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April

19

40 Under 40- Ashley Gosal

By: Jennifer McEntee

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

 

As the in-house legal counsel for real estate developer Bosa Development, Gosal sometimes can't help but notice she's the only woman in the boardroom. And at 29, she's also sometimes the youngest.

 

"It's difficult to be a woman, particularly in real estate. There's a general bias in our society as to women's capabilities, focus and intent," Gosal said. "I have found it to be difficult, but I haven't focused on that. You have to know who you are as a person and push a little harder. You dig in your heels a little more."

 

Gosal's education and experience are all the credentials she needs. She has a law degree from University of San Diego and a bachelor of commerce degree from The University of British Columbia. Since joining Bosa in 2015, she's overseen the company's legal requirements on projects including the purchase and entitlement of the downtown San Diego block bordered by Broadway, 7th, 8th and C streets, and on Bosa-acquired properties at 10th and Market, 530 B Street, and 401 Mile of Cars in National City.

 

In the community, Gosal serves on executive committee of the Downtown San Diego Partnership board; as co-chair of the Urban Land Institute's Women's Leadership Initiative; on the Monarch School board of directors; as a member of Commercial Real Estate Women San Diego; and as a member of two Building Industry Association San Diego committees.

 

Gosal said she feels fortunate to have found a niche that allows her to use her real estate and business acumen, while working for a company with worthy mentors and offices in both San Diego and her native Canada.

April

19

40 Under 40- Carly Glova

By: Jennifer McEntee

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

 

After a decade in commercial real estate finance, including as an associate with San Diego's BioMed Realty Trust, Glova said she did some soul-searching.

 

"My heart was never in it. I didn't want to jump out of bed to get to a job in finance," said Glova.

 

She knew she loved the commercial real estate industry and making connections between people.

 

"No one was serving the industry as far as recruiting," she said.

 

So she founded executive search firm Building Careers LLC two years ago as San Diego's first dedicated hiring resource for the local commercial real estate industry. Glova estimates she's played matchmaker for about 30 companies and more than 1,000 job candidates.

 

"Companies know they can pick up the phone and say they're looking for a candidate at any level, at any salary. I have a pretty deep network," said Glova.

 

She is Building Careers LLC's only employee, but she works closely with two contractors to match companies with prospective candidates.

 

Glova stays connected with the local business community by volunteering for a number of organizations. She was a former board member for Commercial Real Estate Women and the Urban Land Institute's Young Leaders Group and the membership vice president for NAIOP San Diego's Toastmasters Club and serves on its Developing Leaders board. She's also active with outreach organizations like Going Places Network and Dress for Success.

 

Glova said her age is an asset in her recruiting, since she's young enough to know how difficult the job market can be right out of college, and experienced enough to know what businesses want.

 

"It's great to bring my perspective to the table," she said. "My clients appreciate my understanding of their business and appreciate the level of folks I'm targeting."

April

18

How to succeed in (real estate) business

By: Anne Benge

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

 

Gina Champion-Cain, a well-known San Diego real estate developer, investor and restauranteur, surprised the audience at a recent Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) San Diego presentation by admitting to being a strong introvert. Who better than someone who finds "working a room" to be out of her comfort zone to advise others about a winning formula for business success?

 

As CEO of American National Investments, a retail, office and hospitality development firm, and owner of LuvSurf, a multi-faceted real estate, hospitality and branded merchandise company, Champion-Cain has created significant commercial and residential buildings as well as signature restaurants, a vacation rental business, a coffee roasting company, an apparel brand and more.

 

As the featured speaker at the CREW Legacy Member-exclusive event, Champion-Cain focused on the role of creativity as a pillar of her success. The mental exercises she experienced through her philosophy major at University of Michigan, she said, as well as with her studies in law school, has been far more useful to her in business than her MBA. Creative and critical thinking has helped her recognize what an opportunity could be rather than just taking it at face value.

