Monday, December 7, 2015

Congratulations Lynn Thurber / NAREIM Capital Raising and Investor Relations Meeting / John Rutledge and The Chicago Realty Club

Congratulations Lynn Thurber

Sometimes the serendipity of life amazes even a true believe like me. In Chicago last week, I learned, last minute, that there was a very special industry event taking place on Thursday night.  Reaching out to a friend who works for LaSalle Investment Management, I ended up not only getting a ticket but also being invited to sit at one of their tables.

Lynn Thurber, Chairman of LaSalle Investment Management, received the 21st Annual Lifetime Achievement Award presentation of ULI (Urban Land Institute) Chicago. This award honors an individual whose achievements throughout their lifetime exemplify personal and professional contributions to the real estate industry and to the community. The banquet hall at the Four Seasons Hotel was filled with more than 600 people, showing their support of Lynn and ULI.

Introductory comments by event co-chair Jacques Gordon, Global Head of Research and Strategy at LaSalle, painted a wonderful picture of Lynn’s career (he also injected some fun stuff and photos that had us - and Lynn - laughing!).

Jacques’s introduction of Lynn included mention of her roles as immediate past global Chairman of the Board of ULI.  Lynn had also been the chair of PREA (Pension Real Estate Association) and a member of the Board of Directors and Executive of AFIRE (Association of Foreign Investors in {U.S.} Real Estate).  She has also held numerous other board seats and positions with organizations inside and outside the commercial real estate industry.   

While Jacques was a tough act to follow, Jeff Jacobson, Global CEO of LaSalle Investment Management, shared some of his own experiences about working with and knowing Lynn:

“In the 9 years that I’ve been in this job, Lynn has been my consigliore.  For many of those years we had a standing weekly phone call set up to discuss things.  At some point, we were talking and thought that maybe the call wasn’t necessary any more….then I realized it was!  

When traveling with Lynn I learned that she is capable of falling asleep on a transatlantic flight faster than anyone else I’ve ever known.  Then, when the flight lands, she walks off the plane, looking and sounding as alert as if she had just strolled down the street to her office.

She has been a great friend and mentor who, while having strong opinions, has always respected mine.”

From an article on the Midwest Real Estate News website:
“Lynn has been an inspiration, role model and mentor to many women and men across our industry and around the world most recently as ULI’s Global Chairman and before that as Chief Executive Officer of LaSalle Investment Management.  Lynn has been at the forefront of many of the most important trends in the industry today including globalization, sustainability and diversity within the workplace,” says Jeff Jacobson.

The article continues saying that beyond her accomplishments, Thurber’s most enduring leadership trait is her uncompromising honesty and integrity.  “No matter what the situation, Lynn has always abided by the principle of putting honesty and clients above all else which has earned her the utmost trust and respect within our industry”, added Jacobson.

Two women who attended the dinner and who had worked with and for Lynn at different parts of their careers, shared these thoughts with me:

Lynn was my boss at the outset of my Morgan Stanley days, and I can't think of a time when I wasn't working with her during my seven years there.   Lynn is probably the smartest person I've ever worked with - and in addition to the marvelously analytic mind, there is charm, practicality and humor.  I am lucky to have worked for her, been taught by her, been supported by her.”  

Mary McCarthy
Former Senior Managing Director – Capital Markets for Hines

“I could speak about Lynn’s precision in addressing critical concerns in complex issues, or the high standards she sets for herself and by example has encouraged all around her to reach and exceed expectations.  Instead I will draw focus to her as one of the first people in our industry to lead a truly global organization.   Lynn successfully set the stage for LaSalle to manage the complexity of working across multiple borders with teams of individuals from distinct cultural backgrounds, while creating a sense of partnership and camaraderie for all.”

Joyce Shapiro
Former International Director, LaSalle Investment Management

Another event attendee had this to say:
Lynn is masterful at listening and making sure you are finished talking before she speaks. There would be a long pause and then pearls of wisdom and frank, much-needed substantive advice would follow.

And, another woman emailed me that just last week, she wrote to Lynn telling her what a "positive and powerful role model she has been to me” (I had attended a Women in Private Equity conference in London and this again reinforced to me the importance of having leading and inspiring role models).

Lynn’s acceptance speech focused on two things:  her commitment to helping women and minorities grow and achieve success in the commercial real estate industry and her passion for the global mission of ULI.  She urged all in the audience to become a career champion for a woman or minority in the industry.

Lynn spoke affectionately about Bowen “Buzz” McCoy, her personal career champion who gave her opportunities to stretch herself and by doing so expand her knowledge of not only the technical aspects of the real estate investment management business but also the importance of integrity.  She credits Buzz with giving her the solid foundation on which she built her career.  Buzz was a General Partner of Morgan Stanley where he developed and ran the commercial real estate finance unit for many years.  He is also the author of ‘Living into Leadership: A Journey in Ethics’. 

