Weekend Interview: Daley's Drywall President And CFO Brittni Daley-Grishaeva
This series gets into the heads of the decision-makers of CRE, the people shaping the industry by setting investment strategy, workplace design, diversity initiatives and more.
Daley's Drywall is a drywall contractor founded in 1963 in the San Francisco Bay Area. Brittni Daley-Grishaeva joined the firm in 2009 and now helms it as president and chief financial officer, making her the third generation to run the family-owned business.
Daley's focuses on sustainability, solar powering its headquarters, going electric for much of its fleet of vehicles and using metal stud framing whenever possible as Daley has found metal to be the best recycled material.
Daley-Grishaeva has her eye on the metaverse for future innovation — she said it could be the next step beyond building information modeling.
The following has been edited for clarity, style and length.
Bisnow: If you could make one change to the industry, what would it be?
Daley-Grishaeva: I would redesign the payment structure to look more like how companies do it in Europe, which is faster payment. Net 10 and Net 15 are typical in Europe, which protects the smaller contractors further down the tiers. In the end that makes the market easier to enter, which will lead to more diversity and more competitive opportunities. That competitiveness benefits project owners and lenders in the long run. It also supports our country’s values of supporting entrepreneurism. I have yet to hear a good reason why we couldn’t achieve a faster payment system here, since we have a model in Europe that proves it’s achievable in the long run. (If they can do it, we can do it!)
Bisnow: What is one thing you would do differently from early in your career?
Daley-Grishaeva: I would have tried to take on a larger variety of tasks to learn more about other departments in the company from an earlier stage in my career. For example, I would have liked to do a field on-site supporting role to be closer to the project teams when I was early in my career.
Bisnow: If you weren’t in real estate, what path would your career have taken?
Daley-Grishaeva: I could have ended up in any industry that would have challenged me and made me use creative problem-solving skills, producing a physical product and working closely with customers. I realize a lot of industries fit those criteria, so I think I could have ended up in a variety of different industries.
Bisnow: As a leader, how do you decide who is worth mentoring and who is simply not a good fit?
Daley-Grishaeva: Tenacity and organization are traits and skills I look for in a mentee. Being hungry and wanting to learn are important to most mentors, but I also want to make sure that they are going to retain and follow through on what they learn. They should be able to not only demonstrate understanding after training, but also have the tenacity to follow through on tasks and carry long-term projects through to completion. If it’s a reoccurring task then they need to have the organization and tenacity to produce repeating, long-lasting results.
Bisnow: What are your thoughts on the metaverse? Does it have any relevance for CRE?
Daley-Grishaeva: If we could take our current building information modeling and 3D models that we are producing for our projects and “upload” them to a metaverse to use virtual reality to see the projects more realistically then it would greatly benefit the project owners, the designers and the builders. This could greatly increase the rate of creativity and change, which would lead to faster advance in construction design and also how we build things. It would be similar to the upgrade from old blueprint drawings to BIM we are using now.
Bisnow: What do you see as the lasting impacts of the pandemic on CRE?
Daley-Grishaeva: Many companies have needed to become more flexible with working from home. Luckily we were already fairly flexible before the pandemic, so we haven’t needed to make a huge cultural shift. But just like anything in life, it’s all about balance, and most of our employees are excited to be in the office for more efficient collaboration and the many social benefits, most days per week.
Bisnow: As you know, there is a massive conversation underway regarding advancing more people of color and women into the C-suite. What are you doing to address those voices and that movement within your own organization?
Daley-Grishaeva: Authenticity is a strong and fundamental value at our company, and one of the routes of our company culture. What authenticity means to us is being able to be yourself, including at work. Everyone should be able to be themselves in their environment and feel accepted for who they are. We are all different and that diversity makes us stronger.
Bisnow: So, this is the weekend interview. What’s your typical weekend routine?
Daley-Grishaeva: A typical weekend involves a lot of my kid’s activities. Boy Scouts, swimming, T-ball, karate, gymnastics, parkour, piano lessons and hiking are just some examples. We love to go camping and frequent trips to the snow, beach, zoo, parks and mountain trails. With baby No. 3 on the way and due soon, I’m sure the kids' activities will only increase!