 

Having a diverse educational background, or even one that's just different from many of your peers, can be leveraged as an advantage. She challenges those who work for her to come with solutions, not problems, and advised the audience to "start off the conversation with 'I have a solution' before you even say there is a problem."

 

Champion-Cain also recommended letting go of fear -- particularly -- the fear of failing. She told the audience that she always knew she would be able to make money, whether that required waitressing or developing a building. Confidence is there for the taking, and she said that self-confidence has been her most important asset in business. Don't succumb to peer pressure or self-doubt, she advised.

 

Seeking out the right mentors can also bolster your confidence and help gain a new perspective. When Champion-Cain once asked one of her mentors about leadership, he confided that the secret to his success was surrounding himself with people smarter than him.

 

He also told her to lead with what she knows. For example, his strength was in relationships rather than financials, sales or other aspects of business. Accordingly, he made sure to leverage his interpersonal skills to achieve the goals he had for the company.

 

For Champion-Cain, leveraging her creativity and curiosity has served her well and guided many business decisions. She wants to be excited about her investments, and knowing and caring about her business ventures has led to making sound investment decisions as well as gaining more control over her money than she might have through a conventional retirement account. "Know where your money is," she recommended.

 

Another part of her winning formula for business success? Hard work. "I've worked like a dog," she said. Her hard work has been well recognized with many achievement awards and even a "Gina Champion-Cain Day" reserved by a former San Diego mayor. CREW San Diego, along with many others San Diegans, is excited to see what Champion-Cain has in store for the future.

 

Anne Benge is CEO of Cultura and a CREW San Diego Legacy member.

Feb.

24

CREW San Diego Announces New Board of Directors

Friday, February 24, 2017

 

CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) San Diego recently announced its 2017 board of directors, which will be led by Catherine Hughes, of Ware Malcomb, as president.

 

Other board members will be Lauren Slatinsky, of Pacific Building Group, as first vice president - membership; Hallie Putterman, of Bentley Mills, as second vice president -- sponsorship, Dawn Watson, of LevitZacks, as treasurer; Ariel Bedell, of The Loftin Firm, as secretary; Bre'an Fox, of FS Design Group, as director of education and programs; Bryal Wirth, of Heaviland, and Maura Young, of Pacific Rim Mechanical, as directors of marketing communications; Melissa Scofield, of the San Diego Business Journal, as director of special events; Wendy Lanahan, of Qualcomm, as a national delegate; Toni McMahon, of Fuscoe Engineering, as a foundation delegate and Jackie Isidore, of Johnson & Jennings, as past president.

 

 

Catherine Hughes

Feb.

22

Influential Women

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

 

Debra Aitken

For many years, Aitken served as assistant vice president at California Bank & Trust, where she oversaw a portfolio of 25 bank branches along with numerous corporate headquarters and office properties. She was involved with several commercial real estate associations for networking and developing business. She also previously worked in contract furniture.

 

After surviving cancer, Aitken felt like anything was possible and didn't want to let any experience pass her by. She decided to follow her interest in commercial real estate and in 2014 made a career change.

 

Aitken now provides project and construction management for capital improvement projects and tenant improvement projects for Cushman & Wakefield. Recently, she helped Regent Properties, a major Los Angeles-based real estate investment trust, reposition Atlas at Carlsbad, a 250,000-square-foot, multimillion-dollar office property.

 

The project entailed a major renovation of splitting the building into two separate parts, in addition to managing meticulous storm water control strategies and working closely with the city of Carlsbad.

 

She has been an active member of CREW Network San Diego since 1999, and served as its president in 2003 and 2009. Last year, she joined the CREW Network Foundation Chapter Champions, identifying and sharing best practices in scholarships, industry research and career outreach. This year she will serve as a CREW Network committee member, focusing on membership education platforms nationally.

 

"CREW promotes professional opportunities for women in the commercial real estate industry -- an industry where women are still underrepresented," Aitken said. "The spirit of collaboration runs strong through our membership, and we're always looking for opportunities to help each other succeed ... It's a very empowering organization."