I got to know Lynn in a former life when LaSalle Investment Management was my client.  Over the years, as I spent more time with her, I discovered a person that was truly real.  No matter that she was CEO of a global real estate investment management firm or chair of this or that organization.  She was down to earth. As my life and career evolved, Lynn was interested - sincerely interested - in what I was doing, how things were going and how could she help.  Her sage advice helped me during some challenging periods. One trait that I have always admired about Lynn is that if she says she’s going to do something, she does it.  I feel fortunate to be able to call Lynn Thurber my friend. 

Congratulations Lynn! 

National Association of Real Estate Investment Managers - Capital Raising and Investor Relations Meeting

Last week I was in Chicago for NAREIM’s Capital Raising and Investor Relations meeting.  True to form, this event brought together a diverse group of capital raisers and investor relations professionals.  As most of us have heard many times, there really is no such thing as a dumb question – if it’s something on your mind, there’s a heck of a good chance that at least one other person (and usually many more) in the audience are thinking and wondering about the same thing.  NAREIM President Gunnar Branson encouraged all present to ‘ask dumb questions.’  Gunnar also has established a wonderful philosophy about NAREIM meetings and calls the name badge, ‘Your license to think in public.’

Every time I attend a NAREIM event I’m reminded about how special they are.  The meetings (see the 2016 calendar here) attract manageable size groups – from 20 to 60 – which allows for everyone to participate in a safe environment. 

While the 'house rules don’t allow me to share actual discussion content from the meeting, I can tell you some of the topics that were debated:
  • Activism and Investment Capital:  How can we best manage investment protestors?
  • How the SEC looks at real estate and how you should prepare for your inevitable examination.
  • How are investors changing their approach to direct investing and separate accounts vs. traditional fund investing? (Panel included LP’s)
  • How might capital raising be changed in the next five years by such things as crowd funding?
The discussions at NAREIM meetings are stimulating and don’t fit neatly inside a box.  You’re guaranteed to leave with some good takeaways to share with your colleagues. 

John Rutledge and the Chicago Realty Club Luncheon

John Rutledge and I met a number of years ago through this column.  As has happened, he read something that resonated with him and decided to hit ‘Reply’ and write back to me.  He and I later met in person at a CRE (Counselors of Real Estate) event and have been friends ever since.

John is President of Rutledge Company LLC and has had an extremely diverse commercial real estate background – managing, leasing, acquiring, disposing and financing. His consulting activities and speaking engagements have taken him to various countries - including Russia and other former communist bloc nations as they have sought to privatize their markets - and his articles have appeared in various American and foreign publications.

Last week John knew I was going to be in Chicago and extended an invitation to my partner Liz Weiner and I to attend the annual holiday luncheon of The Realty Club of Chicago (founded 1915!). What a fun and joyous event it was – with a musical flavor.  A pianist played Christmas music.  But it was the singing of the Realty Club Theme Song that was the highlight (led by Mary Ludgin, Director of Global Investment Research at Heitman).

Earlier this year, John and Noah Shales, senior managing director with Newmark Grubb Knight Frank's Global Corporate Services group and 2015 Chairman of the Counselors of Real Estate (CRE), invited Liz and I to conduct a mini-presentation coaching workshop at one of the their luncheons, which was a lot of fun.

Times like these are special and provide memorable moments. Thanks John, for being a good friend and for allowing us to be part of The Realty Club of Chicago family one more time.

Lobby of The Drake Hotel, Chicago

On the Road…

Dec. 8-16: New York for a variety of activities including attending RCA's Holiday party, conducting a presentation coaching workshop for a client and year-end meetings with some industry friends.


Jan. 20-22: IMN’s 13th Annual Winter Forum on Real Estate Opportunity and Private Fund Investing, Laguna Beach, CA  

Jan. 26-27: NAREIM Acquisitions and Dispositions, Beverly Hills, CA

Jan. 28: Felix /Weiner Women’s Leadership Workshop, Los Angeles, CA 

Feb. 2:  Felix/ Weiner Women’s Leadership Workshop, Dallas, TX

Feb.4:  Felix/ Weiner Women’s Leadership Workshop, Houston, TX 

Feb. 16-17: NAREIM Research and Investment Management, Chicago, IL 

Feb. 18:  Felix / Weiner Women’s Leadership Workshop, Chicago, IL 

Mar. 8 & 9: Pension Real Estate Association (PREA) Conference, Boston, MA

Mar. 10: Felix / Weiner Women’s Leadership Workshop, New York City

Apr. 6-7: NAREIM Asset and Portfolio Management, Atlanta, GA 

Apr. 8:  Felix/ Weiner Women’s Leadership Workshop, Atlanta, GA

Apr. 13-14:  PERE Global Investor Forum, Los Angeles, CA

Best wishes to you for a healthy and happy holiday season and New Year!



All content in this blog is created for informational purposes only. Content, which includes all text, photos, video and graphics is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company or individual.  Steve Felix makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or other information as a result of following any featured link to or from this site.  The intention of this blog is to do no harm in regards to injury, defamation or libel. What is written or shown is not to be taken as fact or absolute.  Steve Felix will hold himself harmless for any errors or omissions in this blog’s information; including but not limited to external link information, translation or interpretation of content or incorrect grammar or punctuation. 

Blog Archive