August 29, 2012

Meet the Southeast’s Women of Influence

August 29, 2012
By Jennifer LeClaire

MIAMI-The Southeast is home to its fair share of commercial real estate heavy hitters. From Atlanta to Miami and from Orlando to Boca Raton, the Southeast boasts some of the industry’s most visionary women:

Susan Ansel

President and CEO
Gables Residential

Susan Ansel’s impressive 30-year career reached an even higher point earlier this year when she was tapped to head Gables Residential. She’s come a long way since starting her career as a financial analyst at the Daseke Co. After that job sent her from Connecticut to Texas, Ansel was eventually hired by Gables’ predecessor firm, Trammell Crow Residential, to implement on-site computer operations.

She rose to become COO of the multifamily REIT, a title she held for seven years until her recent promotion. In the past year alone, Ansel has helped the firm deliver same-store NOI of 7.9% in 2011, its highest results ever; grew its third-party management business, adding 18 communities with annual revenue of $1.6 million; and implemented several technological innovations, including a new award-winning website, a marketing-analytics program, a tablet program and an online leasing and application program. Ansel is obviously a strong believer in technology’s ability to increase efficiency. She also believes opportunities for women will continue to grow in the industry. “A significant number of women have been paying their dues for the past 20 years and more talented women will push their way into C-level positions,” she relates.

Loretta Cockrum

CEO and Chair
Foram Group Inc.

Loretta Cockrum is a trailblazer. She founded Foram in 1978 and expanded its reach from agricultural holdings to building management and development. Her efforts have culminated in the recently completed, 600,000-square-foot sustainable office building at 600 Brickell Ave in Miami.

She has been recognized at home and abroad: Florida Governor Rick Scott invited Cockrum to travel to Brazil and promote trade with the State of Florida, and she received the 2012 Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s Technology Leader Award for Best Project. She’s an annual sponsor for the Keymorada Tournament for Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, among other organizations.

Cockrum is optimistic about women’s future in real estate. “There’s potential for women to become more involved in the field, to add new perspectives, which would, in turn, spur novel and creative ideas and solutions.”

Ingrid Fulmer

Executive Vice President, Office Leasing
Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT
Boca Raton, FL

Ingrid Fulmer began as a secretary in the leasing division of Arvida Corp. at age 20; four years later she was running the division. Over a 30-year career in commercial office leasing, tenant representation and investment sales, she has represented both landlords and tenants in over 17 million square feet of property negotiations.

At Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT, which she joined in 1999, Fulmer exclusively represents 13 commercial office buildings in the Boca Raton/Delray Beach, FL marketplace on the landlord representation side. The South Florida office market remains challenging, Fulmer believes, as evinced by the majority of recent transactions, “comprised of renewals or lateral moves. Some landlords have had to reposition their assets at a lower cost basis, renew leases early and reduce lease rates” to keep existing tenants or attract new ones. She predicts that recovery “will continue to be slow over the next three to four years.”

Holly Greer

SVP and Group General Counsel
CNL Financial Group

Holly Greer ranks as one of the most senior level women within CNL. Currently, she serves as SVP and general counsel of four non-traded REITs—a role she’s filled for the past 11 years. Since June 2011, Greer has led the closing on all acquisitions for CNL Financial Group’s four REITs, totaling almost $1 billion in assets. This year, Greer and her team were awarded one of CNL’s top honors, a Cupola Award, for their combined efforts on key acquisitions. Providing pro-bono work for Orange County Legal Aid is how she gives back. “My goal is to be a balanced and proactive leader,” she says, adding that more women in the field allows for them “to be role models and open doors for generations to come.”

Danet Linares

Executive Vice President
Blanca Commercial Real Estate

Danet Linares has achieved the most productive year of her career thus far amid a still-challenging South Florida office market. In charge of leasing a portfolio of nearly 1.7 million square feet, she completed over 48 lease transactions in the past year alone, totaling roughly 591,000 square feet. On her watch, Miami’s 1450 Brickell office tower achieved 91% occupancy in just 24 months since opening, with half the tenants new additions to the South Florida market.

“Occupancy rates are rising in well-managed, well located class A office buildings,” says Linares. “We’re seeing positive absorption return following 2009’s historic loss of one million square feet of overall absorption. In fact, the Miami market has seen net-positive leasing activity every quarter since 2010. All signs indicate this stabilization will continue into 2013 as employment numbers strengthen, available product remains steady and demand rises for US investments among foreign businesses.”

For profiles on each of these Women of Influence, go to the July/August issue of Real Estate Forum.