 

Jennifer Litwak

Litwak runs Housing on Merit, which develops and manages affordable housing properties. The nonprofit also provides education and wellness services, along with job and life skills training for residents.

 

After a stint as a litigator, Litwak transitioned into public policy work and advocacy, consulting on issues related to affordable housing and homelessness. In 2013, she joined HOM, which now has 12 properties with over 2,150 units across California, serving more than 5,375 residents.

 

Since it generates revenue through its properties, HOM is not dependent on government funding, Litwak said. This allows the organization to be more nimble and responsive to the needs of its communities. In San Diego, for example, HOM has responded to the growing number of homeless female veterans by launching a program to provide funds to help them establish permanent housing.

 

Litwak said the most rewarding aspect of her job is having a lasting impact on people's lives. She also hopes to do that through her work with the national CREW Network, helping to provide statistics on the advancement of women in commercial real estate.

 

"As a woman in this industry, being part of that organization and elevating the conversation around gender bias and barriers ... is one of the most impactful things I can do," she said.

 

"CREW promotes professional opportunities for women in the commercial real estate industry -- an industry where women are still underrepresented," Aitken said. "The spirit of collaboration runs strong through our membership, and we're always looking for opportunities to help each other succeed ... It's a very empowering organization."

 

Toni McMahon

McMahon manages all Fuscoe Engineering Inc.'s business development, marketing and public relations for the San Diego region.

 

She recently took on the role of campaign manager for Fuscoe Regional Director Eric Armstrong as he ran for a division director position with his local water district. While he lost by a slim margin, McMahon said the exposure was positive for Armstrong and will lead to future opportunities. For her, the experience was both challenging and rewarding.

 

"I consider it an accomplishment," she said. "This experience had all the elements that motivate me: Supporting and rallying behind an individual I believe in, debate, hard work, planning, marketing, pounding the pavement, deadlines and excitement."

 

A marketing leader, McMahon has shared her expertise by serving with a number of industry organizations, including the Downtown San Diego Partnership, the Urban Land Institute, the Building Industry Association of San Diego and as marketing director for CREW Network's San Diego chapter.

 

While these organizations do important work for both men and women in the industry, she said advocating for the advancement of women is personal for her. McMahon has a smart, ambitious daughter and wants nothing to stop her from achieving her potential.

 

"Professionally, it is crucial that diversity exists at our decision-making tables so that different ideas, perspectives and opinions are shared and considered," she said. "It takes a diverse group to create the most amazing and unique solutions. A group that excludes a gender is lopsided and shortsighted."

Feb.

3

What 2017 portends for commercial real estate women

By Teresa Y. Warren

Friday, February 3, 2017

 

The Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) San Diego hosted its annual economic insights forum in January, which provided an expert's opinion as to what may be ahead for the U.S. and international economies.

 

This year's speaker was Spencer Levy, Americas Head of Research for CBRE and a senior member of the company's global research team. It was the second year that Mr. Levy, based in Baltimore, appeared at the forum to speak to a San Diego audience about a variety of issues of particular importance to the commercial real estate industry.

 

Mr. Levy's presentation was thought-provoking. And while predictions of experts like Mr. Levy may not always turn out to be correct, the information they present challenges their audience to think critically.

 

As anyone who attends such events knows, the value of the presentation isn't just found in what the speaker says. Rather, it is what the attendees do with the information they received that has lasting impact.

 

Taylor Flores, vice president of Cultura, a furniture management and facilities design company, gained a new perspective about how she looks at workforce production rates, based on Mr. Levy's observation that overall production rates are down in the workforce due to lack of innovation.

 

"Our (current day) innovations such as apps, Uber, Airbnb, etc. are currently taking a piece of the pie, not making the pie larger," said Flores. "I thought that was really interesting, and while I'm not personally an engineer who can 'do' anything with that, it definitely made me look at things differently."

