NAIOP 2014 Developing Leader Awards Showcase Rising CRE Talent

Winter 2014
NAIOP Chairman Jean Kane (center) presented this year’s Developing Leader Awards at Development ‘14 in Denver.


They’re bold, driven and changing the landscape of commercial real estate. This year’s Developing Leaders Award recipients have distinguished themselves as go-getters with a unique outlook on the industry and unmatched zeal for its future. Development magazine recently posed some questions for the 10 rising stars who were presented with NAIOP’s coveted award on October 29 at Development ‘14: The Meeting for Commercial Real Estate in Denver.

headshot of Stephanie Anderson

Stephanie Anderson
Partner, Ward, Getz & Associates LLP
NAIOP Houston

Q: What do you find unique about working in CRE?

A: Quite often, competitors become friends who know the value of mutual respect and are driven to see others find success as well. So many seasoned professionals are “paying it forward” to help younger, up-and-coming industry leaders.

Q: What’s your forecast for the industry for the next three years?

A: I think CRE will find a happy medium. Overall, I see growth continuing but at a steadier pace. Interest rates will start going up next summer, and we’ll start to see things leveling out.

headshot of Brian Baker

Brian Baker
Director, CIBC World Marts Corp.

Q: Why did you choose CRE as a career?

A: I wanted to be a part of an industry that could take me all over the world and be a part of my everyday life. Real estate is where we work, live and play, and the interconnectivity between real estate and our daily lives is a huge motivation.

Q: How has NAIOP impacted your career? 

A: NAIOP has been a major influence in my career. It has expanded my network and given me leadership experiences that I otherwise would not have. Specifically, the Young Professionals Group in Southern California has given me the tools to take my career to the next level.

headshot of Lisa Bradford

Lisa Bradford
Senior Marketing Manager, The JBG Companies
NAIOP Maryland/DC

Q: What do you find unique about working in CRE?

A: An unmatched sense of camaraderie. While many of our projects are in competition, I have always felt comfortable reaching out to my peers for advice or honest feedback, and it’s never hard to find someone with whom I can share stories or vent frustrations over coffee, lunch or drinks. 

Q: Why did you choose CRE as a career?

A: JBG’s role in transforming communities and its employee values, along with its visibility and creativity, motivated me to pursue a career in commercial real estate marketing. I cannot imagine working in any other industry. The opportunity to learn from, and contribute to, one of the industry’s most well-respected firms motivates me each day.

headshot of Jake Donaldson

Jake Donaldson
Principal, Three Square Design Group
NAIOP Houston

Q: What advice would you give to other young CRE professionals?

A: It doesn’t matter how outlandish your goals might be. Take them seriously, and develop steps toward reaching them. Determine your tolerance for risk, then go for it!

Q: What’s your forecast for the industry for the next three years?

A: I see a major shift in the workforce. As baby boomers continue to exit and younger people fill those voids, we’ll experience a great push toward technology and collaboration to better accommodate new work styles. Staying on the cusp of these changes is key to remaining relevant.

headshot of Nate Goldfarb

Nate Goldfarb
Associate, CBRE Inc.
NAIOP Arizona

Q: What do you find unique about working in CRE?

A: One day I may have more work than I can handle, and the next week I am trying to figure out where my next deal is coming from. It can be a cruel business in that respect, but the key is to remain consistent and not get complacent when things are good. 

Q: What advice would you give to other young CRE professionals?

A: Be persistent. You will hear “no” more often than “yes.”

headshot of Steve Haston

Steve Haston
Associate, Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services
NAIOP Inland Empire

Q: Why did you choose CRE as a career?

A: I fell into CRE as an intern at the age of 18 and have been in the field ever since. I’m driven to improve each day, and the constant competition of this business allows for immediate feedback. 

Q: What advice would you give to other young CRE professionals?

A: Grow an exceptionally thick skin. Listen to anyone who has been around longer than you. Ask every question you can think of, and create a personal network of confidants that you can trust.

headshot of Jon Manekin

Jonathan Manekin
Vice President – Baltimore Region, Colliers International
NAIOP Maryland

Q: What do you find unique about working in CRE?

A: Every day is different. Communication and creativity drive the process. Physical space has a unique impact on the culture of an organization.

Q: What’s your forecast for the industry for the next three years?

A: I think the current trend of leveraging location to attract and retain talent will persist. The natural progression of that trend will yield unique and compelling work environments tailored to the organizations within them.

headshot of Scott Pertel

Scott Pertel
Associate, Marcus & Millichap
NAIOP San Francisco Bay Area

Q: How has NAIOP impacted your career?

A: Without question, NAIOP has been the most influential organization I have been affiliated with. Whether through the personal relationships I’ve developed, the knowledge gained through the educational programing or the exposure to deal flow through networking opportunities, time and time again my affiliation with NAIOP continues to pay dividends. 

Q: What’s your forecast for the industry for the next three years?

A: Significant domestic and international capital continues to flow into real estate, driven by low interest rates, increased awareness of the stability and long-term growth potential of commercial real estate and an ever-improving U.S. economy. I anticipate continued demand for well-located, well-leased assets to outpace supply.

headshot of Andy Slowik

Andrew Slowik
Associate, Cushman & Wakefield
NAIOP Central Florida

Q: Why did you choose CRE as a career?

A: I was drawn to the idea of success being tied to how hard I work. I quickly learned that unselfishness and giving are drivers of success. While this may contradict the way many successful brokers approach business, I find the beauty of commercial real estate is that I can choose my own approach and ultimately my level of success.

Q: What advice would you give to other young professionals aspiring to advance in commercial real estate?

A: Save, save, save. Then, spend only 30 percent of what you make.

headshot of Michael Strand

Michael Strand
Associate, Snell & Wilmer, LLP
NAIOP Colorado

Q: Why did you choose CRE as a career? 

A: Perhaps more than any other industry, CRE has the capacity to physically shape the world in which we live. It’s rewarding to see projects around Colorado and the rest of the country in which I’ve been involved come to fruition. Hopefully I’ve done a small part to make the world a better place.

Q: How would you rate the industry in its efforts to attract and grow young professionals? 

A: I think the industry has done a great job attracting young professionals. However, I do think NAIOP and the industry could do a better job of letting women know that there is a place for them in CRE. The industry won’t be as successful any other way.  

What Would They Be Doing If They Weren’t in CRE?

Devoting all my time to SIRE Therapeutic Horsemanship in Houston, a program that improves the quality of life for people with special needs through therapeutic horsemanship activities, therapies and educational outreach. — Stephanie Anderson

Sports agent. — Brian Baker 

For a drastic change, I’d use my degree in criminal justice and forensics to process crime scenes. Otherwise, I’d be running my own business planning events and designing invitations. — Lisa Bradford

Making a killing as a professional skateboarder, seeing the world on four wheels and a wooden plank. — Jake Donaldson

Playing first base for the Chicago Cubs. — Nate Goldfarb

My heart says professional baseball player; my athletic ability says I’d be running my own business in another field. — Steve Haston

Training elephants. — Jonathan Manekin

I’d love to own a restaurant and participate in the farming of local produce. — Scott Pertel

External wholesaling in the financial services industry. — Andrew Slowik

A maritime lawyer. — Michael Strand