Professionals Discuss Real Estate Career Possibilities With Stevenson University Students
(left to right) Bill Holzman, St. John Properties; Aris Melissaratos, Dean, Stevenson University Brown School of Business and Leadership, Danielle Beyrodt, Hill Management Services and Tim O’Donald, Harbor East Management Group participated in a discussion with Stevenson University students about careers in the commercial real estate industry. Each traced their career path including providing insights and tips about breaking into and finding success in the commercial, retail and multifamily industries.
“My major piece of advice is to find a company where you can seize every possible opportunity thrown your way, while also constantly asking for new assignments where you can learn and grow,” explained Danielle Beyrodt, who started her career answering the phones for a local architect and has now risen to virtually the top of a 700-person real estate development firm. “You don’t know what you know until you start doing it. Among my first assignments was cold-calling for prospective tenants in competitor office buildings, a task in which I had no experience. I had a good mentor and eventually figured it out.”
“After earning my law degree, my next move was unclear until a friend mentioned that I might enjoy working within the commercial real estate industry,” Holzman told the audience. “I tapped into the people I knew and eventually was given an entry-level position. Getting the first foot in the door was all that I needed as I worked my way up the professional ladder. Networking at an early age was key. Never turn down an opportunity to meet someone new, as you never know if that person can advance your career. I was lucky enough to be offered a job with St. John Properties, managing the retail leasing division and have been here nearly 11 years. It continues to remain extremely fulfilling and never lacks excitement.”
“The first things we look for in an employee are character and common sense,” stated Tim O’Donald. “If you have those two traits, you can go a long way in this business. After initially beginning his real estate career in the Atlanta, he served two combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, before re-entering the profession. O’Donald was later recruited to Baltimore to work for Harbor East Management Group. “Embrace every task, no matter how small and perform an outstanding job. Over time, these small successes will build upon each other and you will receive more attractive assignments.”
“I called my current employer six times asking for the job in which I interviewed for,” Beyrodt explained. “I was perfectly suited for the role and was not going to let up. The persistence paid off and I kept asking for new responsibilities. I was never satisfied with the status quo. Find people that you can learn from and that will lift you up. Become an active listener. This means listening intently to what people are communicating to you, and then responding based on the message that was just presented.”
Students presently enrolled or interested in the real estate sequence at Stevenson University participated in the session.