Member Spotlights: Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month
We are highlighting the careers and contributions of Lily Ciammaichella, Stephanie Ting, and Joy Woo and celebrating their leadership.
May 26, 2023
Get to know some of the ULI San Francisco members who work hard behind the scenes to develop the events and initiatives for which our District Council is known. These industry leaders come from a variety of real estate land use sectors and lend their expertise and time to drive the work of our committees. We’ve asked these committee co-chairs to answer questions around their involvement with ULI San Francisco.
Nathaniel Hanson, Young Leaders Group Committee Co-Chair
Q. How did you first get involved with ULI and your committee?
I started on the staff at ULI SF in 2017, my first job in the Bay Area after moving to Oakland from Pittsburgh, PA with my wife. I was referred to ULI by Tom Murphy, the former Mayor of Pittsburgh, who is a Senior Resident Fellow with ULI in Washington D.C. I worked in city politics in Pittsburgh before making the shift to real estate. When I started working at Related in 2019, I joined the YLG Steering Committee as a member.
Q. What’s a memorable connection you’ve made through ULI?
I’ve made so many incredible and genuine connections with professionals at all levels in the industry through ULI. There are too many to list! But I am grateful to ULI for giving me a close network of both peers and senior leaders with whom I can talk about anything, from personal career advice to troubleshooting an issue on one of my projects to the chance to get a better understanding of the market outside of my niche in affordable housing development.
Q. What keeps you engaged with ULI SF and what are you most excited about in the near future?
Lately, I’ve been focused on giving back to the YLG community and building on our past success. Working closely with my fellow co-chairs and our YLG membership committee, we’ve been working hard to recruit the next generation of YLG leadership to our Steering Committee. ULI has been so critical in my career development that I want to ensure that the next generation of young professionals can take advantage of everything that ULI has to offer someone who is serious about building their real estate career.
Q. Who has been an instrumental person in your career?
My current boss, Ann Silverberg, Related California’s CEO of Northern California Affordable and Northwest Divisions, and Related California’s Chairman & CEO, Bill Witte, have both been incredible examples of leadership and business acumen for me as I’ve grown into my real estate career. I’ve learned countless lessons about business and political strategy, management, and real estate development from watching them work. I consider myself extremely lucky to have the opportunity to learn from both of them at this stage of my career.
Q. What’s your leadership philosophy/style?
I prioritize trust, consistency, empathy, mutual benefit, and directness in all of my relationships. Keeping a sense of humor helps, too. Having a 3.5-year-old son at home has certainly helped me grow as a leader. If you can understand a human on a toddler’s emotional level, it helps open your awareness with adults as well. The leaders that I try to model myself after have a keen judgment about people – who they are, what they want, and the areas in which there are overlapping goals between parties. Ultimately, your word and reputation are your greatest asset, so everything that I do I try to do in a way that reinforces building genuine, mutually beneficial relationships. I’ve been reading/listening to a lot of Sam Zell interviews since his passing and agree with his line that reputation is your most important asset. As Zell puts it, “everything you do, everything you say, is a part of the permanent record. Your name reflects your character.”
Q. What’s front of mind for you right now?
The continued need for affordable and workforce housing in California and the role of our industry to ensure that we have the tools necessary to meet this need. We’ve made incredible progress at the state level with entitlement streamlining, but still have a lot of ground to cover, from ensuring that there are adequate and efficient financing programs at the state and local levels to making sure that entitlement tools like SB35 are made permanent (and eventually expanded). Housing will continue to be a defining social and political issue in our lifetime, and we need to support and encourage candidates and elected officials who have a true commitment to lead in this space.
Q. Outside of work and ULI, what do you enjoy doing?
I’ve been training seriously in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) for the past two years. When you are sparing in Jiu Jitsu, you can’t think about anything other than the immediate moment – you have another person trying to submit you with their full strength. If your mind wanders, you become afraid, or if you hesitate, it’s over. It clears and focuses the mind like nothing else I’ve found. Both practices are excellent reminders that each time that you win is supported by the countless times you might have failed in the past. It’s the grit, determination, and focus to keep at it, try again, and strive to be better that makes winning possible.
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