Bisnow was thrilled to celebrate the top 50 women in Chicago commercial real estate last night with 400 friends, supporters and sponsors at Trump International Hotel and Tower.
Bisnow's Power Women are boundary-pushing trailblazers, changing the built environment and the commercial real estate industry. They are also leaders and role models who are inspiring and nurturing the next generation (many of whom joined us for great networking and to rub shoulders with the movers and shakers).
The event was the culmination of our seven-part series of profiles, telling the stories of these extraordinary women and their rise to their positions of influence. (You can read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 and Part 7).
Honorees: Magellan Development Group's Robin Loewenberg Tebbe; Capri Capital Partners' Gwendolyn Butler; Cushman & Wakefield's Marilyn Lissner; Prudential Real Estate Investors' Collete English Dixon; and Gensler's Nila Leiserowitz. Outside Chicago, Magellan just opened LPM Apartments in Minneapolis, it's under construction in Nashville, and Miami and Austin are next, Robin says. Gwen tells us Capri's branching into urban retail, net-lease and abroad with the formation of Capri Africa, an investment organization focused on sub-Saharan Africa. With over $4B in transactions, Marilyn's longtime clients range from insurance companies to entrepreneurs to major corporations. Collete currently co-leads PREI's national investment dispositions platform, and she's had her fingers on many buildings dotting the Chicago skyline. Nila's splashy projects have included Motorola Mobility's high-profile HQ in the Merchandise Mart and ConocoPhillips' forward-thinking Canadian HQ.
More fabulous honorees: GE Capital's Debbie Riley; WBS Equities' Wendy Berger Shapiro; and Fifield Cos' Randy Fifield. Debbie runs GE's capital markets for North America, and business is booming. (The firm expects its CMBS lending volume for 2014 will be approximately $625M and anticipates $1B-plus in 2015.) Wendy's latest triumphs building food manufacturing and distribution facilities include a state-of-the-art pizza distribution center in Romeoville and the LEED Platinum Testa Produce building in the city. Fifield is constantly evolving with boundary-pushing projects in new neighborhoods (like soon-to-open 356-unit E2 in Evanston), thanks to Randy's sharp eye on development and design trends.
Inland Real Estate Income Trust's JoAnn McGuinness, an honoree, between Helen Kwak and Tom McGuinness. JoAnn has been instrumental in billion-dollar deals. This year, it was Inland Diversified's $2.2B merger with Kite Realty Group. At IREIT she's closely involved in acquisitions and due diligence, and she's also CEO of Inland Investment Real Estate Services.
Colliers' Lynn Reich and Prime Property Investors' Barb Gaffen, both honorees. Last year a client's 10-year lease expansion (adding 250k SF to 575k SF) ended up being the biggest of Lynn's career (in aggregate), pushing her over the threshold to be Colliers' top producer. Barb is doing the biggest deals of her career in one of multifamily's hottest markets—Houston. Each is 300-plus units, in PPI's new sandbox of $30M to $50M deals.
A trio of Power Women: Kensington Realty Advisors' Kelley Smith; MB Real Estate's Ann Tomlinson; and Tishman Speyer's Vicki Noonan. With $1B under management, Kensington recently picked up a foreign investor client and is focused on student and senior housing, Kelley says. Ann most recently worked her repositioning magic at Citigroup Center (only 65% full after AIG left in 2004), which GE Asset Management sold last year to KBS Capital Advisors for a record $425M. Vicki's had a whirlwind year with the recent sale of 353 North Clark to Heitman, development plans for 130 North Franklin and a hugely successful repositioning of The Franklin (William Blair and McDermott Will & Emery are vacating in 2017).
Golub's Paula Harris with The Chicago Corp's Trish Kelly, both honorees. As one of Golub's principals, Paula's involved in a number of areas of the business and is intimate with the residential side, including the firm's recent groundbreaking on 490-unit 545 North McClurg. As a registered rep at The Chicago Corp, Trish acts as a financial engineer and strategic CFO, helping real estate companies and small banks optimize their capital structures by raising debt and equity.
Baum Realty Group's Janika Brenner, a Power Woman, with husband Stage Equity Partners' Russell Brenner. Janika continues to be a key player in Bucktown's evolution having closed more than 20 neighborhood deals, most recently signing activewear brand Stio out of Jackson Hole. (Fun fact: She and Russell attended your Chicago reporter's alma mater, Tufts University. Go Jumbos!)
Newmark Grubb Knight Frank Power Women: Elise Couston and Melissa Copley. Elise has repped massive business parks and she's an industrial build-to-suit whiz, with assignments including Bison Gear and Engineering and DuPage Precision Products. Melissa completed Seyfarth Shaw's 200k SF Willis Tower lease at Mohr Partners before moving to NGKF, and she counts GATX as a longtime corporate client.
CannonDesign's Karen Sabo and Meg Osman (an honoree). Meg's guiding overall real estate and workplace strategy at Zurich North America's new 750k SF HQ in Schaumburg.
Here's your Chicago reporter, Marissa Oberlander, behind the podium. Allow her to speak in the first person for a moment. "Getting to know these 50 incredible women has been life-changing. Their collective energy, experience, intelligence and grace made yesterday an electric evening for the books. Thank you, Power Women, for your teachings, your generosity and for paving the way for young professional women like myself."
Thanks to everyone who participated in and supported the Power Women initiative, including our amazing event sponsors: CREW Chicago; Golub; Magellan Development Group; Bear Construction; The Inland Real Estate Group of Cos; Pircher, Nichols & Meeks; Baum Realty Group; Cushman & Wakefield; ServiceMaster Restore; IWIRE; and Perkins + Will. Another special thanks to Brigid Gallagher Photography. We couldn't have done it without all of you!