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Power Women: Sue Ansel

National Multifamily

In 1982, Sue Ansel was self-taught on the very first personal computers. Always ahead of the game, she's now CEO of Gables Residential. We visited her office in Dallas recently to connect the years in between. Sue embarked on a real estate career out of college at Indiana's DePauw University (majoring in economics), joining Daseke Co as financial analyst, its 33rd employee; when she left the real estate syndication firm five years later, there were 1,500 associates. (Not a good situation if you're bad with names.) The rapid growth allowed her to take on and learn many new responsibilities, including training on the first PCs and finding a way to apply them to the business.


She joined Gables Residential in 1987 (then Trammell Crow Residential) to computerize the onsite operations. As the company and economy changed, she shifted into a variety of roles including budgeting and strategic planning, RTC portfolios evaluation, and acquisitions. In 1994, she jumped to development in the Dallas, Memphis, and Nashville divisions. During the late '90s cycle slump, Sue caught the next wave, becoming an industry expert on real estate technology in new developments and existing communities—private phone and cable systems and water submetering systems, then high-speed Internet. In 2002, she shifted to operations—"the division where we actually create the revenue stream." In '05, she became COO.


Gables now owns and manages 35,000 luxury apartment units and 500k SF of retail throughout the US. Sue's advice to young women: Don't be afraid of making lateral moves, and always be in a position to learn something new—the more you know about your org, the more value you bring. Sue travels about three days per week for her job but still enjoys travel in her spare time (most recently, a bike trip in Italy). She hit all 50 states before turning 50 (count the red pins on the map above) and she's one continent short (Antarctica) of seeing them all.