Denver Power Women: 5 Questions With Attorney Lea Ann Fowler
This limited series profiles Power Women who have helped shape metro Denver's cities, neighborhoods, businesses and lifestyles. These women will be honored at Bisnow's Denver Power Women event Dec. 5.
Hogan Lovells attorney Lea Ann Fowler helps her clients navigate and redefine today’s complex real estate market. Combining her industry knowledge with a passion for complex commercial real estate finance transactions, Fowler works with financial institutions, institutional investors and borrowers on the full scope of their real estate issues. Her dexterity and hands-on approach benefit clients in the structuring and negotiation of a broad spectrum of mortgage loan and asset-based transactions involving senior, construction, permanent and interim loans, multi-property financing, mezzanine financing and preferred equity investment.
Bisnow: How do you describe your job to people who are not in the industry?
Fowler: I lead the real estate practice group in Denver and am responsible for growing my team’s visibility, expertise and scope of practice. Our team represents a dynamic client base, which includes developers, lenders, REITs and owners and operators of a broad spectrum of real estate investments, joint ventures and financings. As a practitioner, I have worked as a commercial real estate and finance attorney in Denver for over 20 years, specializing in assisting clients with strategizing and navigating the complexities of single- and multi-tiered debt and equity financing structures, workouts and restructuring of distressed assets.
Bisnow: What is the biggest business problem you have faced and how did you solve it?
Fowler: The recession starting in 2008-09 was a distinguishing time in my career. Real estate deals were quickly becoming scarce from the robust cycle that we had all enjoyed, and I realized the necessity of being nimble, thinking more creatively and broadening my skill set to what would become a new normal in terms of client needs and strategic thinking. For me, this an appreciation of community and was a reminder of the importance of relationships and patience. Working with clients in restructuring debt platforms, renegotiating development deals that would now be delayed and in some instances unwinding deals that would no longer be practical was a reality that in the end yielded a learning process and retooling that ultimately made all of us more thoughtful, diligent and prepared for future real estate cycles.
Bisnow: What is one thing you think companies can do to address wage and gender inequality?
Fowler: Companies and executive teams are generally more cognizant and focused on the importance of women and overall diversity in the workplace. Companies are now demanding, when hiring service providers, that their teams include women and other diverse members. Women now have better opportunities to step up and lead and be included in teams that are doing the most cutting-edge work. But even with better opportunities offered to a broader segment of the workforce, executive teams still need to be challenged to have open, direct and transparent salary evaluation criteria that will be utilized with consistency to continue the effort to limit the wage disparity and gender inequality issues that exist.
Bisnow: What piece of advice do you give others entering the industry?
Fowler: As someone once told me: Be curious, be willing to work outside of your comfort zone and be ready. You never know when an opportunity will present itself and when it does, be ready to walk through the door and experience what is on the other side. Never get too comfortable, and make sure you love what you do most days and have the utmost trust and respect for those you are doing it with.
Bisnow: What do you do to unwind when you’re not working?
Fowler: CrossFit, running, wining and dining in new places and fun outings with my family crew are all things that I cherish most in my free time. I think whatever it is that makes you feel your truest and most essential self is what keeps a healthy, happy balance. I focus on those people, places and experiences in my life that make me the happiest, and I indulge, relish and hold tight to those moments.
Meet Hogan Lovells attorney Lea Ann Fowler at Bisnow's Denver Power Women event Dec. 5 at the Four Seasons Hotel Denver.