Close Up With Laurie Baker
Camden SVP Laurie Baker is like the Madonna of multifamily, constantly evolving throughout her 20 years in the industry. Her latest gig: overseeing Camden’s $212M nationwide repositioning efforts and running its $1B investment fund.
Laurie tells us she got into real estate because it was her ticket home. She spent nine years in DC with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and came back to visit her large Italian family in Houston while on maternity leave. She grabbed lunch with the president of a multifamily organization, ended up staying at his firm all day, and next thing she knew she had a job and was moving back here for good.
Laurie (here with her family in Maui) joined Camden in 1999 to handle its technology initiatives. In 2007, she was in charge of the firm’s first fund, raising $300M in equity during the recession. It was very impactful for the firm and a great achievement, but Laurie tells us she’s most proud of her three years running operations (as regional VP, she managed over 10,000 apartment homes in Texas). She says going back into the trenches of property management after a decade in the industry was tough, but it helped her gain perspective on the multifamily industry and gave her a balanced view of Camden. Recently, Laurie's been working on the sale of four assets in the fund for more than $134M. The transaction encompasses 1,158 units and is generating returns well above underwriting.
Outside of work, Laurie loves water sports and snow skiing. She just hit the slopes a few weeks ago and is going to Telluride for spring break, where she hopes to tackle some black diamonds. (She's come a long way since her first attempts at skiing, when she ended up in a mesh fence.) She’s also involved in CREW, serving as the Houston chapter's 2014 president. Her advice to women in real estate: Stop over-analyzing and take a risk. (Skiing in the springtime sounds like a big risk to us.)