On the 2nd Episode of Season 9, Louisa is joined by Laura Smith, Managing Director at Berkadia and Neda Fields, Director of Product Management at Berkadia to chat about digital transformation within real estate. They discussed how Berkadia went about their own transformation for internal product development and the use of external technologies. They also touched on how to attract a diverse workforce; a key issue during the Great Rehiring that’s sweeping the post-pandemic market. During the global Covid outbreak, while everyone else was downsizing, Berkadia’s adoption of industry-leading technologies helped them to double their workforce.
Key Insights From This Episode:
About Our Guests:
Neda Fields leads cross-functional efforts and teams in the development of data insight and visualisation tools for real estate market research. Berkadia’s Data and Analytics tools synthesise property fundamentals, demographics and market intelligence to optimise the evaluation of real estate investments. Neda was selected as one of Real Estate Forum’s CRE Tech Influencers in 2021.
Neda began her career with KPMG in the Information Risk Management practice where she advised numerous clients on their Information Technology internal control frameworks. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems from Missouri State University.
As Managing Director, Laura Smith is responsible for loan origination of market-rate multifamily, affordable and healthcare properties nationwide. Over the course of her career, she has underwritten approximately $6 billion in FHA, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and Wall street conduit transactions. She has originated and closed more than 120 transactions totaling nearly $1 billion.
Laura holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from West Chester University and in German from the University of Marburg, Germany. In 1992, she received her Masters of Business Administration from American University with a concentration in real estate finance.
Berkadia, a joint venture of Berkshire Hathaway and Jefferies Financial Group, is a leader in the commercial real estate industry, offering a robust suite of services to our multifamily and commercial property clients. Powered by deep relationships and industry-changing technology, our people sell, finance, and service commercial real estate, providing support for the entire life cycle of our clients’ assets. Our unique ownership structure allows us to put our clients’ interests first and create a marketplace that delivers a superior experience
About Our Host
Louisa is the co-founder of LMRE, which has rapidly become the market leading global PropTech recruitment platform and search consultancy with operations across North America, United Kingdom, Europe and Asia-Pacific.
To promote the industry she is so passionate about, Louisa set up the Global podcast ‘The Propcast’where she hosts and invites guests from the built environment space to join her in conversation about innovation.
LMRE is globally recognised for leading the way in Real Estate Tech & Innovation talent management.
From the outset our vision was to become a global provider of the very best strategic talent to the most innovative organisations in PropTech, ConTech, Smart Buildings, ESG, Sustainability and Strategic Consulting.
At LMRE we are fully committed at all times to exceed the expectations of our candidates and clients by providing the very best advice and by unlocking exclusive opportunities across our global network in the UK, Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific.
[01:10] Laura: Talk us through your journey to Berkadia.
[02:50] Neda: Talk us through your journey to Berkadia and what your role entails.
[04:20] Neda: Talk us through the digital transformation at Berkadia.
[06:00] Can you give a couple examples of your clients?
[09:50] Your workforce has doubled, where have you seen the biggest growth at Berkadia?
[11:15] Can you expand on how Berkadia is engaging with people at different levels in the education system?
[13:05] How do you attract people to your teams, what initiatives are working at Berkadia at the moment?
[20:25] What products are you working on?
[26:30] What are the different reactions you have seen from your products?
[27:20] The ‘LMRE’ part, Louisa asks the guests to talk about;
L – Touch on the main lessons you have learnt throughout your career.
Neda: You have to embrace the change.
Neda: Just go for it, whatever you want to achieve, just act like you are already there.
M – Please give a mention to anyone / product / service.
Laura: Our IT and product development team as well as the senior management team.
R – What has been the most rewarding aspect of working in PropTech?
Neda: Seeing the clients face when they see the technology.
Laura: Watching my team grow.
E – What are you excited about in the future of PropTech?
Laura: Continuing to embrace change and working with our technology group.
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