 

Levy also predicted a likely downturn in the U.S. economy in 2019 lasting up to two years. For Lisa Chappelle, vice president of facilities management for Mission Federal Credit Union, that was better news than she anticipated.

 

"I plan to center on 'recession proofing' my team by focusing on leadership, strategy and all that our team has to offer our organization in good times and bad," said Chapelle. "We'll be stepping up the PR of our workgroup, emphasizing our contributions and concentrating on advancing our skills, experience and education."

 

Bryal Hilton, design and development planner for Heaviland Landscape Management, is similarly looking ahead optimistically. She is preparing, both professionally and personally, for smart growth. "With a 'small' recession predicted, focus your business toward services and not goods," she says. "Take this time to really focus on what makes you stand out."

 

At Burger Construction, COO Brian Gates thinks Mr. Levy's insights can help his business in its planning and forecasting, particularly the CBRE researcher's "suggestion of closely watching consumer sentiment indices as a leading indicator of a recession." As with most businesses, said Gates, "we pay close attention to where we are in the economic cycle, and this information will support us in our cycle strategy."

 

For Natalie Stillman, CFP, CLTC, vice present of financial planning for Hall Private Wealth Advisors, Levy's outlook on a recession also made an impact. "I thought it was interesting how he said it would be better for us to suffer another recession than not go through another one," she said.

 

"He seemed to feel this was a normal part of a business cycle and expansion would follow. I think we tend to fear the word 'recession,' based on the recent Great Recession, and yet his perspective is that this is a healthy thing."

 

Flores also took to interest in Levy's advice to detach from the idea of your company selling a product or good because those who sell goods will be at a disadvantage. "Mr. Levy emphasized the need to focus on the overall concept of service versus goods, as goods are a commodity and can be much more affected by political changes, globalization and the economy," she said.

 

"Our company just went through a major rebranding," Flores added, "to be able to focus on offering just that -- an overall service experience versus selling goods. I think it's something that basically every company can do if they refocus and re-evaluate how they operate."

 

Teresa Y. Warren is president of TW2 Marketing, which she founded in 1992.

 

Oct.

2016

CREW Giving Guide (Click Image to Enlarge)

Oct.

2016

CREW Corner: Breaking the commercial real estate ceiling

By Misty Moore

Thursday, October 13, 2016

 

Published data suggests that the top four commercial brokerage firms in San Diego employ somewhere around 200 licensed brokers. Just over a dozen of those brokers are women. Furthermore, within that female population of brokers, just a handful hold senior positions in their firms.

 

While women have made tremendous strides in commercial real estate brokerage over the last 20 years, why don't we have more female brokers by now, especially considering the flexible schedule this profession offers?

 

Research from American Express OPEN Forum shows that female entrepreneurs in our country are on a roll. The growth of women-owned firms continues to outpace the national average, plus they now lead growth in eight of the top 13 industries. Again, why does an essentially entrepreneurial career like commercial real estate brokerage still struggle to close its gender gap?

 

I'm lucky to work at one of the few brokerage firms in San Diego that has some very accomplished female brokers, and I hope I can channel the supportive culture we have within our firm to encourage other women to consider, and stick with, brokerage.

 

As a broker, you're self-employed and responsible for finding clients and closing transactions, and the schedule you craft to be successful is largely up to you. I have the freedom to attend my sons' performances and games without anyone looking over my shoulder. (This speaks to the leadership and culture at my firm, JLL, where women are not shamed for being dedicated, working mothers.)

 

Make no mistake, a career in brokerage is an arduous path. You are in demand 24/7, often working long hours, handling stressful transactions and are perpetually on the hunt for new business. It takes years to crack the six-figure barrier and have a respectable transaction pipeline required to maintain and grow this income year over year. Even after 18 years, I am acutely aware of the risks associated in letting my business development efforts slip.

