NextGen 10: Real Estate & Finance [2019]

NextGen 10: Real Estate & Finance [2019]

Meet this year’s class of NextGens in real estate and finance

AMINA BELOUIZDAD [36] – LA
CCO
THE PRIVATE SUITE

About: Powerhouse who’s fluent in five languages and CCO of the newly built private luxury terminal at LAX.
Residence: Los Angeles
Company HQ: Los Angeles
Education: BA, commerce, McGill University; MBA,
Wharton School of Business.
Industry: Hospitality
Awards: Recipient of Richard Frost Award (2012) for intellect, integrity, and contribution to Real Estate Program at Wharton.
Notable Projects: Developing hotels in China. It’s not for the faint of heart.
Advice: Life is far too important to be taken seriously.
Success: Ultimately, it’s a feeling. It is happiness, fulfillment, and peace of mind. It’s difficult to qualify or quantify. It can be fleeting. Though when you’re there, you just know it.
Mentors: Too many to count— both official and unofficial. I’m grateful for all the people who root for me.
Local Companies Admired: There are so many! A few that stand out are Reformation for their tireless commitment to sustainability and Netflix for turning an industry upside down.
First Job: Financial analyst (and employee No. 1!) at Super 8 Hotels Fund in Beijing, China. It is now one of the largest hotel chains in the world, and the founder (my first boss) remains a friend and mentor to this day. An unforgettable and very formative experience.
Guilty pleasure: Net-a-Porter
In the Morning: Every  morning, I walk my dogs to Intelligentsia Coffee in Venice (in pajamas and a baseball cap) to order a double macchiato and read the news. I try to be the first one there at 6 a.m. It’s meditative.
Before Bed: I’ll squeeze in a chapter or so of one of the few books I’m usually juggling. I find it hard to commit to just one.
What keeps you up: Usually an excitement for the day ahead. I’ve learned—the hard way—that few things in life are worth losing sleep about
Year ahead: Professionally, to add another airport terminal to our pipeline and continue to grow and define this new category we are creating. Personally, to get certified in grief counseling, so as to have the frameworks to leverage my experience in a way that is helpful to others.


SHAY BOLTON [29] – LA
MANAGING DIRECTOR, SAVILLS
SAVILLS

About: Savills helps organizations find the right solutions that ensure employee success. With services in tenant representation, workforce and incentives strategy, workplace strategy and occupant experience, project management, and capital markets, Savills has elevated the potential of workplaces around the corner, and around the world, for 160 years and counting. Shay has represented tenants across a variety of industry sectors, including technology, media, and professional services. She develops occupancy solutions that drive productivity and profitability and works with many women-led start-ups.
Residence: Los Angeles
Company HQ: New York
Education: BS, communications and pre-law, Arizona State University
Industry: Commercial real estate
Awards: Executive Leadership Team – The XX Project
Notable Projects: Leading Savills West Coast diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Advice: Go where you’re celebrated, not where you’re tolerated. Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.
Success: When you can afford to shop at Whole Foods.
Mentors: Pete and Shellye Bolton (aka mom and dad)
Local Companies Admired: Soul Pancake, Tala, theBoardlist, The XX Project, The Riveter, The Giving Keys
First Job: Working in the mail room at CBRE
Guilty pleasure: Eating a donut after teaching a spin class
In the Morning: Hot water with lemon and emails
Before Bed: Putting my computer on the floor after I fall asleep on it.
What keeps you up: The answer to this question used to be everything; my mind would race until 2 a.m. But I’ve learned to shut down and conquer life in the morning. Plus I’m no good to anyone if I’m tired.
Year ahead: To continue to promote and empower women in all industries.


