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Bisnow Honors Bay Area Power Women: Part 4

San Francisco

Today we bring you our fourth 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 (read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3) and honor them this September at a special awards reception (details to follow).

Janice Thacher, Partner, Wilson Meany


Wilson Meany partner Janice Thacher (left, with her family at a college graduation) could have chosen to work in any number of industries coming out of business school. She chose to make a career in real estate. “I found that people in the real estate industry seemed to genuinely enjoy their work and were passionate about the places they created,” she says. The same enthusiasm animates Janice to this day. She enjoys working with great people to turn projects from ideas on paper into thriving communities. She points to Bay Meadows in San Mateo as an example of a development that spent nearly a decade in planning but now is a vibrant location. Her advice for people just getting started? “Seek opportunities to work with high-quality people, companies and projects,” she says. “Listen, learn and be proactive; volunteer to take on new roles and tasks.”

Karen Vincent, Global Occupier Services EVP, Cushman & Wakefield


Helping others achieve great success is the most fulfilling part of Karen Vincent’s career. She tells us there's a shortage of new talent entering the industry and the industry is still very traditional in how it responds to the changing needs of business and economic volatility. Talent entering the workforce thinks differently, operates differently and has different priorities; the industry needs to innovate to attract talent to keep pace with the dynamic changes going on in the world. Karen got into the industry when she was working as a mortgage broker and was promoted to head of real estate after bringing a truly innovative idea to the table. “Broad experience and diversity are key to success,” she tells us. “Don’t be afraid to make a lateral move or what seems like a small step back if you can gain valuable experience.” Karen, pictured here with Monica Morales-Anderson at an award reception, enjoys hitting the slopes with her son, relaxing at the spa with her daughter, and golfing with the whole family in her spare time.

Matin Zargari, Managing Director, Gensler


Matin Zargari has had a deep affection and affinity for the built form for the greater part of her life, so it was only natural she earn her bachelor's degree in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. She began her distinguished career as a design professional at Gensler’s San Francisco office. Following her time there, she opened the firm’s first East Bay office and became managing director. Now managing Gensler’s new Oakland office, she has found a passion in working with the next generation of design leaders. Guiding and mentoring Gensler’s younger staff and bringing them into key decision-making situations supports the future of the firm.

Teresa Marks, Portfolio Manager, Hudson Pacific Properties


For Teresa Marks, watching the infectious excitement of someone new to the industry reminds her to always look for “out of the box” solutions and ideas. Coaching and teaching others is a priority for Teresa, which stems from her own start in the industry. She began as an assistant to a property manager, who taught her the ropes and encouraged her to get a real estate license. Teresa's perception is that developers are finding it more difficult to get new projects off the ground as cities and residents wrestle with finding balance between residential, retail and commercial needs—an already difficult balance worsened by infrastructure gaps. Teresa’s admonition to anyone new to real estate is that this is a relationship business and a small world. Being mindful of ethical business practices within your organization and with vendors or customers helps maintain a positive reputation. She also recommends finding a mentor. Teresa enjoys riding her motorcycle, cooking and singing; last year she released her first album on iTunes and Amazon. She also participates in a prison ministry program.

Gayle Starr, Managing Director of Capital Markets, Prologis


After discovering practicing law wasn’t for her, Gayle Starr looked for an opportunity that met her goal to build relationships, allowed for some travel, was transaction-based and enabled her to work with good people. She landed with Lincoln Property (now Legacy), where she met her mentor, Luis Belmonte. He taught her how to recognize good industrial product and the importance of location. Stringent regulations affecting the banking industry, like Basel III and stress tests, are making it more difficult and costly to lend. Understanding these regulations and fostering relationships with lenders enables navigation through this heightened regulatory environment, Gayle tells us. During the global financial crisis, Gayle was proud Prologis (AMB Property Corp at the time) did not have any serious debt problems. The company had financed conservatively with relationship lenders and had few or no issues when the rest of the industry found itself in dire straits. It is impossible to ask too many questions early on in a real estate career, she says. Finding a mentor is key, and Gayle prides herself on mentoring women at Prologis. When she isn’t overseeing Prologis’ co-investment funds’ debt and non-public debt, both internationally and domestically, she enjoys burying herself in historical fiction, working out and spending time with family.