The chance to attend Wharton came at a turning point in my career. As a first-generation American and the first in my family to go to college, I had graduated from law school and made partner at the civil litigation firm where I started my career. But when I heard Wharton was opening a West Coast campus, I had been doing some soul-searching, having stepped down from the firm and spent some time abroad.
I had previously tabled the idea of going to business school, but the opportunity to get a Wharton education so close to home rekindled those thoughts. I joined the School’s first San Francisco class of Executive MBAs in 2001, knowing I would carve a new path in commercial real estate. When I graduated, not only had I gained critical industry-specific skills, but I also had the confidence and resources to build a network that would help me with my new start.
At Wharton, I learned about informational interviews and ended up doing more than 100 of them after graduating. I will be forever grateful to the people who answered my calls and have since become great mentors, connectors, and friends. It was ultimately a job offer from real estate investment bank Eastdil Secured that gave me my chance to break into the industry. My six years there were foundational for my next opportunity, with Artemis Real Estate Partners.
The Artemis team, including co-founder Deborah Harmon WG87, had been looking for a capital raiser for their new real estate private equity firm. After about 90 minutes speaking with Debbie, I was convinced I could do the job. I spent 18 months on the road with her and other team members, securing investments for Artemis’s inaugural fund, which closed with $436 million in 2012. Raising that fund — helping to establish the first women-owned real estate private equity firm — was one of the most difficult and meaningful things I have done in my career. The conviction I gained from my time in the courtroom, along with lessons on motivating myself and others that I picked up at Wharton, helped me persevere and try new sales strategies in the face of rejection during those early months.
In the years since, Artemis has raised $9 billion and has significantly expanded across investment strategies. Recently, I transitioned from a managing principal to a senior advisor, focusing primarily on the firm’s continuing relationships on the West Coast. As my role has evolved, it’s been rewarding to see some very talented folks on our team rise up and help lead Artemis into the future.
Published as “Fresh Start” in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of Wharton Magazine.