 

The first five years are the hardest, and it seems this is when we typically lose our young women brokers. I have a hunch this is tied to concerns about starting a family, though brokerage can also be a huge benefit when it comes to maternity leave. I sacrificed very little income while I was on maternity leave with both of my kids. How? Because I had strong leadership that guided me and a solid tenant rep team that I trusted and that supported me. I went back to work after six weeks with my second son, but it's because I wanted to - I didn't have to.  Read More

Sept.

2016

Top 100- Jennifer Litwak

By Padma Nagappan

Thursday, September 22, 2016

 

Originally a litigator, Litwak got involved in managing the 'point in time' count for San Diego's homeless population, and that's when she gained data driven insight and began to understand at a macro level what was going on in the community.

 

She is the founding executive director of Housing on Merit, started in 2012 to create more affordable housing for vulnerable populations and eliminate homelessness for female veterans.

 

The nonprofit has properties in Fresno, San Jose, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, and in the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa areas of San Diego. In addition to managing the rental properties, it also offers education and wellness programs, job training and life skills aimed at helping its low-income tenants improve their circumstances.

 

Litwak began an initiative to help homeless women veterans move into housing, with a small grant aimed at bridging the gap that prevents them from securing housing.

 

"We noticed that often landlords required these women to bring their own appliances in order to move in, which was a barrier because they didn't have the cash," she said.

 

A $1,200 grant helps outfit the women with a stove, microwave and other appliances, after which they are able to use a Department of Housing and Urban Development VASH, or veterans affairs supportive housing, voucher to move into housing. The veterans can also use the grant to turn on their electricity, so the money helps with the transition.

 

The nonprofit tracks the women vets, and Litwak was happy to report that two years later, the women have not fallen back into homelessness.

 

Another initiative she is working on, with the help of private fund raising, is a cargo architecture project, which modifies shipping containers into multifamily housing units.

 

"It's a low-cost, quick-to-market project, which will address the high cost of development and long time frame," she said. "We are looking for land for this demo project in San Diego."

 

https://www.sdtranscript.com/subscriber/sdtstory.cfm?sdtid=950972

Sept.

2016

Top 100- Tiffany English

By Dean Calbreath

Thursday, September 22, 2016

 

As the first female designer to become a principal in one of Ware Malcomb's 22 offices, English oversees interior architecture, planning, design and management work not only in the firm's San Diego regional headquarters but its branch offices in downtown San Diego, Phoenix, Mexico City and Panama City as well.

 

English has been working in interior design for the past 20 years, starting in Northern California in 1996. Since joining Ware Malcomb's San Diego offices in 2007 and being named principal in 2013, she has helped San Diego generate the third-largest revenues for the firm.  The firm’s reach extends across North America.

 

English is involved in several companywide leadership initiatives, including the international Interiors Advisory Group, made up of three firm principals who oversee, influence and educate the members of the interiors team.

 

Her local projects have included designing the interior of Qualcomm's five-story, 250,000-square foot Building Q in Mira Mesa; Mindtouch's 25,000-square foot headquarters and CPC Strategy's 20,000-square foot offices in downtown San Diego; and Zimmer Biomet's 40,000-square foot labs and offices in Carlsbad.

 

"In recent years, the biggest change we have seen is how companies are focusing more on employee satisfaction and success," she said. "Corporate buildings used to be one-size-fits-all. But now space is built around the company's ideas of what it takes to meet employee needs."

 

English has just finished working with Cubic Corp. to remodel its 13,000-square foot workspace for engineers from traditional offices into a more modular design.

 

"Even though Cubic has been a very forward-thinking company with strong new technologies, its buildings date back to the 1950s and the design was very institutional and dated," English said.

 

English started with a visioning session with several of the firm's key managers and employees.   The goal of this important meeting was to identify the priorities of the redesign and build consensus around these ideas within the team.  This was followed up with by several smaller more individualized meetings.