BRIAN DE LOWE [39] – LA
PRESIDENT AND CO-FOUNDER,
PROPER HOSPITALITY AND THE KOR GROUP

About: A pioneer in travel trends and an innovator with a vision in eccentric and vibrant luxury hotels.
Residence: Santa Monica
Company HQ: Santa Monica
Education: BS, University of Southern California; MBA, Marshall School of Business.
Industry: Hospitality
Awards: In 2017, Villon at San Francisco Proper Hotel was given an Eater Award for “Restaurant of the Year.” In 2018, Condé Nast Traveler awarded San Francisco Proper Hotel a Reader’s Choice Award for “Top Hotels in San Francisco.” Condé Nast Traveller (UK) also included San Francisco Proper Hotel on its “Hot List 2018.” The Proper brand was awarded a Gold Key Award in 2018 from Boutique Design for “Best Emerging Brand.”
Notable Projects: Launching Proper Hospitality has definitely been a highlight of my career. Following the success of San Francisco Proper Hotel, we’re launching three new luxury­lifestyle hotels throughout 2019. We just opened Santa Monica Proper Hotel in June, and will debut the Downtown L.A. Proper Hotel and the Austin Proper Hotel & Residences in the fall.
Advice: Time is the most valuable currency so spend it wisely.
Success: When I am happy, fulfilled, surrounded with people I love, and working on something that I am passionate about. This isn’t always the case, and I’m often checking in and reflecting to make sure I’m on the right path.
Mentors: No single person, but I try to learn a little something from everyone I spend time with.
Local Companies Admired: Erewhon—they have a strong purpose, great product, and impressive growth.
First Job: Hotel valet
Guilty pleasure: Red wine and chocolate chip cookies.
In the Morning: Morning cuddles with my incredible daughter, Amelie, who just turned 2
Before Bed: Quiet hang time with my gorgeous wife, Jessie.
What keeps you up: Right now, all the thousands of little details we need to get right with respect to the recent opening of our Santa Monica Proper Hotel.
Year ahead: Once Santa Monica Proper Hotel, Down town L.A. Proper Hotel, and Austin Proper Hotel & Residences launch success fully, I’ll be ready for a long vacation.


WILL GREWAL [32] – LA
CEO AND CO-FOUNDER,
HOMESTACK

About: HomeStack is a real estate platform that provides apps, analytics, and website services to clients, with 6,000 mobile applications already built that empower millions of users.
Residence: Santa Monica
Company HQ: Los Angeles
Education: BA, business administration, Arizona State University.
Industry: Real estate
Awards: Sigma Chi fraternity— raised more than $3M for Huntsman Cancer Institute since 2005.
Notable Projects: Successfully bootstrapping HomeStack, a PropTech mobile­first company, and developing over 5,000 native iOS and Android apps in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
Advice: Learn to sell. Learn to build. If you can do both, you will be unstoppable.—Naval Ravikant.
Success: It’s an internal feeling that constantly evolves, and I think it happens when your priorities match real­life outcomes. Right now, my priorities are HomeStack, fitness, deepening personal and professional relationships, and volunteering. You are constantly tracking each with goals and will feel successful each time a milestone is hit.
Mentors: Dana Potter, personal and professional development, along with my co­founder, Matt. Bill Dallas, who taught me the importance of “team, strategy, execute.”
Local Companies Admired: From a macro level, I admire WeWork, Slack, GitHub, and Zoom to name a few. These companies all pioneered the future of communication and collaboration anytime/ anywhere. From a micro level, I admire Side, a real estate technology brokerage enabling real estate agents and teams with a turnkey suite of systems enabling agents to just focus on prospecting, sales, and client services.
First Job: Entrepreneurship has been ingrained into me from a young age, but the first “real job” was working at Blockbuster. Going to Blockbuster was always a highlight of my childhood. The excitement of the unknown if a VHS, DVD, or video game was in stock always fascinated me. When I was a teenager I applied, was offered a job, and had a blast developing customer­facing skills ope rating within a cool work culture.
Guilty pleasure: Gambling. People often hear the word “risk” and associate it with a negative connotation, but I do not. I love playing various card games and high­stakes fantasy sports.
In the Morning: Saying the words “OK Google, turn on my good morning playlist,” followed by a breakfast shake I coined as the “25B Shake.” The shake has 25 supplements containing over 25 billion probiotics.
Before Bed: Usually a workout coupled with a form of heatstress exposure. I’ll spend 20 minutes in a steam room or a sauna and quickly follow it up with a cold shower. The health benefits from heat stress are insane, and I have noticed it really promotes mental clarity to end the day.
What keeps you up: Twitter. I am addicted to data and Twitter has simplified the way people digest information. Over time, books have turned into blog posts and now blogs have turned into tweets. I love reading and Twitter has become my real­ time, personally curated news source.
Year ahead: The first is HomeStack’s “Twenty/2020 Vision.” It is the rollout of our enterprise tech platform in 20 targeted markets by the year 2020. A second goal is to do at least five different types of exercise every week. Exercise can vary from weight training at the gym to volley ball on the beach, or even a class at Barry’s Bootcamp.


