Published On Oct 15, 2019
in Leadership & Development and PECO Culture
This month’s Woman Leader of PECO is Rene Feder, Senior Regional Property Manager. Rene joined Phillips Edison in 2013 as a Regional Property Manager and was promoted to Senior Regional Property Manager in 2014.
Rene is dedicated to professional excellence and passionate about making a difference in the community. An outstanding example of this is her work at Phillip Edison’s Antelope Marketplace shopping center in Antelope, California. Rene was instrumental in forming a Property Business Improvement District (“PBID”) in the Antelope commercial district, helping to get a special tax assessment ballot initiative passed, establishing a 501 C4 (nonprofit) to operate the PBID and serving on the PBID’s executive board. The nonprofit’s goal is to utilize funding from area business representatives to improve the economy and community within the commercial district by working closely with the County Sheriff’s Department, local government representatives, the local Chamber and community outreach programs and schools to unify efforts to clean up and create a great neighborhood environment.
Outside of her work for Phillips Edison and extensive commitments with the Antelope PBID, Rene is active in CREW Sacramento, serving as their 2018 Sponsorship Chair and Director of Sponsorships since January 2019. She is also a volunteer for Make-A-Wish (ask her how to get involved – she’d love to share!).
We asked Rene to share a little bit about her career journey and advice she would give to women looking to advance their careers. Here’s what she said:
What led you to a career in commercial real estate?
During college, I managed a law firm. I really didn’t know much about the world of commercial real estate until the law firm’s partners decided to retire and were looking to rent out the office buildings and commercial space they owned. I was sort of thrown into leasing and property management as a result of that. I guess you could say the rest is history!
Commercial real estate is sort of all encompassing. I enjoy working with people, dealing with the legal aspects like lease agreements, negotiations and contracts, and keeping up with the business trends so that I can stay informed and ahead of things. It’s never the same day twice and just when I think that I have seen or heard it all, I realize yet again that is never the case in this industry.
What early career experiences set you up for success?
I think that because I had zero experience starting off and I was allowed to be honest about that, I wasn’t afraid to ask questions, no matter how basic or elementary they seemed. I learned that the instance I wondered about something but didn’t ask the questions were the times I would have learned the most.
After the law firm I went to a development company that, while locally was really large and highly successful player in the commercial real estate game, they kept staff lean and mean. This meant that there was not an element of the industry I wasn’t involved in. This included everything from receptionist, to accounting, to investor meetings, to leasing. It was nice to get an in-depth understanding of each role and how it affects overall operations and each department within a company.
Lastly, I had a boss tell me to take chances and fail fast. He really encouraged me to trust my instincts and take chances to make decisions. He made me realize that doubt can be paralyzing and if you make the wrong move, at least you learn from it. It helped challenge me and allowed me to gain confidence in making decisions and taking initiative.
What is the best advice you would give to women looking to grow in their careers?
Never stop learning and challenging yourself. I think the best growth in my career has come from accepting an invitation or opportunity that fell outside of my comfort zone. Although it can be scary and uncomfortable, some of these invitations and opportunities were life changing. I really believe in the quote “if it doesn’t challenge you it won’t change you.” I think as women we go through so many phases in life - change is often intimidating and hard but it is also usually a sign of growth. Being open and welcoming to change is important.
I also think surrounding yourself with people who inspire you and/or that you admire is vital. Whether in your own industry and field or in their own career path, watch them interact professionally, learn about their triumphs and tribulations, ask them advice or questions about what helped them along the way. We all have our own story and path, but learning from other people’s successes and failures can only help us as we navigate career and family.