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Houston Women Are Leading On Finance And Leaning Into Relationship-Building As Terrain Gets Rockier

Bisnow’s fourth annual Houston Women Leading Real Estate event highlights remarkable women in finance who have shown unwavering perseverance during particularly challenging times for the capital markets.

And though they work with dollars, these women say it isn’t about the money for them.

“There's something gratifying about guiding individuals and businesses through the confusing process of loans and finance to find the perfect solutions for their unique needs,” said Ashley Araño, founder and loan broker for Prosperity Enterprise Funding. “I genuinely love helping people navigate their financial journey and watching them succeed.” 

Finances are a fundamental part of any community, but even more attention is paid to them during rough economic times. This year's cohort of women leaders understand how important their professions can be, now more than ever. 

“As a banker, I am able to provide access to capital, which in turn helps businesses provide services, produce goods and pay their employees,” said Ifeoma Harper, senior vice president of global commercial banking for Bank of America. “In turn, employees are able to participate in the economy and support their families.” 

While many of this year's leaders are credited with keeping their co-workers inspired during an economic slowdown, they are quick to hand the credit right back, acknowledging the relationships that got them where they are now. Most expressed a hope to create those same ties with younger colleagues.

“I try to instill in the younger generation the importance of creating relationships in trying times,” Transwestern Managing Director of Capital Markets Ashley Grigsby said. “Look around. Your peer group will be making the decisions in the future, and the relationships you build now will last for years to come.” 

All 24 of this year’s Houston honorees will be honored at a Dec. 7 event that will spotlight women whose personal stories and dedication have inspired their peers and propelled the real estate finance industry forward.

Nineteen of this year’s class are profiled below. Bisnow’s 2023 class of Houston Women Leading Real Estate also includes Brookfield Asset Management Senior Vice President of Investments Caroline Petersen, Allegiance Bank Senior Vice President of Commercial Lending Cindy Davies, Northmarq Vice President Emily Zarcaro, Agility Bank founder and CEO Lauren Sparks and Hines Managing Director of Multifamily Development Mary Trevino.

—Maddy McCarty, Bisnow Houston Reporter

November 16, 2023
Prosperity Enterprise Funding Founder Ashley Araño +
Greystar Managing Director of Finance Kristin Burton +
Colliers Director of Financial Analytics Marilynne Clark +
JLL Capital Markets Senior Managing Director Cortney Cole +
PlainsCapital Bank Executive Vice President Kristi Conway +
JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking Southwest Head of Diverse Businesses Danielle A. Davis +
Wan Bridge Group Senior Vice President of Finance and Accounting Janie Franco +
CBRE Managing Director of Debt and Equity Finance Marion Green +
Transwestern Development Co. Managing Director Ashley Grigsby +
Caldwell Cos. Executive Vice President of Commercial Investment Miranda Hadamik +
Bank of America Senior Vice President Ifeoma Harper +
Edge Realty Capital Markets Principal Chace Henke +
Allied Orion Group Senior Investment Associate Aura Malpica +
Frost Bank Executive Vice President of Commercial Real Estate Lending Anna Pawlik +
Walker & Dunlop Managing Director Jennifer Ray +
Marcus & Millichap Capital Corp. Managing Director of Capital Markets Jamie Safier +
Lionstone Vice President of Capital Formation Anar Shah +
Nitya Capital Director of Acquisitions and Asset Management Stephanie Swaim +
Radom Capital Director Sidney Whaley +