MIKE LEACH [31] – LA
VP, DEVELOPMENT AND MARKETING,
WEST RIVER HOTELS

About: Specializes in branded content and applies that creativity to the real estate industry.
Residence: Los Angeles
Company HQ: Los Angeles
Education: BA, screenwriting, Loyola Marymount University; MFA, film and television
Industry: Real estate
Awards: See below
Notable Projects: Hotel Paseo, which is part of the Marriott Autograph Collection, in Palm Desert, CA—it received a AAA Four Diamond award, named among the “10 Best New Hotels in America” by USA Today, and named one of the “7 of the World’s Most Majestic Hotels in the Desert” by Architectural Digest.
Advice: “Small ideas are easy. Embrace big ideas. They’re the ones people will remember.” Also, “You don’t have to be an asshole to be successful in this business.”—Robert Leach.
Success: When I overhear a guest at one of our hotels say, “Wow.” That “wow” took years and years behind the scenes—clawing, battling through thousands of nos, refusing to quit—to take an idea and turn it into something amazing.
Mentors: My dad and business partner Robert Leach for teaching me everything I know about real estate; my brother Tom Leach for changing the entertainment industry; my college entrepreneurship professor Grampa Fred Kiesner for making me think like an entrepreneur; and my mom Linda Leach for showing me how be a good person.
Local Companies Admired: Media RED; The Stephanie Younger Group; Helkey Media.
First Job: 1996 (8 years old), my brother Tom (11 years old) and I took a loan from my parents to buy Beanie Babies wholesale and sell them to neighbors, relatives, and classmates. We made a healthy profit.
Guilty pleasure: Bad reality television
In the Morning: Kiss my wife good morning.
Before bed: Kiss my wife good night

What keeps you up: Government incompetence; obstinate neighbors (NIMBYs)
Year ahead: Break ground on our first waterfront hotel in the Bay Area; secure financing and complete entitlements for a second waterfront luxury hotel project in the Bay Area.


DONAHUE PEEBLES III [25] – NY
SENIOR ASSOCIATE OF DEVELOPMENT, WASHINGTON, DC, METRO AREA,
THE PEEBLES CORPORATION

About: As the son of our Visionary of the Year, Donahue Peebles II, this entrepreneur and DC development executive from The Peebles Corporation has real estate in his blood and is spearheading the company’s affordable housing project.
Residence: Washington, DC Company HQ: New York
Company HQ: New York
Education: BA, economics, Columbia University
Industry: Real estate
Awards: Legacy Community Development Award
Notable Projects: Affordable housing units, youngest recipient of low ­income housing tax credits.
Advice: 
“Respect is opportunity in disguise.” – Don Peebles. “Conscience does make cowards of us all,/ And thus the native hue of resolution/Is sickled o’er with pale cast of thought.”— Hamlet, Shakespeare.
Success: It’s challenging to look at success as a binary. Success is more manifested in habits and practices, in the ability to constantly sharpen yourself and respond to changing circumstances. Success is much more of a behavior, much more of a practice, like breathing or going for a run. You are practicing success much more than a quality or a virtue. One can also practice success in different contexts, sometimes in career, sometimes in relationship or family, but to look at success as a binary, questions arise like success for what, for when, and for how long?
Mentors: Don Peebles; every body in my life actually is a somewhat of a mentor, a lot of people that I spent time with are inspirational that I try to model myself after, including my friends, my colleagues, my counter parties, or authors that I read. I try to use all that information to grow and learn from.
Local Companies Admired: I really look up to Donohoe Company (fifth­generation family business, vertically integrated real estate firm, general contract, developer, operator); they complete projects with a ton of integrity and are great, capable partner. What makes a great company, besides profit, is value, integrity, effort, and ethics in the long term.
First Job: Working as a receptionist after school at The Peebles Corporation in sixth or seventh grade. No matter what you’re doing, do it with passion and details; even if you are a receptionist, you have to be the best receptionist that you can be. You do it to the best of your abilities, and you do it like it’s the most important thing.
Guilty pleasure: Every now and then, bi­weekly, on the weekend, I will just decide to go to another country. I do these weekend trips where I leave Friday after work and come back Sunday night, and I’ve gone crazy places, like Iceland, Morocco, London, Paris (Morocco is my favorite by far). Every country that I go to, I play a lot of basketball there. I have a lot of international friends and meet tons of locals, and I just go out there, meet people, and have a good time.
In the Morning: Get up, brush teeth, rub some water on my face, and go to the gym.
Before Bed: I read something that’s not work related. I’m reading a lot of Tolstoy. I’m currently reading War and Peace. I like the narrative.
What keeps you up: I’m either at dinner too late or I’m reading.
Year ahead: I’d like to see some of my projects break ground in this calendar year. Personal goals include some books I want to get through, and a couple of fitness goals, like running a competitive 10K in a certain amount of time


