Related is celebrating International Women’s Day by thanking and saluting all the women who work for our company. We honor their individual journeys that have brought them here, as well as to the real estate industry at large. Read below for interview snippets with some of the women around the country whom we are proud to call our leaders.
Katie Block, Chief Financial Officer, Related Southeast:Q: Who is a woman who inspired you while you were growing up and why?A: Growing up, I watched my mother balance a career as a real estate attorney in a male-dominated industry while being a dedicated full-time mom to my two sisters and me. She worked hard to be present and still was able to make partner in her law firm before the age of 40. Throughout my career, she has been an inspiration and a sounding board, helping me navigate difficult situations at work. She understands the challenges of being a young female in the real estate industry and always has lots of genius tips and tricks to stay true to who you are while achieving your goals. I have been so lucky to have my mom as a mentor and career counselor. In my opinion, finding your trusted people whom you admire and respect is the key to achieving success.
Stacey Feder, Chief Marketing Officer - Hudson Yards, Related Companies:Q: What sparked your interest in the real estate industry?A: My love for the real estate industry derives from a love of people, of what compels them to be a part of a community, to fall in love with an item- a dish-an experience-an artist-a place. I obsess over the complex sentiments and behaviors that consumers demonstrate-I love to study people and how they interact with places. I am fascinated with how brands create loyalty and how people decide to make a purchase-whether a handbag, a drink or an apartment. Why do you typically have to message most people seven times before they react or take any action? What makes people love to live in great cities? What do they love about their neighborhoods and why? How do we infuse energy into our places so people are motivated to enjoy the environment again and again? And when employees relocate, what compels them to move and how do our places and teams show up for them and their families when they do? My fascination with real estate stems from an obsession with understanding people and bringing them together to create an inclusive community-and then growing those communities to become an audience of ambassadors that support the ecosystem of the places we build and manage. That is fun for me -creating integrated strategic platforms that attract a variety of audiences to our visionary urban destinations.
Stephanie Fink, SVP, Marketing, Partnerships and Events at Hudson Yards, Related Companies:Q: Who is a woman who inspired you while you were growing up and why?A: My grandmother was truly the most inspirational person in my life. She taught me to believe in myself, never give up and always know my audience. As a business owner in the Bronx but also a Studio 54 regular, she epitomized the "work hard, play hard" lifestyle. She taught me to keep good company and that honesty is always the best policy. I admired her love of life, how she always made me feel like I could accomplish anything and that you should always own a fabulous pair (or many pairs) of heels.
Lauren Geer, Chief Human Resources Officer, Senior Vice President, Related Companies:Q: Who is a woman who inspired you while you were growing up and why?A: My mom. I had an early education on what it meant to be a “strong woman” and have always been encouraged to think BIG, no matter the circumstance. When other kids were wearing overalls, I was wearing a “Celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Women’s Right to Vote” t-shirt and even have a class picture (3rd grade or so) where I am in the front row wearing a business suit and flats.
Lori Horn, Senior Vice President, Related Management Company:
Q: What sparked your interest in the real estate industry?
A: Over the course of my career I have managed many types of real estate, but am most passionate about the affordable housing industry. I am intrigued by the complexities of each property and navigating regulatory and partnership agreements. Most importantly I love the human element and the impact that quality affordable housing provides its residents. Affordable housing offers families a safe place to thrive, delivers seniors a sense of community and provides a venue for supportive services delivery. There is no better feeling than the sense of satisfaction you receive when a newly built affordable housing community opens and you escort a resident into their new home. As the keys are turned over, you recognize that we at RMC are truly making a difference in the lives of others.
Ann Thompson, Executive Vice President, Architecture and Design, Related Midwest:Q: What sparked your interest in the real estate industry?A: After several years of working in a traditional architecture practice, I took a leap of faith and joined a young development company in Chicago. I was immediately captivated by the opportunity to work alongside a multi-disciplinary team and be immersed in all phases of the building process. After 30 years, the ability to be challenged every day and to learn from industry thought leaders has sustained my enthusiasm.
Sherry Tobak, Senior Vice President, Related Companies:Q: Who is a woman who inspired you while you were growing up and why?A: The woman who inspired me the most while I was growing up was, without question, my mom. The essence of strength and ambition, my mom effortlessly worked full-time to help support her family—never skipping a beat in her roles of “housewife and mom”—all while contributing her spare time to several charitable organizations and enjoying a rich personal life. When she suddenly and without warning became a widow at the age of 50, her fortitude, bravery and keen business acumen empowered her to raise two daughters entirely on her own. She relied upon no one and made it look easy—maintaining her joy and joie de vivre, regardless of the curveballs that life threw at her. That power, that purpose and that joyous spirit were her legacy and have fully motivated me to achieve my professional goals and pay it forward to my own two daughters, as well as those working under my tutelage.
Phoebe Yee, Senior Vice President of Design, Related California:Q: Who is a woman who inspired you while you were growing up and why?A: Growing up, my inspirations and the people I looked up to were usually men; there weren’t a lot of women held in history as extraordinary. I admired Mozart, Degas, Einstein, Winston Churchill… there were so many extraordinary people in history. As I got older, I realized that’s because women’s contributions weren’t recognized in the same way. That is changing. I also realized that my real inspirations and guideposts for everyday success were my parents, my teachers, my career mentors, both ordinary and extraordinary men and women that I learned from directly through their actions and who sparked creativity and passion in myself.