Gessin-Stern of Chatham Dev. Co. discusses her career

May 28, 2013 - Spotlights

Kyla Gessin-Stern, Chatham Dev.
Company

Name: Kyla Gessin-Stern
Title: Vice President
Company/Firm: Chatham Development Company
Years with company/firm: 8
Years in field: 8
Years in real estate industry: 8
Telephone: 516-869-3610
Email: kyla@chathamdevco.com
URL: www.chathamdevco.com
Real Estate Associations/Affiliations: AREW, U.S. Green Building Council/LEED
How do you and/or your firm use social media?
I use LinkedIn to interact with my professional network and for recruiting purposes. We will likely integrate a more robust social media program in our next development depending on target demographic and location.
What is your biggest leadership challenge, other than the "glass ceiling"?
As a developer, going through the down cycle we were very focused on asset management and being defensive of our portfolio. The biggest challenge I face today is shifting gears and getting focused back on acquisitions, but I look forward to the challenge.
What is the most daring thing you've done for your career? How did it turn out for you?
Joining the family business. It's been eight years and I do not regret my decision. This is due in large part to our terrific team, the amount I am able to learn and grow and the discretion and independence I am given that I might not otherwise be afforded in a larger firm.
Which project, deal or transaction was the "game changer" in the advancement of your career?
In 2007 and 2008 we built Chatham44, a 58-unit condominium located at the corner of West 44th Street and Tenth Avenue in Manhattan. I located the property, formerly a parking lot, and worked on many aspects of the development including the building finishes, sales and marketing campaign and the offering plan. We were ahead of our time with this project and the area continues to grow with new developments.
What do you consider to be the most successful way to increase referrals?
For me referrals are development opportunities and I still believe the best way to increase business is to stay active in the market. By talking to sales and leasing brokers, attorneys, bankers and developers you can collect critical data points in what remains a fairly opaque marketplace.
What is the BEST advice you have ever received?
Measure twice, cut once. This applies beyond construction and I pride myself on doing the right job from the beginning. Unfortunately, the right way is usually the hardest way but in the end it is worth it.
What is your favorite tip for balanced living?
Make the most of every moment. The stars will not always perfectly align so take the wins as they come both professionally and personally. Additionally, exercise and healthy diet have contributed to my overall wellbeing.
Where would you like to be in 10 years?
In 10 years I hope to be up to my knees in new deals that use the latest technology and construction methods to benefit both the environment and quality of the final product. We have built our reputation on vision and excellence and I work every day to continue this tradition.

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