• Nicoletta M. Pagnotta, Meridian Capital Group

Knowledge and confidence are an unstoppable combination

What was your greatest professional accomplishment in 2015?

My greatest professional accomplishment was closing $90.3 million in financing for a five building, 1,500-unit rental portfolio located in Flushing, NY. Not only did I obtain an unbelievable rate of 3.43% for this 10-year loan, but I also negotiated a reduction in the prepayment penalty for the existing financing, resulting in significant savings for the borrower. Interestingly, the overall loan-to-value on the property was 50% which made the credit that much more attractive to lenders.

What was your most notable project, deal or transaction in 2015?

I recently closed a large loan on one of the most iconic cooperative buildings on Central Park West. This 9.5-story landmark building is considered one of Manhattan’s most prestigious and exclusive cooperative buildings.

How do you contribute to your company and/or the industry?

I am responsible for managing a pipeline of more than 150 transactions per year, totaling over $843 million this year.

How do you manage the work/life balance?

It’s a constant work in progress. Making time for family and the occasional spin class allow me to recharge and come back to work refocused and re-energized.

What impact has social media/networking had on your business?

As a member of NY CREW, I have had the opportunity to meet and network with amazing professionals within the industry. The organization provides a great landscape to connect professionally with so many successful women in a supportive network.

What unique qualities and/or personality traits do you feel make you most successful?

I am incredibly dedicated to my deals and my clients and treat each one with the level of personal attention generally associated with a private banker. My clients know that they can reach me at any time or anywhere.

What challenges and/or obstacles do you feel you needed to overcome to become as successful as you are today?

Years ago, a friend of mine gave me an illustration that reads, “I make a list of everything I need to do so I can freak out in some kind of order.”

Truthfully, I am very organized and it gives me an advantage. I track the deals in my pipeline daily and can be working on as many as 80 active transactions at a time, so I need to be able to easily reference where each loan is, any issues that need to be managed, what is outstanding and the timing to closing. What was the most defining moment for you in your profession?

At different points in my career there have been varying defining moments as I constantly try to grow professionally. In 2014, I was recognized by the Commercial Observer as one of the 10 Top Women in Commercial Real Estate which is an accomplishment I was very proud of.

Do you feel being a woman is an advantage, disadvantage, or no advantage in today’s business world?

Why? Why not?

I do think that there is an advantage as female leaders have become a vocal point these days and this relevance creates a rising tide. Women continue to prove themselves as terrific leaders in the business world. There are more and more examples of women in leadership roles in a variety of industries, including real estate, validating that women are gaining more recognition and power within the business community.

Do you feel there are any differences in the way that men and women develop business relationships and if so, what activities or venues do you participate in?

I think that men and women do develop business relationships differently. Speaking for myself, I am fastidious when it comes to detail. Not to say don’t participate in big picture strategic thinking, but I am very detail-oriented and believe that to be an invaluable quality in this industry. Frankly, men and women communicate differently and often times the fact that I am a female makes it easier to communicate with my clients.

Tell us about your family. I have a wonderful husband who never fails to encourage and support me and who understands the demands that come with a career in New York real estate.

Who do you feel was most influential in your life when choosing this profession?

My father was extremely influential; he taught me about the importance of hard work at a young age. I began working and earned my first paycheck at the age of 13. Growing up, I also learned from him the value and impact of real estate. I knew that this type of role, where I can create solutions, and working at a firm like Meridian that rewards entrepreneurial thinking, would be a great fit and encourage me to reach my full potential.

What is the funniest, most unique situation you have faced/conquered during your business career?

The most unique situation I encountered during my business career occurred during Super Storm Sandy. I was working on a loan that had to close and fund during the storm; it was approaching rate lock expiration, maturity expiration, almost every deadline imaginable. Due to the fact that everything was shut down from the storm, I picked up papers from the assigning bank and walked them over the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan and delivered them to the title company. I actually did this twice because they forgot something in the first round. I am happy to say the loan closed on time as necessary so it was all worth it!

What activities do you enjoy during you free time?

Locally, I enjoy spinning and enjoying time and great food with family and friends. When time allows, I enjoy traveling abroad. Having the opportunity to visit and learn about other cultures is enriching, enlightening and opens your mind to so many other experiences.

What word of advice would you give to a woman about to go into your allied field?

Get connected and remain educated in your field. There are so many sources in the industry to meet professionals, network, provide information and further your education – take advantage of the many opportunities and sources available in our industry!


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