By Miriam Lamey | National
Women in CRE
ORANGE COUNTY—Cheryl Todd, Vice President of Real Estate Management at Coreland Companies explains that throughout her career, she has been able to work in “a leadership capacity.” Over time, she took this experience to another level and has moved to give back, mentoring the next generation of professionals. In her work, she values problem solving and the opportunity to communicate – traits that can benefit any individual in this field.
How did you enter the commercial real estate industry and where has your career taken you?
I graduated with a degree in Business Administration – Finance and was looking for a job in the finance field. In the job search process I ended up being offered a position to work in acquisitions for a real estate syndicator, and was eventually recruited into the property management division. From that point on I continued to take forward steps, working for Catellus Development Corporation (which was acquired by Prologis) for 13 years, where I managed a portfolio of more than $1.3 billion in office, industrial and retail properties; then moving into my current role as VP of Real Estate Management at Coreland Companies.
From the beginning of my career path I was fortunate to have worked in a leadership capacity. My career has given me wonderful opportunities to mentor real estate talent. I have always enjoyed encouraging growth and promoting from within. It’s a passion developed in me by my father, who was a dedicated teacher for 35 years.
I understand you were recently named the Co-Chair of the Southern California IREM conference. How do organizations like IREM keep themselves relevant?
IREM’s primary focus is to provide a forum of education and information-sharing for its members. It is critical that the organization stay relevant on a national and local level, and in order to do so, we are constantly revaluating the product and services we deliver. We solicit feedback from our members, take that feedback and make improvements. Right now one of our main areas of focus is succession planning to ensure that we are attracting young, fresh minds to play a role in the organization. We have a strong student outreach program that offers internships, job shadow days, and local college speaking opportunities and recruitment efforts.
The Southern California IREM Conference has evolved dramatically through the years. The conference we hold today is very different from the conference we held just a few years ago. The Board has re-focused the event so that it delivers quality information and presents real-time challenges and solutions in a very efficient manner.
Describe your “macro” approach to property management and how this may be different from your peers.
When people ask what I do I like to tell them that I solve problems. Because I worked as an asset manager for many years, I believe I bring a valuable component to the management business. I encourage our team to view issues in a way that focuses on enhancing the value of properties for our clients. If there is a problem, we immediately try to find a solution. My team’s ability to address situations and develop effective solutions is critical.
I also believe that client service is priority. In the retail sector specifically, no two clients or portfolios are alike. Thus, we aim to be adaptable. Our team assesses a client’s needs and refines our process and reporting to best fit the way they do business. Sometimes that means introducing streamlined reporting and budgets for short-term holds, or adopting our way to a client’s methods for those that own larger portfolios of long-term hold assets.
What has your experience been as a woman in the industry?
Being a woman in a (sometimes) male-dominated industry has really been a positive for me. My experiences have made me a more effective leader because I can work effectively with both men and women. It has helped me to develop a communication style that reaches across gender lines. I honestly believe that by just being courteous to people, no matter your gender or age, you can get along and work effectively with all. My focus has always been to exhibit my knowledge and professionalism in the best way I know how, and it has never held me back.
Finally, any words of wisdom for younger women considering a career in commercial real estate?
Learn as much as you can and never stop learning! One of the things I have always enjoyed is talking to people who are experts in their field. You can always learn from somebody. I really enjoy getting together with people and exchanging ideas. Take every conversation as an opportunity to improve your skills.