranded our website, newsletter and social media to be more consistent with our communications. One of my biggest challenges was trying to find time to attend all of the amazing events we hosted and meet all of our wonderful new members.

2. You have worked in the commercial real estate industry for several years, looking back and looking ahead, what do you see as the future of Commercial Real Estate, particularly as it relates to women?

In the past 12 years of my being involved in the Commercial Architecture and Design industry, I have noticed significant strides made to increase diversity in the workplace. Some of the largest commercial real estate and architecture firms are creating their own women’s initiatives in the workplace to support female employees and encourage them to work together and seek out mentors and sponsors to achieve Executive and C-Suite level roles. It is inspiring and motivating to be a part of this shift in our workplace. We owe a big thank you to the women before us that blazed the trail so that it is possible for future female generations to have a chance at the Executive and C-Suite level positions and receive competitive pay. CREW Network is currently working on a white paper with MIT that will track the progress made in the last 5 years and show how far we have come. It should be published in a few months, so keep an eye out for it!

3. Do you have any advice for women just entering the field of Commercial Real Estate in Los Angeles?

I always encourage young graduates and professionals to take on challenging roles in their desired field and be prepared to say yes and work long hours. Even if you don’t know what you are doing, you can learn as you go. I always told myself to “fake it, till I made it” and for the most part it worked in my favor. My confidence helped me try new things and I wasn’t afraid to make mistakes and learn from them. It is the best way to get hands-on experience while building your network of professionals and determining early in your career what the best path is for you.

4. How have you used CREW LA and your relationships to grow your business?

I am a big proponent of making introductions for others. I find that as I seek to connect people and help them get business, I learn more about them and find ways to work with them too! People remember when you introduce them to a client that turns into a successful deal and they find a way to return the favor.

5. Can you give me a specific example of a recent situation where being a CREW member helped you to grow personally and/or professionally?

The entire year of my Presidency has helped be grow personally and professionally. I have been blessed to work with many amazing women in different sectors of real estate, including some inspiring Past CREW-LA Presidents. They have mentored, encouraged, and helped me thru challenges, while allowing me to refine my leadership skills. My detail oriented nature was put to the test while juggling my day-job and the responsibilities of CREW-LA, but it forced me to prioritize and surround myself with people whose talents complimented and accentuated mine. I have made life-long friends thru CREW-LA and truly see the benefits of being involved in this amazing organization.

6.As our interview comes to a close, I think our readers would want to know what advice you have for those who would like to participate in CREW and serve on a higher level?

Getting involved in a CREW-LA committee is the best way to get engaged and start building solid relationships with other professionals. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others, or me, if you have questions about joining a committee or the Board, or if you want an introduction to one of our members. CREW-LA is only as strong as the members that give their time selflessly to support us. We have so many exciting things planned for CREW-LA in the future and we invite you all to participate, collaborate, and contribute to the success!

Tim Kawahara Headshot2

Tim Kawahara
CREW-LA Advisory Board Member
Executive Director of UCLA’s Ziman Center for Real Estate

 

1. It is an honor to interview you for our member spotlight. You have been such a strong supporter of our organization and have served on our Advisory Board for many years. In your opinion, how has commercial real estate changed since you entered the field?

That’s a big question to answer. In many ways, the tenets of doing business in commercial real estate remain constant, but the industry has also experienced much change and disruption. Just consider the many reforms and new business paradigms resulting from the Great Recession. Success and failure in commercial real estate is largely determined by how effectively one manages cycles. As the Executive Director of a university-based research center, I tend to focus at the macro-level rather than at the deal-level. Some of the macroeconomic indicators that have impacted all sectors include the growing influence of technology, shifting capital flows—both domestic and international, monetary policy, demographic changes, labor market movements, monetary policy, and e-commerce.

2. As the Executive Director of UCLA’s Ziman Center for Real Estate, you have a unique view of the real estate scene in Los Angeles. That said, what do you see as the future of Commercial Real Estate as it relates to women?