 

What emerged was a redesign that included some private offices along with more open workstations and flexible team spaces that could expand and contract based on need.

 

"It was a really effective and engaging process," English said, adding that the new design should "encourage energy and innovation."

 

https://www.sdtranscript.com/subscriber/sdtstory.cfm?sdtid=950948

 

Sept.

2016

Top 100- Lori Ann Stevens

By Jennifer Chung Klam

Thursday, September 22, 2016

 

Earlier this year, Stevens was named design manager for Turner Construction's Engineering Group. In her new position, Stevens ensures design and construction excellence on all design-build projects on the West Coast, and serves as the main intermediary between architects, engineers and Turner Construction. She has led major construction projects in San Diego and in the process has actively supported other women in the industry.

 

Recently, Stevens served as a project executive on a data center for a major Fortune 500 firm, upgrading the facility to provide increased storage capacity. She also was responsible for negotiating all contract provisions on the first two phases of San Diego's Ballpark Village, a 37-story, multifamily tower with parking, retail and mixed use. She served as project executive on the new UCSD Triton Ballpark and clubhouse, managing an ambitious construction schedule. Turner completed the project two months early, in time for the defending CCAA champion's first double header games of the season.

 

Currently she is the lead on a forthcoming Navy project at the Manchester Pacific Gateway site, as well as a few design-build library proposals. She is also working on a 6-story design-build medical center.

 

Stevens provides informal mentoring to many women, and connects colleagues for mutual benefit. She is a 4-year participant in a formal mentoring program through NAIOP San Diego's Developing Leaders program, where she has advised numerous young commercial real estate professionals. She is on the board of directors for HomeAid San Diego, a nonprofit dedicated to building multiunit housing for San Diego's temporarily homeless. She has also spent multiple years volunteering with Project Mercy to build homes for low-income families in Baja and served on the board of directors of San Diego Habitat for Humanity for four years.

 

"I've spent my entire career and have grown my career substantially here in San Diego for the past 17 years," she said. "I've tried hard to impact the careers and landscape of San Diego, through the connections and networking of really keeping relationships alive and nurturing them, and giving back to the community."

 

https://www.sdtranscript.com/subscriber/sdtstory.cfm?sdtid=951004

August

2016

Terrorism insurance: What's it really worth?

By Holly B. McGlinn

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

 

Acts of terrorism, once a shocking event that we rarely experienced, are becoming far too frequent, impacting hundreds, if not thousands, of people in a single moment, including those who own businesses or buildings effected by the act. An act of terrorism can leave business owners without a place to operate, not to mention lost inventory and revenue. Structures can be destroyed or heavily damaged, leaving a property owner with the high cost of repairs or replacement, all the while not receiving rent and other revenue streams. Insurance is available for acts of terrorism, but the old adage "buyer beware" applies, especially when considering the U.S. government-sponsored option.

 

The U.S. federal government-sponsored Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA, or TRIPRA subsequent to 2007) came about in the wake of 9/11. The act established an insurance program that has gone through several versions and was most recently revised and renewed in January 2015. Despite the U.S. government's efforts, the 2015 changes do not provide much benefit for policyholders.

 

In fact, it has tightened the trigger for TRIA coverage to apply. In order for an event to be covered under TRIA, it must now be certified as an "Act of Terror by three separate individuals: the U.S. secretary of the Treasury, the U.S. attorney general, and the U.S. secretary of Homeland Security. The event must also exceed $5 million in total damages to qualify.

 

Since TRIA's origination in 2002, not one single claim has been paid. Even the infamous attacks at the Boston Marathon were not certified under TRIA. This may come as a shock to property owners and business owners who are paying up to 10 percent of their property premium for TRIA coverage and varying amounts for TRIA attached to their general liability coverage. The Boston Marathon act was not certified as an Act of Terror under TRIA due to the total amount of property and casualty claims, which did not meet the $5 million threshold. Surprisingly, it took the U.S. government over two years to reach that conclusion.  Read More

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