Women Leaders in Real Estate Offer Real-World Advice to UM Students

April 05, 2019

By Richard Westlund

Jessica Brady, a Miami Business School senior, enjoyed getting real-world advice about a career in real estate development at "Cocktails and Conversations with Women Leaders in Real Estate," a multidisciplinary reception on April 3 at the Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove.  “This reception was a fun way to meet South Florida professionals and get their views on where the real estate cycle might be going,” said Brady.

Another attendee, Emily Viera, BA ’14, wanted to get better acquainted with the commercial sector before starting her MBA program in May. “I’ve had some experience as an intern, and I’m here to learn more about taking the next step in real estate,” she said.

More than 100 women and men attended the third annual reception, hosted by the University of Miami School of Architecture, Miami Business School and Miami Law. 

"This reception is one of the many ways we create opportunities for our students to grow their professional networks, get career advice, and gain a real-world understanding of real estate," said Andrea Heuson, professor of finance. 

Vanessa Grout, BBA '01, president, CMC Real Estate, and an advisory board member for the UM Master of Real Estate Development and Urbanism (MRED+U) program, welcomed attendees to the "speed networking"  event, where groups of students moved from table to table for 20-minute conversations with different women professionals.  

“Our women in real estate event provides a great opportunity for interaction among our alumni, mentors, students and other professionals,” Grout said. “With 17 table hosts and well over 100 participants, this reception continues to grow.”

Kim Briesemeister, principal Redevelopment Management Associates, told students at her table to be open and reception to change, because it comes quickly in real estate. “As fast as you get your arms around a trend, the next one is  already on the way,” she said. “The real estate field has been like that for a long time.”

Beth Azor, president and CEO, Azor Advisory Services, emphasized the importance of “shadowing” real estate professionals to learn about their roles, and then applying for internships in order to build a solid resume.

Tere Blanca, president and CEO, Blanca Commercial Real Estate, advised students to find a mentor in real estate. “It’s important to have someone who can help you navigate this field and help you find an opportunity that matches your passion,” she said.

Other women professionals who hosted tabletop discussions at the reception were:

  • Sandra Cardrona, development and capital planning, Hersha Hospitality Trust
  • Alicia Cervera Lamadrid, managing partner, Cervera Real Estate
  • Carol Schoffell Faber, partner and co-chair, distressed property practice, Akerman
  • Lynn Fernandez, CEO, Attica Consulting Group
  • Jessica Goldman Srebnick, CEO and principal, Goldman Properties
  • Lynn Hackney, principal, Allyson Capital
  • Avra Jain, founder, The Vagabond Group
  • Arden Karson, senior managing director, CBRE
  • Kathy Moorman, corporate vice president of real estate, Baptist Health Enterprises
  • Melissa Rose, managing director, Ackerman-Ziff
  • Katie Sproul, CEO, Halstatt, Inc.
  • Jacqueline Gonzalez Touzet, founding principal, Touzet Studios
The reception was sponsored by Hersha Hotels and Resorts, the Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove and the Vagabond Group.
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