CHRISTINE PITTS [34] – LA
GENERAL PARTNER AND CEO,
BACKSTAGE CAPITAL

About: Backstage Capital believes in and invests in companies led by women, people of color, and LGBTQ founders.
Residence: Oakland, CA
Company HQ: Los Angeles
Education: BA, business, marketing, and humanities, San Jose State University; MBA, University of Phoenix.
Industry: Venture capital, private equity.
Advice: Go to bed. Every problem that I face, whether personal or professional, is easier to address after I’ve had a good night’s sleep.
Success: Success is not a milestone. It’s not like a race where there’s a clear finish line. It’s important for me to do impactful work that I care about. I choose this every day. I also believe that effort drives results, so putting the work in every day is what leads to long­term fulfillment.
Mentors: My mother and father, my business partner Arlan Hamilton, and my coach Amy Logan.
Local Companies Admired: The Riveter
First Job: Cleaning the dining room and the bathroom at In­N­Out Burger.
Guilty pleasure: Staying home and binging shows on Netflix.
In the Morning: Breakfast
Before Bed: A hot cup of tea
What keeps you up: Worrying about people in my life that I care about or situations where I have little control.
Year ahead: Continue to invest in underrepresented founders and help our existing portfolio reach new heights.


RYAN SIMONETTI [38] – NY
CEO AND CO-FOUNDER,
CONVENE

About: Co-founder and CEO of Convene, which is a network of premium places to work, meet, and host inspiring events. We currently have 25 locations open across six markets in the U.S. and are opening in London next year.
Residence: New York
Company HQ: New York
Education: BBA, finance and economics, Villanova University.
Industry: Hospitality
Awards: Real Estate Forum’s “50 Under 40”; Inc. magazine’s “30 Under 30”; “Top Entrepreneur” by Crain’s New York Business; and finalist in EY’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” New York.
Notable Projects: Growing Convene from a two-person to 650­-person company. I’m so proud to see that we elevate people from within by developing their skill sets and giving them a place to explore their passions. We have employees who started with us as part-­time operations employees who are now in management positions.
Advice: Before Chris Kelly and I founded Convene, we had lunch with Ken Aretsky to ask his advice about the hospitality world. He told us three words: “Hello, coffee, goodbye.” It’s all about those touch points. He also told us that the most important person is the doorman, because he or she sets the tone for the hello and goodbye. We never forgot that and found ways to integrate that into Convene.
Success: It’s about reaching your full potential. That happens over time.
Mentors: My dad. The general counsel at Gramercy Capital, especially Michael Kavourias. Scott Rechler. Frits Van Paasschen, the former CEO of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, has also been friend and strategic partner to me. Janette, my executive coach. I wouldn’t be where I am without her. My family.
Local Companies Admired: I’ve always admired Danny Meyer, because my favorite restaurant is Gramercy Tavern. One of his first books was Setting the Table, and the culture and type of hospitality that he wanted to deliver was so authentic, genuine, and human-­to-­human.
First Job: I had my first job when I was nine years old. My dad bought a Martin’s potato roll route—it was the first business he owned and he  still owns it to this day. I worked on the back of the truck delivering bread to stores and restaurants. I learned so much about hospitality and sales on that route from such a young age.
Guilty pleasure: Getting Carvel ice cream with my son.
In the Morning: I check my phone, walk my dog, have a coffee, and then go to the gym.
Before bed: I meditate or read. And sometimes, if I’m putting my son to bed, I just fall asleep with him.

What keeps you up: I ask myself, “What’s next?” I spend more time thinking about the future than the present, and I’m always trying to anticipate what the future will bring. The challenge for us is how to scale talent and culture as an infrastructure.
Year ahead: 1. Do a better job of being present and spending quality time with my kids and my wife. 2. Accomplish all of the big things that Convene set out to do this year.


