Q&A With CREW Atlanta Past President Ann Cone

As a way to get to know the CREW Atlanta leadership better, we will be interviewing the board members on their thoughts on CREW Atlanta, the commercial real estate industry, workplace issues and life in general. This month, we caught up with CREW Atlanta Past President and Senior Vice President, Debt and Structured Finance at CBRE Capital Markets Ann Cone.

Q. What attracted you to working in commercial real estate? 

While growing up, I worked with my father rehabbing old historic homes in Savannah. I loved the transformation of each property and could see the value of the property improve along with the value of the investment for my family. I own commercial real estate now, and I am teaching my kids the value of it and why people look to diversify into commercial real estate as an investment. 

Q. What kind of work do you do?

I specialize in government insured loans for apartments, which are usually countercyclical. When the economy isn’t doing very well and financing and money get tight, I have available funds to lend. I love working in different cities and areas to see the vibrancy of what is happening in those markets and using that information to inform my clients about trends in multifamily and mixed-use developments.

Q. What do you like about working at CBRE? 

As the world’s largest real estate services firm, CBRE continues to amaze me with the depth of its services, research and insight. We are a global firm of specialists, and I really enjoy working with such a talented and diverse group. It’s a continual education for me.

Q. What is your biggest challenge?

Being patient. I don’t want to wait for anything, and I frequently need to sit back and take a deep breath to focus.

Q. What is the most important thing you’re working on right now? 

Right now with the Coronavirus, the implications on the entire CRE industry are enormous. I am working with my clients on their existing properties and loans to make it through this time. It feels similar to 2008 except this situation could change back very quickly, so it’s important to try to understand the depth of the issues and how to resolve them. One of my favorite quotes is “we don’t grow when things are easy, we grow when we face challenges” and I try to remind myself of that often!

Q. What makes a successful leader to you?

In my opinion a successful leader listens to those around them for varying perspectives before making a decision. By surrounding yourself with smart people with diverse perspectives, it not only encourages and inspires you to be better, but also those around you.

Q. What is your favorite travel destination or place you hope to visit?

Travelling is my go-to for fun, so there’s always a list of places that I want to explore. I’ve been to Argentina and Chile recently and hope to do more traveling in South America soon.

Q: What has CREW done for you?

CREW has done so much for me in so many ways! Originally, it provided me with a networking source to meet people when I made a pivotal career change development into lending in 2006. From there, I joined numerous committees and could see the level of impact that CREW has in the industry. As a co-chair of the Network  committee, I gained a deeper understanding of the work we do. That spring boarded me into leadership training through CREW’s Leadership Class and serving on the board of directors. Serving on the board enabled me to apply for the position of CREW president, which is a three-year commitment as president elect, president and past president, all serving on the executive committee.

Throughout my involvement, I have seen how many people love this organization and dedicate countless hours for each endeavor to succeed. It is a wonderful group of individuals who dedicate themselves to the greater good of promoting women in commercial real estate. 

Additionally, I have seen the impact of CREW on future generations of women in commercial real estate by serving on committees at the local level with UCREW and at the network level on the scholarship committee to identify the incredibly talented young adults who are searching out careers. This wasn’t the case when I graduated college so to see the focus on advancing women in the CRE fields and to know that I have played a small part enriches me beyond belief.

Q. What is your best advice for women in commercial real estate?

Network, network and network some more. You never know who you will meet and what impact they will have on your life. Joining CREW Atlanta has made me aware of so many opportunities in my industry and personally. The dynamic relationships that CREW has afforded me have been priceless.

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Author: Cristina Anderson

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