ULI New York Blog

Recap: Career Evolution Program – Development Session


By: Frank Futia

On May 10th, 2017, ULI New York hosted Career Evolution: Insights from Across the Industry, where real estate professionals from across the industry gathered at K & L Gates LLP in Midtown to hear valuable career insights from leaders across the industry.

During the dual-panel event attendees were given the opportunity to hear from leaders in the development or institutional investment worlds about how the professionals decided where they fit in the industry and when they expanded or changed their roles.

The development panel, moderated by Daniel Carr (Ares Management) featured Lauren Cahill (AvalonBay) and Jared Della Valle (Alloy Development). The firms Cahill and Della Valle represented differed in size, but each firm represented development groups that realized the value of having former designers on their team – both Cahill and Della Valle began their careers as architects, who later transitioned into development roles.

Disenchanted with architecture, both Cahill and Della Valle decided to pursue new roles in development. On finding that role, both Cahill and Della Valle agreed that companies are looking to hire the most passionate people. Instead of casting a wide net of ‘odd jobs,’ both feel that it is important to narrow down one’s search and have a clear idea of what exactly you want your role in the industry to be. Landing a specific role often requires time and patience, but when you decide what that role is, it’s up to you to do you research, find out if it’s a good fit, and persistently pursue opportunities.

To create his role and build, Della Valle realized the value his ‘sweat equity’ could bring to a project and leveraged the relationships he developed through his previous role in architecture. A previous ULI YLG co-chair in New York (notably, she also served the same role in two other cities), Cahill learned of an opportunity at AvalonBay through her involvement in ULI. Already knowing what role she was looking for and what type of firm she desired to work at, the next step was learning more about where she wanted that role to be. Lauren suggested tapping into your network as a great way to gain insights into a company, and to learn about a company’s culture and values.

Regardless of what size firm, what role you are seeking, or what market you are working in, real estate is a relationship based industry. Both speakers agreed that growing those relationships are key to evolving your career and finding the role you want that best fits you.

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