Bisnow Honors Los Angeles Power Women: Part 1
Today we bring you the first installment in our 10-part series highlighting some of the top leaders in SoCal commercial real estate. Bisnow's Los Angeles Power Women recognizes 50 influential players in the industry. We'll bring you profiles on each of these women and then honor them Oct. 11 at a special awards reception
Kitty Wallace, EVP, Colliers International
Colliers International EVP Kitty Wallace studied business entrepreneurship and real estate finance at USC before starting her career at Sperry Van Ness. These days, she finds one of the most rewarding things about her job is getting to mentor and train new people in the business as well as creating long-lasting relationships with clients and helping them accomplish their goals. She advises women entering the field to remember to treat others the way you would like to be treated, keep your head down, work hard, know your market and find ways to add value for your clients and staff. When she’s not brokering multimillion-dollar deals, Kitty likes to cook, share wine, run, swim, travel with family, visit museums, read and watch her two daughters play sports.
I-Fei Chang, Founder and Managing Member, Urban Link LLC
Even before earning her master's degree in architecture at Yale, I-Fei Chang had found the real estate industry alluring, with its ability to stimulate the economy and promote employment. The former Greenland CEO, who now works as a consultant, says the most rewarding part of her career is the opportunity to cooperate with other professionals around the world to invest in the development and reshaping of cities. Seeing projects she has initiated as she walks down the streets of Tokyo, Taipei, Hong Kong, Shanghai, St. Petersburg, Los Angeles and Brooklyn makes the hard work worthwhile. She makes a point to explore the cities where she travels for work. I-Fei tells us a welcome challenge is continually finding new opportunities for urban development and growth.
Laurie Lustig-Bower, EVP, CBRE
CBRE EVP Laurie Lustig-Bower initially intended to start her own company after she graduated from college. However, after working for three years as a sales rep for Baxter Healthcare (then known as American Hospital Supply), Laurie wanted something more entrepreneurial. Her family and friends suggested she consider selling real estate. Selling commercial real estate appealed more to her business background. She chose to work with CBRE because of its reputation as the most powerful commercial real estate brokerage firm in the US. By 1996, Laurie had built a team of 10 people focused on multihousing and was recognized as one of the top brokers within CBRE nationally. Today, she feels she has accomplished her original goal of owning her own company, since her team at CBRE is similar to running a small company, she says. A career high was selling the former Robinson’s May Co site in Beverly Hills twice: in 2007 for $500M and, again, in 2014 for $420M. In her spare time, Laurie (pictured with her husband, Tim Bower, and daughter, Katherine, in Hawaii) enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and visiting animal shelters.
Lawry J. Meister, President, Steaven Jones Development Co
Steaven Jones Development Co president Lawry J. Meister is involved in all aspects of her company’s real estate deals: from finding the properties to figuring out how to make the deal work, raising the equity and debt capital required, working with the architectural or engineering parties through the design phase, managing the construction process and overseeing the leasing and marketing until the property is fully leased. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and serves on Wellesley’s board of trustees. Lawry tells us after later graduating from Harvard Business School, she dove into the field, initially working for Trammell Crow in its West LA office to acquire properties in LA. After her father, Steaven Jones, founder and chairman of Steaven Jones Development Co, asked her if she knew of a project manager for a renovation project he was starting in downtown Santa Monica, she decided to take the job and has been working with him ever since. Lawry describes her father as “an amazing mentor.” Together, they pioneered the concept of creative office space in the early 1990s, developing more than 17 projects in LA County. They’re now reimaging office/mixed-use space with a 120k SF development project in Marina del Rey. Lawry, who has two sons (22 and 24), says she and her husband love to travel, play tennis, golf and play in their bocce league. She also is an independent trustee for Causeway Capital’s mutual funds, which she says broadens her business perspective.
Aliya Coher, Managing Director, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank
Newmark Grubb Knight Frank managing director Aliya Coher didn’t start out working in real estate. After a career as a buyer in retail, at companies including Gap Inc and Club Monaco, and as a political fundraiser, Aliya was looking for a change. She decided to meet with some successful commercial real estate brokers in different areas of the business and felt that office tenant representation would be the best fit for her. She says she loves to see her clients’ businesses grow and change for the better, knowing NGKF played a part in their success by providing valuable advice. She admits there are challenges in the industry, including bridging the generational divide and creating a real estate strategy and workplace vision that accommodates individuals and multiple generations. Persistence and being “hyper-diligent” are among the characteristics Aliya says help ensure success in the industry, especially for women. When not in the office, Aliya enjoys spending time with her husband and two children (who are 9 and 6) as well as traveling, reading and going to concerts at the Rose Bowl.