24D — October 21 - November 17, 2022 — Women in Business — M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal


CREW New Jersey

Elizabeth Geary-Archer (aka Lizzie Archer) Business Developer for companies in the architecture/engineering/ construction/real estate industry Years in field: 30 Years in real estate industry: 30

Melissa A. Clarke, Esq. Counsel Saul Ewing LLP Y ears with company/firm: 3.5 Years in field: 11 Years in real estate industry: 10

Samantha Kane Project Architect, Associate HLW International Years with company/firm: 4 Years in field: 9 Years in real estate industry: 9

What is your current position? Counsel at Saul Ewing LLP. I focus my practice on environmental law (including regulatory coun - seling, environmental due diligence, permitting, enforcement and environmental litigation, devel - opment/redevelopment and tidelands rights and approvals). Why did you choose the field/profession you are in today? I love science and history, and my greatest skill has always been persuasive writing. Environmental law provides a mix of these things, so it interests and challenges me. Also, The Lorax. How do you manage the work/life balance? Working from home most days of the week. My work primarily involves calls, emails and virtual meetings, so being able to skip the commute means more time for dog walks, Peloton rides and most importantly, pre-K drop off! What unique qualities and or personality do you feel makes you most successful in your profession? Once upon a time I would have said “hard-working” or “my attention to detail.” These days, I think it is being empathetic – able to understand feelings and perspectives and connect with clients, whether a sole proprietor or in-house counsel for a Fortune 100 company. What challenges and or obstacles do you feel you needed to overcome to become as successful as you are today? I decided to be confident! While confidence naturally increases with experience, I also had to proactively acknowledge my strengths and successes (write them down!) to silence self-doubt. What was the most defining moment for you in the profession you are currently in? Joining my current firm, Saul Ewing LLP. I am so grateful for my incredible colleagues and firm leadership, from the caliber of the work to the long - standing firm culture of respect, compassion, and understanding. Never underestimate the importance of a positive, supportive workplace. Do you feel being a woman is an advantage, disadvantage or no advantage in today’s business world? Why? Why not? Advantage! We’re masters of multi-tasking, attentive to detail and posses unique advantages as negotiators, given a proclivity to greater cooperativeness. Tell us a little about your family: My husband and I have a four year old son and two Irish setters. What outside activities do you enjoy during you free time? Hiking, biking and relaxing at the Jersey Shore. MAREJ Real estate organizations / affiliations: CREW NJ, Professional Women in Building of the Garden State

Why did you choose the field/profession you are in today? My career can be traced, quite simply, back to my first set of Legos, circa 1995. Upon receiving this life-changing gift, I decided then and there that I wanted to build houses. As I grew up and learned more, I became quite certain that being an architect was exactly what I wanted to do – though the specifics evolved as I learned more about the industry and all the possibilities therein. In the almost three decades that have passed since receiving that set of Legos, it has never once occurred to me to do anything else! Who or what has been the strongest influence on your career? I am fortunate enough to have had several amazing people influence my career through - out the years, starting with a pair of high school teachers whose unlimited well of support helped put me on my current path. Today, I am proud to be able to count several amazing women as both mentors and friends, though none more so than Kim Sacramone and Melissa Strickland [principles in HLW’s NJ of - fice]. Over the last four years, Kim and Melissa have helped me refine and grow my career goals and given me the tools to carve the path forward for my career – providing support and advice every step of the way. Who do you feel was most influential in your life when choosing this profession? My parents and sisters have always been an enduring influence in my decision to choose this profession, never once questioning my unwavering commitment to being an architect (starting at five years old with my first set of Legos) – even when it meant spending an entire Thanksgiving break helping me build massive plaster models in the garage. And in addition to my family, as a sophomore in high school, I took a drafting class with a man named Bill Kocur. Though I was already certain of what I wanted to do with my career at this point, I had absolutely no idea how to achieve my goals. Mr. Kocur provided me with resources by way of information on architecture school, contacts by way of former students who were actively in or recently graduated from architecture school, and support by way of a constant presence and genuine care about me and my future. Tell us how and when you began your career in the profession you are in: I have a Bachelor of Architecture from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. During college, I interned for a forensic engineering firm in Somerville, NJ, which cemented my interest in design detailing and the “how it works” aspect of architecture. After graduation, I spent several years in Philadelphia working on hospital - ity design while studying to obtain my professional license. Upon moving up to New Jersey five years ago, I began exploring the workplace and commercial side of real estate – which felt like a natural transition from hospitality. What inspiring word of advice would you give to a young woman about to go into the field of commercial real estate or your allied field? We all started where you are now, find your voice and don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself. What outside activities do you enjoy during you free time? I am an avid reader, a (mediocre) golfer, a knitter, an aunt to two super cool kids, and Bar Method enthusiast. MAREJ Real estate organizations / affiliations: CREW NJ, American Institute of Architects

Tell us how, when and why you began your career in the profession you are in: In my heart, I began my career while I was still in architecture school. I was watching my teachers and peers in rapture – I loved the story of design and construc - tion and development. I knew even then that I did not want to practice architecture. I wanted to witness it, experience it, and share its story. This was, in my opinion, marketing and business de - velopment within this industry and so I pursued, in a very intentional way, a career in marketing and business development promoting professional services for the built environment. Who or what has been the strongest influence on your career? Professional associations/organiza - tions have been the most impactful on my career. They gave me a network of great people who support me, team up for business pursuits, become clients, become my employees, etc. The network I’ve created is the foundation of my career success. For example, when I was in my 20s, a presentation coach – Carol Doscher of Graceworks, Inc. - who was a part of my network came up to me and said “You have the whole pack - age, I want to teach you public speaking skills.” She had me come to her class, which totally transformed my career. I went on to become the President of our association and the experience expanded my network and gave me invaluable leadership skills. What impact has social media / networking had on your business? Social media is a huge part of my business approach, and it has helped me and the companies I’ve worked for to build our brand and connect with our business community. I prefer to use LinkedIn and I have over 11,000 contacts. Two key things: 1) I use my platform to share messages that my clients are trying to relay. Perhaps a developer client is looking for new sites. Or perhaps public agency is looking for support at public hearings for infrastructure investment. Or perhaps a corporation is trying to spread the word about their new facilities and the workplace culture they are building for their employees, as a recruitment initiative. As a result, the clients are grateful and sometimes they share my posts to their networks (which is the ultimate social media compliment) and a circle of gratitude and respect is formed between me and the clients around mutual goals. 2) I have many interests in this industry, such as Diversity-Equity-Inclusion (DEI), Environment-Social-Governance (ESG), the 5G network and its impact on society, prop tech, energy efficiency, the role infrastructure plays on economic development, etc. Social media gives me a way to connect with the communities that lead these topics from clients, to innovators, to teaming part - ners, to students, etc. I find the fellowship around these topics to be extremely gratifying and exciting. What is your current position? My current career track is Business Development. Business Development is developing and maintaining relationships with clients, setting strategies for winning new projects, relationship building with teaming partners, attend - ing industry events, building brand awareness about the company I work for, social media posting and being the “glue” for business development activities through CRM, documentation, and reporting. MAREJ Real estate organizations / affiliations: CoreNet, NAIOP, CREW NJ, AMFP, IBDPros

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