As an industry, commercial real estate remains disproportionately male, but women have made real strides. The glass ceiling is formidable, but I see more women in the industry today than ever before, and in very highly placed roles. I believe we have entered a period where firms are placing greater value and focus on gender diversity, as they should (women are talented!). As a result, I believe there are more mentors—both men and women—available to women seeking upward mobility in the industry. Institutions like UCLA must also do their part by exposing and encouraging women to pursue rewarding careers in real estate as part of their formal education and training.

3. Do you have any advice for professionals just entering the field of Commercial Real Estate in Los Angeles?

Real estate is a relationship-driven business. We have all heard some iteration of this statement a million times over, but it cannot be overstated. I tell our students at UCLA to get to know as many people in the industry as possible, and not just in the sectors they are interested in. Real estate is a multi-disciplinary business, and it is helpful to know something about all facets of the industry. Seeking professional relationships is not just about networking and sourcing deals, it is also about learning from others. The really successful people in commercial real estate seem to know everyone, and that’s not an accident.

4. What caused you to want to be an Advisory Board Member for CREW-LA and can you share a defining moment where you felt you were really making a difference for our members?

I really believe in CREW-LA’s mission, to advance the success of women in commercial real estate by providing opportunities for business development and professional growth. I have also made some great friends through CREW-LA! As Executive Director of the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate, I have a platform to promote CREW-LA, which I feel fortunate to be able to do. I am especially proud that we established a permanent endowment at UCLA to provide fellowship support for a student interested in commercial real estate.

5. As our interview comes to a close, do you have any departing thoughts you would like to share with us as it relates to what you see happening in real estate in the next 5 years in Los Angeles?

Los Angeles will face many challenges in the next five years: chronic budget shortfalls, stagnant wage growth, regulatory hurdles, political leadership, traffic, and housing affordability. Despite this, I am very bullish on commercial real estate in Los Angeles. Gateway markets like Los Angeles will continue to attract investors from around the globe. Los Angeles has a diverse and sustainable economy. The region is the main port of entry into the U.S. for goods from Asia and elsewhere. The area is home to a number of top universities, which drive innovation and economic activity. Public transit infrastructure is expanding. Redevelopment activity should remain strong. The sectors that will do well include hotels, multi-family, industrial, office, and retail. Downtown LA, Playa Vista, El Segundo, the LA River, the Inland Empire, and other pockets throughout the region will be interesting to watch. It will also be interesting to see how the preferences of Millennials and Baby Boomers shape the market in the next five years.

bio photo Heather Boran

Heather Boran

1. It is an honor to interview you for our member spotlight.  You have been both an in-house broker and consultant and now you are an independent broker/consultant working in commercial real estate for many years.  What made you decide to pursue commercial real estate?  What has been the major difference between being an employee and owning your own firm?

Thank you for having me and I really appreciate the spotlight CREW utilizes for its members. My career really started with my mom who encouraged me to take the real estate exam, primarily for educational purposes. But don’t tell my mom she was right. I did know, however, that the usual route of residential real estate was not for me and when I learned of opportunities in commercial real estate that really seemed to encompass more of what I enjoy. When working for a company you are salaried, so it is a very different mindset than working for yourself, whether in brokerage or owning a firm. Although there may be a paycheck at the end of the day, you are still working for someone else and their goals, and there is a cap on how much you can earn. Working for yourself, you have to be a “go getter” and work hard to secure business. However, there is a greater potential to earn more. I now personally feel a great fulfillment in being part of my client’s success and seeing them realize their dreams.

2. Looking back and looking ahead, what do you see as the future of Commercial Real Estate,  particularly as it relates to women?

Over the last five to ten years there has been a definite increase in women entering commercial real estate, particularly in brokerage. I recently attended a Women’s Council of Realtors® event and it was amazing to see how many women were involved in different aspects including title, escrow, and even lending. Commercial real estate involves many core strategies like communication, management, and being detailed oriented which I feel are qualities women exemplify.

3. Do you have any advice for women just entering the field of Commercial Real Estate in Los Angeles?

Absolutely. I highly recommend taking introductory courses and seminars to get familiar with some of the concepts relating to acquisitions, leasing, financing, 1031 exchanges, and management. I also recommend “kicking the dirt” and driving the areas and properties to get familiar with all the areas of Los Angeles.

