In February, a group of women real estate undergraduate and MBA students from the Wisconsin School of Business traveled to Chicago to connect with a group of inspirational women who are leaders within the real estate industry. The day kicked off at Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers, an indirect subsidiary of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company. At Cornerstone, Wisconsin real estate alumnus Pam Boneham, a Managing Director covering the Central Region portfolio, hosted the group for breakfast. Ms. Boneham shared the experiences that navigated her career from JLL, Equity Office, to a 16-year career at RREEEF, to her current position at Cornerstone. We also met with Nicole Pecoulas, Vice President of Commercial Mortgage, along with several other women from Cornerstone who shared tips on how to nail an interview and how to stay positive throughout the inevitable turns of one’s career.
Next, we visited four senior leaders from Prudential Real Estate Investors (PREI) and PMCC. Collete English-Dixon, Principal of Dispositions for PREI and the former President of the CREW Network, hosted us at the exquisite Fairmont Hotel. Ms. English-Dixon discussed the evolving nature of the real estate industry, which she believes is becoming more transparent, accessible to different types of investors, and progressive in addressing its past challenges. Sara Trybus, a Managing Director at PMCC, also shared her experience of finding a work-life balance while actively challenging herself in her career. She encourages women to always strive for work that stretches outside of their comfort zone and offers learning opportunities. We were also excited to see Nora Boneham, a recent University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate who recently joined the PMCC team in Chicago.
Tina Weber (BBA 2004), Corporate Finance Manager at Equity Office Properties, hosted our last meeting. Keith Cyrus, VP and Senior Financial Officer of Corporate Finance, gave the group an overview of Equity Office, a Blackstone company, and discussed its current business strategy, and a forecast into the trends in the office property market. Ms. Weber inspired us all as she shared how she made herself indispensable by remaining flexible both inside and outside of her role and furthering her education by completing an MBA at the Kellogg School of Management.
Following our last meeting with Equity Office, we networked with women from the Kellogg School of Management and Chicago Booth School of Business. In addition, Caroline Linton, the Chair of the CREW Chicago Scholarship committee, spoke to the group about the CREW Network and the national and local scholarship opportunities for the upcoming year.
In all the event was a huge success and would not have been possible without the help of our hosts, the James A. Graaskamp Center and Real Estate Club. We look forward to making this an annual event!
Ashleigh Coaxum graduated Cum Laude in 2008 from Spelman College with a Bachelors of Arts in Economics and a minor in Business Administration. She enjoys traveling, cooking and becoming a budding watch enthusiast. Ashleigh is excited to further advance her skills and expertise by pursuing her MBA at the University of Wisconsin- Madison in the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate.