6C — October 30 - November 12, 2015 — Executive Women in Business — M id A tlantic

Real Estate Journal


Executive Women in Business

Nancy Erickson and Bonni Heller Cushman & Wakefield recognizes its top women in business

Nancy Erickson Senior Director, NJ Retail Leader Years with company/firm: 11 Years in field: 25 Years in real estate industry: 15 Real estate organizations/affiliations: ICSC, CREW

Bonni Heller Associate Director, Brokerage Years with company/firm: 24 Years in field: 33 Years in real estate industry: 33 Real estate organizations/affiliations: CREW

ow do you contribute to your company and/or the industry? I work directly with retail landlords and tenants on a variety of proj- ects, and with potential investors looking to learn about the regional market or specific properties. I also manage Cushman &Wakefield’s New Jersey retail team, and support our regional property management and capital markets teams with their retail-related client needs. On a national basis, I am the local point person for Cushman & Wakefield brokers in other branch and affiliate offices who are working with retailers that have New Jersey requirements. How do you manage the work/life balance? It can be hard at times, as my husband travels extensively in his position at DHS. We pretty much negotiate the calendar, and when we are able to get away together we make sure our home is fully stocked and the hot tub is bubbling for our ‘dog-sitters’ aka family and friends! What impact has social media/networking had on your business? Social media has become a necessity for our business. I actually hired one of my team members by posting on Facebook. Someone who knows me well matched me up with the perfect candidate. I will certainly do that again for my next hire. I also use LinkedIn regularly to locate contact information for potential client relationships, and to keep up with retail and real estate industry organizations. Tell us how/when you began your career in the profession you are in, about your current position and why you chose your profession. I began my career working in engineering, construction and architecture in New York and New Jersey. About 15 years ago, while on the board of CoreNet NYC, I was approached by GVA Williams to work in its client services division. A few years later I joined Cushman & Wakefield doing national retail at our Manhattan headquarters. In 2012, I moved over to the New Jersey office to manage and grow our retail practice here. What qualities/personality traits do you feel make youmost successful? As my husband says, I will talk to anyone. I am blessed that people trust me and see my sincerity so they open up – it’s actually pretty amazing and very rewarding. And I work extremely hard. I opened 140+ locations in 22 states for one client, traveling to every state and each market dozens of times. Having airline platinum status was very nice while it lasted! What was the most defining moment for you in the profession you are currently in? Earlier this year, I received Cushman & Wakefield’s award as 2014 Highest Earning Director for our Mid-Atlantic Region. Do you feel there are any differences in the way that men and women develop business relationships and if so, what activities or venues do you participate in? In the past, networking was very different between the sexes, but that has changed over the past 10 years. Today women are holding their own golf outings and putting together industry happy hours. Tell us about your family. My husband Andy and I have two dogs, and I have two step children from him, Drew and Gabrielle. My mother, two sisters, brother-in-law, three nieces and one nephew live in New Jersey, and my brother and one nephew live in Jacksonville, Florida. Who do you feel was most influential when choosing this profession? My dad, a metallurgic engineer (Lehigh/NYU MBA), took the train to Man- hattan every day from central New Jersey wearing his suit and making deals happen as the eastern district executive sales manager for a large power com- pany. He flew to great places, entertained in our suite at Giants Stadium and box at Madison Square Garden, and attended Super Bowls and Tony Awards. I thought, “Wow I love the design/build world!” What I didn’t recognize until later, as I was too busy being a kid, was that he was rarely home before 8 pm and exhausted at times from having to be on his game non-stop. What activities do you enjoy during your free time? I love to travel to new places. We have a home in Hoboken and a second home in the Hudson Valley, along the Hudson River, so we love to entertain and also enjoy a lot of outdoor activities. n H

hat was your greatest professional accomplishment in 2015? In May I was honored as runner-up for NAIOP New Jersey’s Indus- trial Deal of the Year. These annual awards are considered the Oscars for the commercial real estate industry, and I am thrilled that my two-tiered, complex transaction (Hudson News Group and Bergen Logistics) was one of three nominations considered. What was your most notable project, deal or transaction in 2015? There are actually two industrial lease transactions that I think are my most significant to date. Two clients with whom I have ongoing relationships each doubled in size, expanding into contiguous space. What makes the transactions significant is how intricate they were, and the complexities involved on my end I guess it’s no secret that I’m considered a bit of a control freak, but the positive side to that is I’m extremely organized. I’ve also been blessed with keen multi- tasking skills. The combination of the two helps me keep my work and family life in check. That said, maintaining a work/life balance is always challenging and something I achieve on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis. Who or what has been the strongest influence on your career? Hands down it is my late father, Gene Heller. As president of Hartz Mountain for 38 years and later head of his own firm, he was one of the pioneers in New Jersey real estate. He was also my rock and my best friend. He nurtured and guided me, personally and professionally, until he passed away seven years ago. I had access to him 24/7, and like on that show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, he was the lifeline I called any time I needed advice. He was larger than life but he taught me well, and today I am working to make my own footprints in the industry. Tell us how and when you began your career in the profession you are in, about your current position and why you chose your profession. After college I pursued what was then my passion – working in the fashion business. Over time I became frustrated by not being able to get ahead in what I felt was a male-dominated industry. Hartz was starting to grow at the time, and my dad – great salesman that he was – made a proposition that ultimately led me to change careers. Growing up, real estate was not something I’d ever considered being involved in. But I dove in, immersed myself in learning all facets of the business and was lucky to have the most incredible teacher and mentor you could ask for. The rest, as they say, is history. What qualities/personality traits do you feel make youmost successful? The real estate business is all about relationships. My people skills are my strength: forming and maintaining relationships, being a team player, the will- ingness to share and support others. I’ve always been outgoing and approachable, and am a huge proponent of networking. I’ve also got a good sense of humor, which you definitely need in this industry. What challenges and/or obstacles do you feel you needed to overcome to become as successful as you are today? It may sound like a cliché or yesterday’s news, but the glass ceiling still pre- vails – and I believe that it’s the single greatest obstacle to success for women in the commercial real estate industry. This is a male-dominated profession, and while women have made great strides, the numbers speak for themselves. Women continue to be under represented in the C-suites across the board, and this industry is no different. The brokerage side of the business in particular has a very small group of active women. In my 20-plus years here at Cushman & Wakefield, I’m one of only three or four women brokers on a net basis. Do you feel being a woman is an advantage, disadvantage or no ad- vantage in today’s business world? Why? Why not? In the commercial real estate world, being a woman can have its advantages. You certainly stand out in a crowd, and being a novelty can help you differentiate yourself with colleagues and clients. When I first started in brokerage, I made a cold call to the vice president of real estate and distribution at Nautica. He W in order to blend and extend their respective leases. How do you manage the work/life balance?

continued on page 16C

Made with FlippingBook - Online Brochure Maker