New York Power Women 2018: Herrick Feinstein Partner Belinda Schwartz
Bisnow: What keeps you in commercial real estate and what makes you want to come to work each day?
Belinda Schwartz: There is never a dull moment in the real estate industry. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, people in the industry are constantly working creatively and in new ways. Sometimes they are focusing on an unusual real estate asset class, sometimes it’s a new, previously uncovered development site or even an atypical deal structure. Many times you are counseling different platforms about new co-ventures — that is always exciting and gratifying.
Bisnow: Have you had mentors over your career? Who are they and what influence did they have?
Schwartz: I am lucky to have had mentors of different types. My first, Howard Peskoe, really taught me to be a “lawyer’s lawyer.” After that, I picked up a lot from various people along the way, including from clients who have taught me so much by working collaboratively over so many years. I also learned that I needed to make my own way in the industry and discover what would work for me, not for someone else. I realize that is critical.
Bisnow: What's the one thing you would change about the industry and why?
Schwartz: That is one tough question. I think two very different things. I would have greatly appreciated it if I had learned the business side of real estate earlier on, because you can’t be a great consigliere without that skill set. And, of course, the workday never ends. There is always more you can be doing: work, managing, training and, of course, developing business. I sincerely hope that that the next generation learns how to do it all!