4. How have you used CREW LA and your relationships to grow your business?

As a new member I am still learning the ropes of CREW, but I did recently use the national directory to contact a member in Austin, Texas to help with a client of mine who is looking to expand into the retail market.

5. As our interview comes to a close, I think our readers would want to know what was your most memorable commercial real estate transaction and why?

I always lean towards my very first acquisition in commercial real estate. I was a recent hire at the time and was tasked to find properties for the company’s portfolio. That same month I called on a vacant property at the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue to see if the ownership would be open to selling the property and through a few rounds of negotiations it became my very first closing in the industry. Besides being my first acquisition, the most memorable part has been being able to see the corner change and transition with each tenant through the years and recognizing that in some small way I had a part to play in that ever changing landscape.

If you, or a member you admire, would like to be featured in our member spotlight, please reach out to us at [email protected] with the subject: Member Spotlight.

Marin Rutherford

Marin Turney
Manager, Leasing
U.S. Office Division
Brookfield Property Partners

 

1. It is an honor to interview you for our member spotlight.  Growing up in commercial real estate, you were able to see the progress and change in  the business; particularly as it relates to women.  How has real estate changed since you entered the field?

Since I started in the business, more women have progressed into lead roles on high performing brokerage teams, and there are more women in brokerage, in general.  When I speak to my peers who are searching for additional team members to enhance their business, finding a talented woman for their team seems to be a high priority because so many decision makers on the tenant side are now women.   The more women lead in corporate America, the more important it is to have a strong woman on the service side of the business to align with personality types and interests which help create lasting client relationships.

 

2. You could have chosen many paths, however, you decided on leasing.  What made you decide to go that route?

I started my career as an analyst at JLL which was a great place for me to learn the fundamentals of commercial real estate from a leasing and acquisition standpoint.  I quickly realized that brokerage was a better fit for my skill set by interacting with various groups within the company and I was lucky to be seated near the brokerage section of JLL, which at the time which was a small, close knit group.   I think it was just dumb luck to have fallen into leasing as I didn’t have a set plan to move into brokerage when I started in the business.    It just happened naturally because I became close with the guys I sat near and they offered me a position to join their team.  It worked out for the best because I am still close with them today.

 

3. Looking back and looking ahead, what do you see as the future of Commercial Real Estate, particularly as it relates to women?

I think the CRE is an ever changing world of entrepreneurs and corporate opportunity.  There’s a place for everyone, but it’s not for the faint of heart.   Brokerage, in particular, is a very cyclical business model within CRE and can be drastically impacted by economic change.  In a downturn, attrition is high but when the market is strong, it’s a very exciting environment with lots of growth potential and job opportunity.  I think that the industry is becoming more attractive for women as decision makers within at the corporate level on the client side are becoming more diverse with each passing year and that creates opportunity on the service side.

 

4. Do you have any advice for women just entering the field of Commercial Real Estate in Los Angeles?

Stick with it!  It takes time to establish yourself within the business so don’t give up.  Reputation and relationships will carry your career so make sure you take care of your clients and  peers.   It means everything!

 

5. How have you used CREW LA and your relationships to grow your business?

CREW has opened doors for me in terms of relationship development and interaction with other women outside of the leasing capacity.  What I love about CREW is that I now have a great contact in each area of the business whether it be on the construction, escrow or capital markets front.   Fellow CREW members are always my first call when I have a business need or opportunity for partnership.

 

6. Can you give me a specific example of a recent situation where being a CREW member helped you to grow personally and/or professionally?

I think the most recent example would be meeting Sarah Quinn, a CREW LA member who sits on the programs committee with me.  Sarah recommended that I participate in a panel discussion that her firm was hosting which provided an opportunity for me to meet and connect with hundreds of new contacts whom I wouldn’t have otherwise met.   Through my panel participation, I am now connected to several new tenant prospects for the Brookfield portfolio and have begun to develop these relationships on my own.

 

7. You are our Programs Chair and were recently honored for our Membership Drive; congratulations!How do you feel you have most benefited by participating on a committee for CREW LA?

