How can women lead? The 10 female executives chosen for the third annual real estate Women of Influence list can help you the count the ways.
Although all these women are in senior roles, seven out of the 10 occupy the C-suite – the loftiest part of the corporate ladder, which continues to elude many of the industry’s female professionals. Among this year’s list, we count three chief executives, two chief investment officers (one of whom is also a CEO) and three chief operating officers in global or regional capacities.
Similar to previous years, the 2023 Women of Influence are also trailblazers who are unafraid of going first. Indeed, three of this year’s honorees exemplify that rare breed of female leader who, after climbing up the corporate ladder, took the ultimate leap and founded their own firms (check out our deep-dive analysis on female founders here).
Among the other seven, at least four are the first women to serve in their current roles.
Meanwhile, multiple finalists have also been driving forces behind promoting greater diversity in private real estate. Two of the women chair the diversity, equity and inclusion committees or networks at their organizations, while another has focused on building a gender-diverse team – and creating the next generation of women leaders in the industry – by promoting two female investment professionals to lead their respective areas of the business.
But leadership is best demonstrated in the face of adversity. At a time when many organization heads have shied away from making bold moves, some of these Women of Influence have opted to take big bets during this period of market dislocation – and consequently logged impressive results. Ivanhoé Cambridge CEO Nathalie Palladitcheff, for example, spearheaded the strategic repositioning of her organization’s portfolio from 2020 to 2022. The executive’s decision to overhaul the portfolio has now paid off with positive, benchmark-beating returns for Ivanhoé Cambridge and its parent organization, Canadian pension plan CDPQ.
Female professionals in private real estate are still a minority, while female leaders represent an even smaller cohort. But as each year’s finalists reflect more women advancing in the industry, it becomes a little less lonely at the top.
Belay Investment Group
In June 2022, managing principal Eliza Bailey was elevated to chief executive and chief investment officer of Belay Investment Group. The promotion came three months after the manager received an additional capital allocation of $350 million from the California State Teachers’ Retirement System for the emerging managers program Belay runs on behalf of the pension plan. With the latest capital outlay, CalSTRS’ commitments to Belay now total $900 million. Bailey oversees all aspects of Belay’s business activities, investment strategy and execution, in addition to investor and operator partner relations, capital formation, and overall business development and strategy.
Greystar’s Jennifer Ciullo was promoted to senior managing director, global head of investor relations this year, having previously served as managing director responsible for North American institutional investor relationships and fundraising for all the residential specialist’s global investment strategies. She has led numerous product launches for new investment strategies, including its first pan-European value-add discretionary fund, Greystar Equity Partners Europe I, which closed on €1.55 billion of commitments in June 2022. Managing a global team of 12 people, she is currently overseeing over 15 fundraises targeting total capital commitments of $10 billion.
Artemis Real Estate Partners
Deborah Harmon, together with former US secretary of commerce Penny Pritzker, co-founded Artemis Real Estate Partners in 2009. As co-CEO of the Washington, DC-based investment manager, she has since overseen $9 billion of capital raised for equity and debt investment in core, core-plus, value-add and opportunistic real estate strategies across the US. In June this year, the firm held a final close on $2.2 billion for the fourth fund in its flagship value-add diversified series, Artemis Real Estate Partners Fund IV, eclipsing its target of $1.5 billion and attracting commitments from a range of US and international institutional investors.
LaSalle Investment Management
Beverley Kilbride was promoted to chief operating officer of Europe at LaSalle Investment Management in January. Kilbride works out of the Chicago-based manager’s Paris office and continues to head up the firm’s French-regulated business. In her previous role as head of transactions and asset management in Europe, she supervised more than $4 billion of acquisitions in the region last year. As COO of Europe, she focuses on sustainability, asset management, digital projects and capital markets and currently oversees a development pipeline of over $5 billion. Kilbride is also the chair of LaSalle’s European diversity, equity and inclusion operating committee.
Park Madison Partners
As founder and managing partner of New York-based placement agent Park Madison Partners, Nancy Lashine led the firm to a record year in 2022, raising over $3.5 billion of capital from institutional investors on behalf of its clients. Under her purview, the firm held six real estate private equity fund closings, including two first-time funds, while its capital advisory team completed a $1 billion programmatic joint venture for Aimco and a $335 million recapitalisation for Elion Partners. According to a colleague, she also “has tirelessly worked to create a more inclusive environment for historically marginalized groups”, including as a member of WX New York Women Executives in Real Estate.
As managing director, principal – investments and head of Japan, Isabella Lo spearheads Gaw Capital’s Japan business, which grew by 42 percent year-on-year to $3.7 billion of AUM as of December 2022. Under her leadership last year, Gaw acquired a 32-asset residential portfolio on behalf of the Qatar Investment Authority, completed the $3 billion privatization of Invesco Office J-REIT and launched its first Japan-only and first core discretionary fund in the country. Going forward, she is understood to be tasked with doubling the firm’s exposure in Japan to $8 billion in the next three years.
PGIM Real Estate
As global chief operating officer and head of US equity at PGIM Real Estate, Cathy Marcus oversaw the completion of $31.5 billion in global transactions during 2022. She is the first woman to serve in both of those roles at the firm and additionally is the first woman on the majority of the firm’s senior investment committees. Marcus has led PGIM Real Estate’s efforts to build a gender diverse and long-tenured senior team. In the past year alone, two senior female investors were promoted to lead their respective areas of the business, managing a combined $45 billion in assets.
Chiang Ling Ng
Chiang Ling Ng joined the firm in 2021 as chief investment officer for Asia and has accelerated the firm’s growth in Asia-Pacific during a period of market volatility and disruption. In the past 12 months, she has diversified the firm’s regional portfolio through a number of high-profile transactions, including its first multifamily investment in APAC via an acquisition in Japan, the formation of an A$1.5 billion ($995 million; €920 million) joint venture with Cadillac Fairview in the Australian build-to-rent sector and its first cold storage acquisition in Australia. She also chairs the One Hines Women’s Network to enhance the firm’s DE&I culture.
As president and chief executive of Ivanhoé Cambridge since 2019, Nathalie Palladitcheff spearheaded the strategic repositioning of the investor’s portfolio. From 2020 to 2022, Ivanhoé Cambridge achieved this repositioning more quickly than expected, selling nearly C$9 billion ($6.7 billion; €6.2 billion) in assets and investing over C$18 billion in new investments and developments. As a result of this portfolio overhaul, the organization delivered a return of 12.7 percent in 2022, marking its second consecutive year of positive returns and comfortably beating the benchmark index by 3.5 percent. Palladitcheff was also this year’s recipient of affiliate title PERE’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Julie Solomon was named global chief operating officer and partner in Ares Management’s investor relations group last year, focusing on the firm’s approximately
$50 billion AUM real estate business. Solomon’s advancement reflected the pivotal role she played in the growth of the platform, having built and led teams that have raised more than $20 billion of capital across the US and Europe since she joined predecessor firm AREA Property Partners in 2006. As global COO, Solomon, who also serves as head of product management and investor relations for Ares Real Estate, now leads the group’s portfolio management, data and analytics and business development activities.