8C — October 30 - November 12, 2020 — Women in Business — M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal


Women in Business

Gabby Cali, Progress Capital “Whether you are new to the business or a veteran in the industry, there is always more to learn”

ell us how and when you began your ca- reer in the profes- sion you are in? I got a taste of the real estate industry during my senior year of high school, while I was fulfilling an internship at Har - ry Capital. Alan Harry, the President/CEO immediately tasked me with managing and expanding his own real estate investment portfolio. So, I was determined to educate myself on the industry by reading up on real estate trends, asking a lot of questions and basi- cally learned as I went along. Within a short time, I was pro - moted to managing ten college interns of my own. What is your current position? I am currently titled as the Assistant Vice President to Brad Domenico, Partner at Progress Capital, a commer - cial real estate advisory firm with over 30 years of experi - ence, $40 Billion in closed loans and $150 Million of directly funded bridge loans. As AVP, my primary role is comprised of performing as the front line contact and liaison between the clients and all other parties involved in the various loans that are simul- taneously transpiring. This includes streamlining all steps of the underwriting and ap- proval process to ensure that all information is accurately and efficiently submitted, in order to facilitate smooth and timely closings of each loan. Additionally, I am responsible for diligently analyzing client’s financial statements, prepar - ing underwriting analyses and loan request packages. As well as, staying informed on market conditions and new loan products in order to best advise the client, manage expectations and successfully negotiate the best possible terms from lenders, to ensure the best deal is obtained based on the client’s specific needs. Why did you choose the field/profession you are in today? I always envisioned my- self working in the financial industry, whether it be as T

a larger audience to obtain prospective clients. Addition - ally, it makes me accessible to anyone looking for me or my services. Social media is a per- fect tool to utilize in furthering one’s successful career. What unique qualities and/or personality do you feel makes you most suc- cessful in your profession? I feel my confidence is actu - ally my strongest suit and it follows throughout my per- formance. In this industry, being confident is essential, from assuring clients that they are being advised by knowledgeable experts, to sat - isfying lenders by providing accurate information. I work very closely with clients and professionals including attor- neys, accountants and other third party vendors. So, when I’m communicating, I am not only conveying my expertise with the utmost confidence and certainty, but in the end, I do deliver with action by fol- lowing through and bringing the deal to the closing table. Do you feel being a wom- an is an advantage, disad- vantage or no advantage in today’s business world? Why? Why not? As a woman working first- hand in the largely male dominated industry of com- mercial real estate, I feel that being a woman in the field as an overall advantage. I say this because, growing up I was a “tom-boy” that did everything my brothers and neighboring boys did, which determined me in doing it better, because I was a girl. In fact, I even went on to play all-boys ice hockey from the age of 5, all the way through high school. Needless to say, I was very accustomed to being around males and really fit in with them to the point where I was just “one of the guys”. So, I learned early on how to carry myself as the only girl in a room – or locker room – full of all guys. At the end of the day, they were my teammates and I was theirs and all that mat- tered was how hard I played and the effort I put into each game and practice. That was what earned me the respect

of the team. I feel that this translates the same in the workplace, because I know that in this male dominated industry, it’s about putting forth my skills and knowledge at work and that’s how my colleagues and peers characterize me, not my gender. While men may underesti- mate women in the business world and perhaps in general, I have learned from my expe - rience that it doesn’t matter if you are a woman or a man, the only way to gain the same respect is to prove yourself by working hard, going the extra mile, being confident in yourself, investing in yourself and not being afraid to show themwhat you are capable of. Don’t focus on being the only girl, focus on the fact that you’re good enough to compete with them and prove it, by getting the job done! What outside activities do you enjoy during you free time? I really enjoy traveling and experiencing new cultures as much as I can. I’ve even learned how to speak Manda- rin. During my downtime, I ei - ther relax by doing some yoga or take a stroll in my neigh- borhood of Asbury Park and meet up with some friends for a “distanced” gathering. Oth- erwise, you’ll find me surfing the waves on the Jersey Shore or walking my dog along the boardwalk. What inspiring word of advice would you give to a young woman about to go into the field of com - mercial real estate or your allied field? I would advise her to always be confident and know that it’s okay if you don’t always have the answer to a ques- tion. Whether you are new to the business or a veteran in the industry, there is always more to learn. You should always make an effort to bet- ter yourself, whether it be for your professional career or personal life. Always be you, just be a better version. MAREJ

Gabby Cali Assistant Vice President Progress Capital Years with company/firm: 4 years Years in field: 6 years Years in real estate industry: 8 years

a Wall Street broker or any other position within the sec- tor. I strived to be a success- ful businesswoman, so I set out to obtain the experience and education I needed to reach my goal. I got out there and gained experience and knowledge in various business areas including trading com- modities, stocks and mutual funds, commercial real estate investing, business develop - ment and wealth creation. That’s when I came to realize that my true passion was com- mercial real estate. I found it much more interesting than trading, because of its tangible component. What was your greatest professional accomplish- ment in 2020? and What was the most defining mo - ment for you in the profes- sion you are currently in? I feel my greatest accom- plishment and defining mo - ment was my being selected to be a featured guest speaker on the “Women in Commer- cial Lending” panel. This rec - ognition not only led to more speaking engagements, but it validated my abilities and success. I found it rewarding, as it represented the fact that I managed to make such an accomplishment in a male dominated industry. What was your most notable project, deal or transaction in 2020? I would have to say the most noteworthy deal was a $50 Million construction loan, not because of the significant loan size, but rather the many challenges that surfaced be- fore successfully closing. The loan was in its final steps of the loan process, when we were suddenly blind- sided by the unforeseen CO-

VID-19 global pandemic. No one could have prepared for or had a “one size fits all” solution to get around the impacts that resulted. This was new territory for every- one involved, especially the banks who were stifled by un - certainty and hesitation as a result of the situation. As the pandemic worsened, we were presented with even more challenges from the market volatility, including banks turning toward a conserva- tive approach, newly created difficulties in underwriting credit risk and a widespread disruption amongst construc- tion projects. Nonetheless, we managed to devise a creative solution and approach, by working collab - oratively with both the bank and the client to formulate a plan that was mutually agree- able to all parties. As a result, the closing not only took place, but we were able to preserve the deal with all loan terms kept in-tact. I can proudly say that I was a part of a suc- cessful loan closing during the peak of the pandemic. What impact has social media / networking had on your business? My career has definitely been impacted positively by social media. Having been fea - tured on numerous platforms, published on TradedNY and other well-known digital pub- lications has definitely fur- thered my career. The expo - sure has not only led to more invites for speaking events, but it has enabled me to ex - pand my networking reach tremendously. I have found social media to be a valuable avenue to connect with not only my existing clients and industry related individuals, but it enhances my reach to

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