That’s easy!  Being the programs chair has created the opportunity for me to personally interact with all of our active members at events.   Members email me directly and when I meet them at events, we have natural talking points to further our connection.   The time I’ve put into the position has reaped rewards in terms of relationship building within CREW and outside of CREW through different program sponsors and speakers we’ve secured to enhance programming over the past year.

 

8. As our interview comes to a close, I think our readers would want to know what was your most memorable commercial real estate transaction and why?

Hmmm, that’s a tough question to answer.  If I have to pick only one, I would choose my first transaction in the business.   It was a parking requirement for a large corporate client and I was tasked with identifying overflow spaces for a huge medical facility.   I despised the assignment at the time, but looking back, the transaction was great learning experience for me because I had no formal direction, no access to Costar or LoopNet in addition to a lack of institutional real estate in the area from which to strike a deal.  I spent weeks driving and scouring the local neighborhood for potential parking developments and found myself using fundamental skills such as knocking on doors and creating relationships with local churches and businesses to strike a deal for new ground leases.  The transaction was not a money maker but the result yielded nearly 500 new spaces for the client.  I was 22 years old and felt like I made a difference.   It was a rewarding experience and one of my most challenging assignments to date.

epell

Elizabeth Pell
Wealth Manager
Morgan Stanley
[email protected] | 818.713.4779

1. It is an honor to interview you for our member spotlight. You have been a wealth manager working in commercial real estate for many years. As an advisor you could have chosen many roles. What made you decide to pursue commercial real estate to build your business?

Thank you for thinking of me. Part of managing wealth is taking a holistic view of someone’s money and life. Often I see managers look singularly at liquid assets, but do not encompass the whole picture. To create an accurate and realistic picture of your goals and need, I think it would be detrimental to not include commercial real estate. Everyone’s situation is of course unique, but I think commercial real estate can be a vital part of that picture.

 2. Looking back and looking ahead, what do you see as the future of Commercial Real Estate?

I am very optimistic for the future of Commercial Real Estate. I think the dynamics of what we think is a typical use of CRE will change. For example, the growth of online and mobile transactions might require larger, multiple distribution centers closer to their target markets. This would allow more prompt delivery. This is especially important in a physically large market like Los Angeles. I am excited for the future because I think it will be something very new and different. As far as for women, I think CRE is a great space. I think there a lot of great opportunities not only for entry but to move up scale. For instance, ten years ago, it was possible to work completely remote, but it is much easier today. Society is shifting to allow more flexibility in the workday. Because of this, women entering the workforce today, I think have greater opportunity to get into positions they were otherwise precluded from. Approximately 80 percent of married households under the age of forty, are two income households. Compared with only about 30 percent of those over the age of 60. The growing addition of more professional women in the work force will provide a positive driver in terms of equality and the economy in the long-term.

 3. Do you have any advice for women just entering the field of Wealth Management and Commercial Real Estate in Los Angeles?

For either field, I think it is so important to remain open-minded. You never know where your next opportunity will come from. I would encourage women looking to join Wealth Management or Commercial Real Estate to take the risk in their careers. Too often, we feel comfortable not making changes or rocking the boat. However, the best chance to leap to the next level is to call that large C-suite person to be your next client, or to take on a new project that might be outside your scope. Or for me, to take brief time out to learn a new skill. I took a risk not that long ago that paid off. I made time to study, take six exams, and a final two-day exam, to be a Certified Financial PlannerTM. I already had some specialized knowledge in retirement planning, via my Chartered Retirement Plans SpecialistTM certification. However, I felt it was important to my clients to gain the additional technical knowledge and apply it in a meaningful way. The additional licensing opened-up far more doors than I originally expected. It has produced far more referrals from existing clients and my network. Even though I risked a substantial amount of time, it was worth going the extra mile.

 4. How have you used CREW LA and your relationships to grow your business? particularly as it relates to women?

As with everything, it is what you make of it. I think the keyword is ‘relationships’. Some businesses are done with informal introductions, but for me, it is about getting to know and trust someone. I manage someone’s life savings. I do not take people’s relationships or the trust they have put in me lightly. I think the best way to build those kinds of relationships is to follow-up and follow-through with people. Do what you say you are going to do, especially when it comes to the small stuff. Most professionals are good at the ‘big’ stuff, but keeping it simple and staying on top of the little things can really make you stand out.

5. Can you give me a specific example of a recent situation where being a CREW member helped you to grow personally and/or professionally?

For me, the best part of CREW-LA are the resources. If there is something I need from someone, it makes a world of difference having a specific person to call. Whenever it comes to CRE, I am thrilled to be able to pull out my CREW-LA Rolodex, and provide a powerful, meaningful reference. It has been a much appreciated two-way street of professionals, asking each other what might work for a mutual client. Being in Wealth Management, I am limited in what I can specifically discuss, for privacy purposes. Personally, I have made the additional effort to seek the guidance of other CREW-LA members. I appreciate that the fields are similar but different. To me, those mentors can provide fresh insight on a situation.

 6. As our interview comes to a close, I think our readers would want to know what was your most memorable commercial real estate relationship or transaction and why?

The most memorable would be one that included a legacy of eleven competing family members for a used car dealership, a chicken farm, and an industrial strip. The assets were unrelated to each other, other than the original owners. It was more about managing the family, than about managing the investments. Managing people through hard times has been one of the greatest skills I feel I have acquired as a Wealth Manager. There are a lot of people who can manage investments, especially when times are good. Yet there are so few who will take the time with you, understand where you are coming from, and be there for you when times get tough. After all, the only constant is change.

 Jennifer Hafner

Jennifer Hafner_Photo

1. It is an honor to interview you for our member spotlight.  You have been an working in commercial real estate for many years.  As an appraiser, you are definitely a minority in your field.  What made you decide to pursue Commercial Real Estate?

I made a career change from the High Tech Industry to become a commercial appraiser and made the transition about 10 years ago. I have always loved real estate and wanted to know the values of properties. It seemed like a good fit for me to pursue a career as an appraiser. As many areas of commercial real estate, the appraisal field is predominately male, but I saw an opportunity where I would be able to build good relationships with clients and have a strong mentor-ship opportunities with senior appraisers in the industry.

2. Looking back and looking ahead, what do you see as the future of Commercial Real Estate, particularly as it relates to women?

I think the opportunities in commercial real estate are completely open for women and we are the only one’s holding ourselves back. The market is growing and there are so many disciplines in commercial real estate to choose from to fit any skill set.

3. Do you have any advice for women just entering the field of Commercial Real Estate in Los Angeles?

Network! You need to get out there and meet other successful women and men in your specific field and within the commercial real estate industry.  There are highly successful women in all disciplines of commercial real estate and I think the key to success is to really know your skill set or key strengths.

a) Identify your key strengths. What do you like to do? What are you naturally good at?

b) Look for positions that will play to your strengths. Speak with other CREW members about their positions and what they do. There is a wealth of information from our own membership, that can education and help you find the right fit

c)   Give back. I know that starting a new career is time consuming, but I highly encourage you to get involved.  I think this is where the magic of CREW comes from, we all like to do business with people we know and trust. Participating in CREW and other organizations is the perfect way to build those long term relationships.

4. How have you used CREW LA and your relationships to grow your business?

I was fortunate enough to be mentored as my first job as an appraiser, by  Karen Davison, MAI, who is a CREW Los Angeles member. Karen encouraged me to become involved in CREW and this was the best advice for me professionally, as my membership exposed me to the world of commercial real estate. I have found that CREW Los Angeles members have been very supportive and have benefited from many referrals over the years.

 5. Can you give me a specific example of a recent situation where being a CREW member helped you to grow personally and/or professionally?

