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Artemis Real Estate Partners CEO Debbie Harmon (with husband Dr. Robert Seder) started in NYC’s investment banking community, when women were a rarity in the industry. Seeing Debbie’s potential, her bosses at Bankers Trust offered to pay her way through Wharton if she transferred to real estate. She agreed and has stuck with the biz ever since. Before starting Artemis in ’09 (at the depths of the global recession) with current Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, she enjoyed a 17-year stint as president of the JE Robert Cos and played a part in tripling the size of the firm, to the tune of $25B worth of acquisitions. Things are strong at Artemis, too: In just four years, the firm is on pace to have $1.8B of equity capital under management, with 30 employees in DC, NYC, and LA.

Debbie (snapped with Forest City Washington's Deborah Ratner Salzberg and Bognet Construction's Tracey Lawhon) also raised two kids (“my greatest accomplishment,” she says). Her philanthropic passion lies in supporting marginalized women and children both locally and globally. And diversity has been a hallmark of the senior management team at Artemis, with more than 50% of its overall team being women and minorities. She is active in Women for Women International, a non-profit supporting women survivors of war in conflict regions. According to Debbie, the keys to surviving and succeeding in a start-up are: extraordinary commitment and determination; creativity; self-reliance; and the ability to adapt to an environment defined by ambiguity and uncertainty.