Bisnow Honors Bay Area Power Women: Part 3
Today we bring you our third installment in our 10-part series highlighting some of the top leaders in Bay Area commercial real estate. Bisnow's first Bay Area Power Women recognizes 50 influential players in the industry. We'll bring you profiles on each of these women and honor them this September at a special awards reception (details to follow).
Janice Sears, Board of Directors, BioMed / Essex / Swig
“You don’t get what you don’t ask for,” Janice Sears (right, with her husband, Geoff, and daughter, Hannah) advises those just starting out in the real estate industry. Her first job at Citi as a research economist came through because she pursued what she wanted. Though the original posting asked for a graduate student, she demonstrated she was as trained in quantitative methods and got the position. Pretty soon, she was hired away by Chemical Bank (now JP Morgan) and her boss realized she would be great in a client-facing role. Working with clients to think through and execute acquisitions gives her incredible enjoyment, she says. Janice was a key player on several marquee transactions, such as Prologis’ acquisition of Catellus; Essex’s successful bid for BRE Properties; and BioMed’s sale to Blackstone. Her guiding principles stay the same through each engagement: stick to core competencies, don’t overleverage, and pay attention to when to ramp up and when to slow down. When she’s not transforming the face of the industry, she enjoys working with local philanthropies, reading or adventuring with her family.
Randi Gerson, Director of Development, FivePoint
Randi Gerson takes the most joy in leading a team of talented people to responsibly develop and safeguard the resources of San Francisco and the Bay Area. It’s about getting things built that improve people’s lives, she says. She got her start in real estate as an architect, but found her true calling in pulling together and executing large and often complex deals. Randi tells the next generation the key to getting things done is staying positive, building a strong network of relationships and staying persistent despite all the obstacles that life can throw one’s way. "'No' means just find another way to get it done.” That mindset helps her as she undertakes some of the key development projects at FivePoint, The Shipyard at Hunters Point, Candlestick Point and Treasure Island. It also helps Randi navigate ever-escalating construction costs—an obstacle in expanding housing stock today. In her free time, she spends time with her family, traveling or reading in her garden.
Alison Hill, Managing Director, Strategic Capital, Prologis
Alison Hill, a lawyer by training, worked for AMB Property Corp from 1999 to 2011, when the company merged to become Prologis, the global leader in logistics real estate with a focus on high-barrier, high-growth markets. She started working on strategic initiatives and special projects before moving into the fund management business. Working with a team of diverse people to reach the finish line has been very rewarding, Alison tells us. Every day, the team works to turn focused strategy into market-leading performance, collaborating from top to bottom across multiple geographies to make the best decisions for customers and the business. It can take more than a year to launch a new fund. Additional regulation after the global financial crisis has made business more complicated and expensive; increased planning time is now necessary due to the additional work of addressing changing regulation and fluctuating investor needs. Alison’s words of wisdom for fresh talent in the industry is to avoid underestimating their own abilities to prevent holding themselves back.
Caroline Quick, VP, T3 Advisors
Caroline Quick is an entrepreneur at heart. Her first gig out of college was at a company called Snap.com (acquired by NBC) to bring internet and TV together. With the the dot-com bust, however, Caroline and her husband decided to make a drastic change and open their own modern home furnishing store. They started EQ3, which sold after seven years of successful, award-winning operations. After taking time to start a family, she was recruited by Twitter to help grow and run its office operations. In her time at Twitter, she helped expand the company to more than 18 countries and oversaw construction and design of more than 2M SF of office space globally. Despite the fast growth at Twitter, Caroline was able to learn quickly and become an expert at property identification, lease structuring, construction, scaling culture, planning and design. Today she helps other fast-growing companies deal with such challenges as a VP at T3 Advisors. Her advice for someone looking to follow in her footsteps? “Find a seasoned mentor you trust and can rely on,” she says. “A good mentor can help navigate the intricacies of the industry and introduce you to a strong network of trusted colleagues, which is invaluable.”
Jill Broadhurst, Executive Director, East Bay Rental Housing Association
Jill Broadhurst grew up the child of immigrant parents who found real estate was their route to the American dream. The first in her family to graduate college, she convinced her parents to purchase a building in San Francisco more than 20 years ago with the caveat that she would manage the property. Since 2010, she has been using her experience to advocate for the members of the East Bay Rental Housing Association. As she helped her parents understand a world alien to their experience, she now helps rental property owners, legislators and others really “get” the issues central to the housing market in the Bay Area. She noted the complexity of the region’s housing shortage and lack of incentives are such that they encourage shortsighted policy. The challenge excites her and motivates her to educate, share and partner with other industry professionals, using a fact-based, solutions-oriented approach. Jill tells the next generation to join professional organizations where they can build a strong network of fellow women, like East Bay CREW.