Founder and President
Progress Capital Advisors
Years with company/firm: 25
Years in field: 30
Years in real estate industry: 30
Real estate organizations/affiliations:
Board Member of Regal Bank, and
New Jersey Apartment Association
What was your greatest professional accomplishment in 2017?
In 2017, I was proud to tackle not only a professional first but also the largest deal of my career. Representing Dino & Sons Realty Corp, a long time valued client, I was tasked to negotiate the sale of the leasehold interest in their iconic building at 220 Fifth Avenue in NYC. After identifying and negotiating with three strong contenders over a 12-month period, a joint partnership between Stellar Management and Imperium Capital ultimately took ownership of the leasehold valued at over $250,000,000.
Who or what has been the strongest influence on your career?
There have been many influencers for me. Len Green was a wonderful mentor to me when I started my career and I will always be grateful to him for intuitively knowing that I could handle myself. Over the years, I have been grateful for so many of my smart and loyal clients who have helped me hone my skills side by side with them as they evaluated, constructed, renovated and purchased commercial real estate. One of my clients makes me smile every time he greets me with “there is no fear when Kathy is here.”
What impact has social media / networking had on your business?
While it may seem like it took a long time for social media to start impacting the CRE industry, I’m finding it to be a crucial part of my business every day. All social media platforms are proving great tools to network with existing clients and reach out to potential new customers. While Instagram lets us show the lighter side of Progress Capital, LinkedIn has been particularly useful professionally. I have been able to grow an industry network of over 5,000 connections. This affords me a direct line of communication with industry professionals, peers, influencers and clients – which is priceless. The ability to stay in front of our clients regularly, market our successes and new initiatives while also influencing industry discussion with my peers has changed the very core in which we operate.
Tell us how and when you began your career in the profession you are in, about your current position and why you chose the field/profession you are in today?
I never set out to be the owner of a commercial mortgage brokerage firm, but I have really enjoyed the journey. It almost feels like this profession chose me when certain doors opened and I decided to go through. I am an entrepreneur at heart and while it’s not always easy being the chief, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
What challenges and or obstacles do you feel you needed to overcome to become as successful as you are today?
Most of my business challenges have been market driven. We all know the commercial real estate lending rules are changing, but we are on it. Because we have long term relationships with our clients and lenders, we are immediately aware of how these changes impact all sides. This past year has been outstanding in helping clients borrow money to smartly leverage their assets. No one can be certain of what lies ahead, but it’s our job to stay current, informed and anticipate upcoming market conditions and trends.
What inspiring word of advice would you give to a young woman about to go into the field of commercial real estate or your allied field?
Say yes more and don’t be afraid to take chances. Go through the doors and don’t overthink it. n
Do you feel being a woman is an advantage disadvantage or no advantage in today’s business world? Why? Why not? I generally find being a woman in commercial real estate financing has its advantages, especially at conferences and networking events. I am always encouraged when I see women gaining more recognition in the industry. Honestly, I am just as comfortable sitting in a room filled with men or women. In the end, we all just want to work together quickly and efficiently and doing a good job continues to reign king, well, or queen.
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 find that the traditional idea of the ‘good ole boys network’ is nothing more than an industry stereotype at this point. Today, both men and women just want to get the job done. I don’t play golf or smoke cigars but I do like to celebrate with a nice dinner when we close – and no one is impartial to food. Maybe the only difference for me is choosing a nice chardonnay over a scotch or whiskey.
Tell us a little about your family.
I am so proud of the entire Progress Family and especially my son Brad who joined the firm four years ago and has been such a positive inspiration on me and everyone who works here. Brad brings his dog Jax to work every day and he has become our official mascot. My younger son Brian works for Balabit, a Hungarian security firm which allows him to travel overseas and the flexibility to work remotely which he sometimes does from my office. He lives in red-hot Asbury Park and just purchased his first condo. My husband, Ralph is a Partner in Prager Metis, a CPA firm in NYC.
What outside activities do you enjoy during you free time?
I live for a great sunny warm day. Time at the beach with my family on summer weekends is my favorite thing to do. I look forward to the years ahead as my son Brad and his wife Jenna begin to build a family together. I had the pleasure of spending time in Paris this year with my son Brian and we are already planning our next adventure.