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San Diego Power Women: Part 2

Today, we bring you the second installment of our 10-part Power Woman series profiling the 50 most influential women in San Diego commercial real estate. Then join Bisnow and partner Allen Matkins on June 25 for a cocktail awards reception to honor these amazing leaders at the San Deigo Public Library, 6-8pm.



Laurie Sneve oversees accounting for the growing Retail Opportunity Investment Corp, which has acquired 24 shopping centers since she joined the firm in late 2012. Yet as a student at Penn State, she couldn’t decide on a major until her father recommended she go into business and accounting. Her career began at Arthur Andersen in Philadelphia before she transferred to its San Diego office. In 1988, she was hired as an internal auditor for The Hahn Co, where she found her shopping center niche. That was followed by 11 years at Pan Pacific Retail Properties, which grew to 140 centers and went public during her tenure. Her former boss, Stuart Tanz (CEO of ROIC), soon came calling—he was launching ROIC in NY and wanted former Pan Pacific colleagues to join him when he moved the company HQ to San Diego. Memorable moments: Getting to ring the bell at both exchanges, first at the NYSE in 2003 when Pan Pacific acquired its second publicly traded REIT; and then this past fall at NASDAQ for ROIC. The Pennsylvania native has a passion for sports, naturally rooting for the Steelers, Pirates and (through marriage) the Mariners.



Wendy Lanahan (pictured with her grandson) is responsible for Qualcomm's 7M SF real estate portfolio in North America. She tells us her favorite deal over the past few years was when the firm purchased a 543k SF campus of buildings in San Diego, a complex transaction on a scale the firm hadn't completed before. The Baltimore native moved to San Diego in the late '90s, where she accepted a financial analyst position with Qualcomm. For 13 years, she oversaw the company's finances, including facilities and real estate. That led to her interest in real estate, and after shadowing her former boss to learn the art of negotiation, she transitioned to her current role. Her advice: "If you aren't naturally confident, fake it and it will become a habit. It only takes a few successes to get you over the hump." Outside of work, Wendy loves to travel; one of her sons lives in Taiwan, which has brought her to places like Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau and Japan. She's also an avid cook and will eat just about every type of food.



NAIOP San Diego exec director Karen Burges has grown the chapter from 50 members to more than 600 in her 26 years with the group. Born in NYC, she moved to S.F. at age 13 and eventually migrated south to attend USD and begin her career as project coordinator for a small commercial real estate developer. Karen has done work garnering strong and ongoing support for the US Marine Corps 1st Marines Special Operations Battalion through NAIOP's "Adopt a Battalion" campaign, which provides assistance to Marines and their families in San Diego's Camp Pendleton, as well as growing the Developing Leader program. Her advice: "Achievement equals happiness. Set your goals and go for it." When Karen isn't too busy setting her goals you can find her chasing her 3-year-old daughter and planning trips around the Kona Coast of Hawaii, where she loves to travel with her husband and family.



CBRE's Carrie Bobb tells us one of her recent successes was helping pre-lease much of The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch, a 150k SF mixed-use project that already is stacked with retailers—including Trader Joe's, Starbucks, Pure Barre, Urban Girl, Dolce and others—months ahead of the official grand opening last year. The daughter of a Phoenix physician, Carrie grew up inspired by the medical office brokers who worked with her father. In 2003, when she was offered a position with CBRE's WHEEL program—where young brokers are given a taste of various positions within the firm—she took it, intending to focus on MOB. “The first opening was in retail, so I took it,” Carrie recalls. “Once I started in retail, I never left.” Carrie, here with her 2-year-old daughter Charley and twin nine-month-old boys, Johnny and Jack, says her idea of free time and hobbies has greatly changed: They now include feeding the ducks, tea parties, picnics and reading bedtime stories. Carrie's advice: always remain calm under pressure. “This business can be really emotional and personal. Being steady, persistent and consistent is crucial,” she says.



Since starting with the City of San Diego as director of real estate assets in late 2014, Cybele L. Thompson has completed the purchase of Civic Center Plaza, an extension of the Belmont Park long-term lease, and a new food and beverage concessions agreement at Qualcomm Stadium. “It’s been very rewarding to work on large, high-profile projects that I would have never seen on the private side.” She began as a hotel real estate appraiser for Laventhol & Horwath, but after graduating in 1989, the hotel industry was “in the tank” and she quickly gravitated to office building appraisals. Her advice: Take a job you love and make sure to network. Outside work, she’s busy running half-marathons, competing in skeet competitions and scuba diving.