I am a member of both CREW Los Angeles and CREW Inland Empire and am fortunate to have been exposed to so many members that have helped me along the way in my career development. However recently, a fellow CREW Inland Empire Board Member, Jeanne Batista, and I were discussing CREW related business and Jeanne asked a simple question, “Is that anything I can do to help you today?” My normal reaction is to say, I am fine, all is well and I can figure things out on my own, but on that day, I did say, “Yes, actually I am looking for some lease comps of government buildings and am having a hard time finding something.” Jeanne then said that she is working with an architect that has designed government buildings in the area and would send a message to see if he could help and he did. Jeanne’s client was able to put me in contact with a developer that had all the information I was looking for.  This is a simple example of the power of the CREW network.  My suggestion to all members is to remember to just ask a simple question, “How can I help you today?” and you never know what opportunities will come up, because of this simple question.

6. As our interview comes to a close, I think our readers would want to know what was your most memorable commercial real estate transaction and why?

As an appraiser we are exposed to all sorts of interesting properties and a lot of times with interesting histories. I don’t have any one specific project that stands out for me, but I have found some of the most interesting jobs to be projects that were outside of my comfort zone. It is always scary and intimidating to take on a project that has a lot of complexities, but I have found that I learn the most and grow so much through the struggle.  It is easy to take on projects that we feel comfortable with, but if you are willing to take a risk and possibly fail, I think we can grow personally and professional much further than we ever thought we could.

Thank you so much Jennifer for sharing with us today.  We look forward to watching you continue to soar this year!

Juliana Stamato

Juliana Stamato_042

Juliana,

1. It is an honor to interview you for our member spotlight.  You have been an attorney working in commercial real estate for many years.  As an attorney you could have chosen many paths.  What made you decide to pursue real estate law?

I did not plan to practice real estate law, but I wanted to represent employees in the workplace. I started my career as a litigator-in-training at a large law firm, where I spent endless hours researching the law and writing pleadings and memos. That, I soon decided, was not for me. To my delight, when I switched to commercial real estate, I became captivated by all aspects of the real estate deal, including structuring the transaction, drafting and negotiating agreements and interacting with the clients. I was hooked.

How has real estate law changed since you entered the field?

When I started in the 1980s, attorneys generally were less savvy about the business needs of their clients and spoke too often from ivory towers. Our profession has changed since then, and now we work harder to understand our clients’ needs and objectives. We offer clients more practical and strategic advice and solutions. Also, industry competition has compelled us to perform our work more efficiently and in a cost-effective manner. We now strive to play an instrumental role on our client’s team.

 2. Looking back and looking ahead, what do you see as the future of Commercial Real Estate, particularly as it relates to women?

Although it’s clear that we have a long way to go, we are growing accustomed to seeing women occupy the C-suite in the business world, including commercial real estate. More women are assuming leadership roles in the real estate industry, including commercial real estate companies, REIT’s, and banking. Hopefully, we will make faster strides in educating both men and women as to the assets that women can bring as leaders in the industry. Companies that have diversity at the top are choosing their leaders from a larger talent pool, and that makes good business sense.

3. Do you have any advice for women just entering the field of Commercial Real Estate in Los Angeles?

Serve your clients well by becoming experts in your field. Learn technical aspects of your field and glean lessons from every person you work with. Take steps to understand the business of your clients so that you can effectively help them achieve their goals. Women tend to undervalue their worth, so I would stress the importance of preparing well, but then practice showing confidence even if you are out of your comfort zone. Treat others as you would want to be treated. Finally, it’s important to network and to keep in touch with the people you meet. In the end, expertise and building relationships are keys to your success.

4. How have you used CREW LA and your relationships to grow your business?

By serving on the Board of Directors for four years, I developed wonderful friendships and expanded my network of industry colleagues and resources exponentially. Working closely together with other CREW-LA members has enabled me to develop a growing list of competent and well-connected real estate experts. I have referred work to my fellow CREW-LA colleagues and, in turn, I have received referrals from them. My clients know that I am connected to these resources, and that makes me more valuable to them.

5. Can you give me a specific example of a recent situation where being a CREW member helped you to grow personally and/or professionally?

CREW-LA, California CREW and CREW Network offer programs which have been an excellent learning experience for me both personally and professionally. The speakers at these programs are top-notch and informative. Many programs provided me with useful information about high profile real estate projects and trends, including developments in downtown Los Angeles, the Expo Line, Union Station and work-play mixed use projects. Other programs have inspired me to be bold in my practice. For example, at the last CREW Network convention, Hillary Clinton urged women to take on more risks in our professional roles, and Katty Kay (co-author of The Confidence Code) encouraged women to exude more confidence in the work setting.   I can’t wait to hear what Madeleine Albright has to say at the next CREW Network convention.

