ULI San Francisco was excited to have Connie Moore as a guest at Boardroom After Dark on October 11, 2016. Ms. Moore has more than 40 years of experience in the real estate industry, and mostly recently served as the President and Chief Executive Officer for BRE until the completion of the merger with Essex Property Trust in 2014. Ms. Moore currently sits on the board of several public, private and non-profit companies, as well as multiple educational institutions.
Boardroom After Dark allows for ULI members to get to know influential real estate professionals in an informal setting over dinner. Several members had questions regarding Ms. Moore’s career path; why she chose certain roles and how they shaped her. At the start of her career, Ms. Moore said that she just wanted to “be a good worker”; she focused on doing her job to the best of her ability in the hopes that someone would notice her. She acknowledged that this was at a time when there were very few roles for women in real estate. She said she had to figure out how to cope in that environment; to respect differences while keeping her dignity.
One of Ms. Moore’s regrets early in her career was not asking for help and challenging those in higher positions; something she didn’t do because she was afraid people might think she didn’t know what she was doing and because she didn’t have a “big vision” for herself. The best advice she would have given her younger self was to “never rest on your laurels”, because there will always be new and different challenges ahead. She said she feels that it is our responsibility to be active in the industry and get exposure; you should put yourself out there, never lose your curiosity, and don’t be afraid to fail. As Ms. Moore got further into her career and into leadership roles, she loved helping people learn and get better at their jobs; she respected people’s skill set, recognizing that everyone brings something different to the table.
Attendees also had questions about effectively building and managing teams. Ms. Moore said that it’s all about developing trust and building relationships, something she experienced first-hand during the merger with Essex. A mistake she made early on was to assume that everyone would work as hard as she did; she gave people a lot of ‘rope’ and was often disappointed. Ultimately she learned that it’s very important to really listen and be authentic; to genuinely try to understand what motivates people. The culture she built at BRE was to honor each individuals’ “personal flag” as much as the “BRE flag”; to create an environment where people felt comfortable asking questions. She feels that people expect more authenticity today which requires a higher level of trust, and that constructive feedback – good or bad – is a critical part of building that trust. When asked if she feels that the expectations of employees today are accelerated, she agreed, but said it is still important to understand hierarchy, and to keep moving forward and growing. Her final piece of advice was that members be honest with themselves about what type of role they ultimately want; if you want to move up the corporate ladder and eventually become CEO, you need to remember that as CEO you won’t have any peers.
Ms. Moore said she loves real estate because it’s dynamic and tangible; there is always something happening. She advised members that the more you understand the “bricks and sticks” of real estate, the better you’ll be able to make decisions.
Authored by: Lisa Kabot, Bard Consulting