PROPHET WALKER [32] – LA
CEO AND CO-FOUNDER,
TREEHOUSE CO-LIVING

About: The company strives to create community within its buildings and offers affordable, fully furnished communal living spaces with private bedrooms and bathrooms.
Residence: Los Angeles
Company HQ: Los Angeles
Education: BA, civil engineering, Loyola Marymount University.
Industry: Real estate
Awards: At the age of 16 I was sentenced to six years in prison. While I was incarcerated, I worked with a group of people to co-create and stabilize a college program inside. This resulted in a massive achievement for me, being among the first graduates to receive an associate degree. This also laid the foundation for me to attend Loyola Marymount’s undergraduate school of engineering. Lastly, an honor that remains unreal to me is being invited, by first lady Michelle Obama, to the State of the Union address as one of her 20 guests in the entire US. I was recognized for the work connected to justice reform.
Notable Projects: The Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles; a six­story underground robotic parking structure; an award­winning UCLA medical facility; and the buildout of Locol Watts by a construction company I co­owned. I have also worked on a college program for people incarcerated, built summer camps in Watts, and helped, in a very small way, to better community and police relations in Los Angeles. This all leads to me running for the California State Assembly, and after coming in second place, I went on to start Treehouse with Brent Gaisford and Joe Green.
Advice: The best advice I ever received was when my grandfather told me, “It’ll be all right or not.”
Success: Success in the traditional sense is not particularly important for me. I want to work hard at everything I do and hopefully impact people positively along the journey.
Mentors: In general, I find every interaction as an opportunity to learn or explore new territory within myself or the world. So, by effect, mankind is my mentor.
Local Companies Admired: Frank Gehry for his incredible attention to detail and ability to play with geometric shapes in ways architecture has never experienced. I also admire Backstage Capital, which invests in startup founders who identify as a woman, person of color, and/or LGBTQ. I also deeply admire Olympia Auset, who opened an affordable organic grocery service and pop­up shop, called SÜPRMARKT. Finally, I love what the women who run Quilt are doing. They are bringing community into many women’s homes in Los Angeles. It’s empowering, thoughtful, and timely.
First Job: A Hollister store model, after being incarcerated from the ages of 16 to 21. I quit shortly after because of the guilt I felt for lying on my job application about being incarcerated.
Guilty pleasure: I love sneakers. I tend not to be concerned with what I wear or seek fashion as a device to say something about who  . Sneakers are the only part of what I wear on a day­ today basis that I feel translate something about myself or even my mood that morning.
In the Morning: I give myself 30 minutes to think about how I can best contribute to our collective efforts at Treehouse. I then do some light reading on memory enhancement, co-living, hip­-hop culture, market trends, and I am a silent political junkie so I read all I can about hyper­local politics and national.
Before bed: If it’s been a tough day, I watch stand­up comedy before bed.

What keeps you up: Thinking about whether we are doing everything possible to create a community where people will feel safe, connected, and inspired.
Year ahead: To support my daughter having an incredible first year of high school. In relation to Treehouse, my goal is to create a community deeply tapped into and motivated by kindness.


JAMES KLEEMAN [36] – NY
DIRECTOR,
EMERGE212

About: Emerge212 elevates the office experience with seamless, personalized design solutions and customizable lease options.
Residence: New Jersey
Company HQ: New York, NY
Education: BS, marketing management, Pace University, Lubin School of Business; MS, real estate, New York University
Industry: Real estate
Advice: Have the courage to live a life true to yourself, not the life others expect of you.
Success: It is never a goal or destination. When you are putting your talents to work, staying humble and eager to learn, and not compromising your value system, you are successful. It can be a constant state of being.
Mentors: I’ve not had the fortune of having a specific professional mentor, but I do credit one person for starting my career and giving me the tools and confidence to carry on. I interned for Marcia Lee Kelly when I was 20 years old. She believed in me and gave me amazing opportunities and tremendous responsibility at the time. She taught me everything she knew and then gave me a full­time job before my junior year of college. Working full time in NYC at 20 years old, meeting incredible people, and working on the best projects, all while finishing school full time at night was all quite the experience. It had a profound effect on me and who I set out to be in New York City.
Local Companies Admired: There are so many, but they all have one thing in common: The entrepreneurs who start them aren’t just looking to disrupt a market and chase the money. The essence of who they are and what they believe is what gives birth to their brands. I’m a big believer in the “who” behind the “what” that makes or breaks a company.
First Job: Marketing coordinator for the Time Warner Center project with the Related Companies.
Guilty pleasure: Zillow, Trulia, and StreetEasy. I spend way too much time on those apps just poking around other people’s houses.
In the Morning: News and emails.
Before bed: Podcasts

What keeps you up: Nothing. I’ve learned to think of my brain like a chest of 100 drawers. At night, I tuck them all in and it’s time to recharge
Year ahead: Meditation