6. As our interview comes to a close, I think our readers would want to know what was your most memorable commercial real estate transaction and why?

The last transaction, of course. Seriously, I remember all of the deals that involved a rush of adrenaline, where there was so much to do in so little time. I remember the purchase of 3 hotels in 3 states in a transaction that started the day after Thanksgiving and closed before Christmas, the purchases, sales and financings that involved property and recordings in multiple states, the leases that had to be negotiated and signed “yesterday” before the current leases ran out, the acquisition of a hospital that had to close by a firm deadline or the client would lose the entire deal, and the closing that was moved up to the next day instead of 3 days later. All of these deals are unforgettable in my mind.

Thank you so much Julie for your time and for sharing your wisdom with us. We wish you the best of luck in 2015 and we are thrilled to watch you continue to thrive.

–Patti Chaffee

Tori Robinson

ToriRobinson

Tori is currently the Vice President and Los Angeles County Sales Manager for First American Title, National Commercial Services. She is an active member of CREW-LA and was the 2009 Los Angeles Chapter President. In 2012 Ms. Robinson was honored as one of the “Women at the Top” by the Los Angeles Chapter of CREW. She was honored in 2009 as one of the 40 “Women of Influence” by Real Estate Southern California Magazine. In 2005 she received “The Best Commercial Title Professional” award for the San Fernando Valley Business Journal’s “Honoring Women in Commercial Real Estate”. She resides in Calabasas with her husband.

1. It is an honor to interview you for our inaugural member spotlight. You have been in commercial real estate for almost 25 years. How has the role of women changed in our field from the time you started until now?

In 25 years I believe the most significant change that I have observed is that women in commercial real estate are more confident in their belief that they can achieve higher levels of pay and position. There is much more conversation about diversity and parity than ever before.

2. Looking back and looking ahead, what do you see as the future of Commercial Real Estate, particularly as it relates to women?

Always the forever optimist, I believe that the sky is the limit. There is certainly still work to do. Company cultures are still in need of a paradigm shift and we still need to see more women at the C-suite levels across the industry. However, I am feeling good about all that I am seeing.

3. Do you have any advice for women just entering the field of Commercial Real Estate in Los Angeles?

It may sound cliché, however, my best advice to women beginning in commercial real estate is to be authentic, be yourself and be confident about what you know and what you do not know. I see too many women trying too hard to be who they think they should be and that is always very awkward and sometimes off-putting. Also, learn as much as you can…never stop learning!

4. How have you used CREW LA and your relationships to grow your business?

My membership in CREW-LA has been so meaningful. By getting involved in committees and the board of directors, I have forged friendships that have transcended my professional life. Because of these friendships I have become a trusted advisor and have been asked to be involved in numerous real estate transactions that have resulted in pay days. Taking advantage of the CREW Network leadership trainings at Conferences and National Conventions has been extremely valuable and has helped me in developing as a person, colleague and leader. Lastly, I am so proud to be an active member in an organization whose mission is to advance the success of WOMEN! People are interested and curious about CREW and it gives me a great opportunity to connect with people when CREW is the subject of the conversation.

5. Can you give me a specific example of a recent situation where being a CREW LA member helped you to grow personally and/or professionally?

The resources available to CREW members via the CREW Network web site are invaluable. In 2008 CREW published a white paper about compensation and women in commercial real estate. After reading this white paper, I felt empowered and negotiated one of the highest comp packages that I had earned in my career at that time. Since then, I always have the advice given in that white paper in the back of my mind and have used the information in subsequent negotiations. There have been several white papers published since and they have all had a terrific impact on me and my career path.

Thank you so much Tori for your words of wisdom. We look forward to sharing your experiences with our current and future members and continuing to watch you thrive.

If you, or a member you admire, would like to be featured in our member spotlight, please reach out to us at [email protected] with the subject: Member Spotlight.