Q: You took over the leasing of 1450 Brickell at a time when there were two other major projects and many considered yours the underdog. Yet, you have almost completely leased 1450 Brickell and the other two buildings both have significant vacant space. How did you manage to move so much faster than your competitors?
In this business — in any business — if you sit back and let the market dictate your message, you’re as good as dead. So with 1450 Brickell, we drove the conversation in the marketplace. We created a marketing campaign that touted our key assets.Today 1450 Brickell is 95 percent leased and the building has helped bring the surrounding area to life with restaurants, retail, nightlife, and residents.
Q: In your previous job at Cushman & Wakefield you focused more on management and got away from brokering. Which do you like more and why?
When I joined Cushman & Wakefield as head of South Florida, it was exciting to build a team and grow a business. But I missed the day-to-day engagement with the client. I used to get so involved with the brokers’ strategy development for clients, to the point where someone finally said to me “Tere, you can’t get the broker out of you.” That’s when I knew it was time to get back to what I loved doing.
Q: There is still a lot of vacant office space in Miami. Where do you think we’re at in the cycle?
We’ve seen positive absorption in the office sector in the past 24 months. Class B has the most vacancy, but we are now seeing stronger demand for this product. Our market is global, and we’re seeing more international investment and activity in Miami than at any other time in our City’s young history. I continue to be very bullish on Miami’s economic future. We’ve evolved from a Latin American gateway to a global destination. That raises all ships.
Q: How difficult was it building a reputation in an industry that for years had been dominated by men? Tell us about the challenges you faced.
Looking back, I was often the only woman in meetings. I’ve always had a straightforward approach to the business, and with clients. I think that helped. Gender was never an issue for me – I never let it become an issue.
Q: What do you do to encourage other women in real estate?
I enjoy mentoring and teaching. Women in particular I have found shy away from brokerage – they think it’s too risky, with no job security. I tell them about the freedom gained by being your own boss, the rewards of building relationships and trust with clients and working with a team to build a business.
Q: During your tenure as chairman of the Beacon Council you led an unsuccessful push for changes in the organization’s leadership. What was your goal?
. My intention was never to push out the management at the time. It was about bringing best private sector practices to a nonprofit organization. The CEO’s compensation and contract was negotiated to align with updated performance metrics and the current economy, and also encourage the Executive Committee to ensure that the organization had the right talent in place. It was the right decision and I would advise any organization the same way.
Q: When you are talking to companies considering relocating to Miami, what do you find is the biggest reason that companies decide not to come here?
If it is a domestic relocation, at times our public schools have been brought up in the discussion. We now have great public school options. We are fortunate to have Superintendent Carvalho leading in the transformation of our schools and partnering with top national organizations such as City Year.
Q: Tell us something that most people who know you professionally would be surprised to know?
I am from Cuba, and have lived in Venezuela and Puerto Rico. So Latin music is in my blood. I love to listen and dance to it...