CBRE’s Natalie Bazarevitsch brings more than 25 combined years of experience as a Senior Managing Director and real estate professional with the Los Angeles-based brokerage firm. She has earned the respect of those within the company, as well as across the commercial real estate industry.
Bazarevitsch, who serves on the AIR CRE board as the Marketing Committee Co-Chair, has achieved success as a CRE leader, to be sure. For 13 years, she was an integral part of CBRE’s Inland Empire and San Gabriel Valley’s office market growth. That experience positioned her well to oversee two of CBRE’s largest regions in the U.S. She was charged with growing and overseeing more than 200 sales professionals and staff in the Inland Empire and the Los Angeles North Regions.
Today, she specializes in office properties and occupiers, with extensive experience in ground-up developments, leasing and investment sales. Bazarevitsch focuses her efforts on representing investors, owners, corporate and office tenants throughout the Tri-Cities markets of Pasadena, Glendale and Burbank and throughout the San Gabriel Valley.
AIR CRE asked Bazarevitsch to share insights into what it takes to succeed in the industry today, and some of the steps she’s taken along the past 25 years.
Q. In the wake of #metoo, what types of CRE resources are there to assist women in their careers?
While the commercial real estate industry is not impervious to issues that affected, and may still affect, in one way or another, women in the entertainment industry or otherwise, I can speak to CBRE’s Standards of Business Conduct which stem from CBRE’s RISE values of Respect, Integrity, Service & Excellence. These codes of conduct are strictly enforced company-wide, and I can only believe that each of CBRE’s competitors are enforcing the same codes of conduct.
As an Advisory Board member since inception, 17 years ago, the CBRE Women’s Network’s goal is to empower women of CBRE through GROWTH. CONNECTION. MENTORSHIP. These are the three principles that guide CBRE’s Women’s Network, providing a foundation for the women at CBRE to enhance their careers, and promoting an environment that is collaborative and keenly focused on success.
Outside of the CBRE Women’s Network are national organizations such as CREW: Commercial Real Estate Women, which I have proudly supported and participated in as a vehicle to empower women through networking and connections to commercial real estate professionals globally, representing nearly every discipline within the industry.
These organizations, among many others, such as ULI’s Women’s Leadership Initiative and CREF’s Women’s Network, serve as an opportunity for women in commercial real estate to enhance and advance their careers, as well as provide sound advice to the challenges faced.
Q. How did you get into the CRE industry?
Having first joined CBRE as a Summer Intern for two summers during my years at York University in one of our three CBRE Toronto offices, and before making it my career for the next 25-plus years, I was intrigued by the industry’s entrepreneurial spirit, exceptional leadership, and caliber of the professionals. In brokerage specifically, I was drawn by the ability to build a practice where success was directly correlated to the amount of effort, dedication and commitment one put into it.
Q. What was it like then and now?
While the fundamentals of the business remain the same, my entre into commercial real estate and CBRE’s sales training have change quite a bit. At the time, I was one of the only women professionals entering into brokerage, and was seen more as an experiment than a force. And while the statistics of women in commercial real estate, and specifically brokerage, are much lower than they should be, the industry is making a concerted effort to not only grow its female population within the industry, but its diversity as a whole.
Q. Who were your mentors and how have they impacted your CRE career?
I have had the good fortune of having mentors throughout my CRE career. My former Managing Director and the man who hired me, Wally Pollock, has remained my mentor, friend and advisor throughout my career, a part of every major career decision I have made. During my mid-level years and to this day, Darla Longo – one of CBRE’s top women professionals and top producers throughout her 38-year career – has been a confidante, mentor and dear friend, never steering me wrong with her tell-it-like-it-is advice and in-your-best-interest counsel. For each of the two primary roles I have played during my CRE career, broker and Senior Managing Director, I have been fortunate to have found mentors who enriched my experience in that role, advised me of the pitfalls, and with nothing but success in mind.
Q. What is your approach to mentoring now?
CBRE has led a number of Mentor-Protégé programs over the years, but having just participated in CBRE’s national “Producer Mentoring Program,” the strategic mentor-mentee pairings and program agenda were the best I had ever seen. I am delighted to now serve as a mentor, while always finding tremendous value from the mentors in my life.
Q. What are the organizations that you’ve been involved in that have fostered your career development, growth and success?
Having worn several hats during my career thus far at CBRE, and been a part of a number of organizations within the firm, including serving on the CBRE Women’s Network Board since inception 17 years ago, CBRE has clearly had the greatest impact on my growth and career, working alongside some of the greatest leaders and professionals of our industry.
I joined NAIOP very early on in my career, moving my way up through various Board positions to Chapter President, learning from countless influencers of our industry along the way. While there are other industry organizations I am proud to be a part of, having two Eagle Scout sons, the Boys Scouts of America has reaffirmed the need to live one’s life – personal and professional – with integrity, always looking out for others. It is humbling to attend the many charitable CRE industry events such as the City of Hope, ULI, Cancer Research Center, and industry Galas that draw in our industry’s finest to support a cause.
Q. What do you see as the biggest challenges facing women in CRE? What are the ways you’d recommend addressing those challenges?
While there are myriad lines of business within the CRE industry that attracts the finest men and women, attracting and retaining women in brokerage has been the biggest challenge. When there is a desire to raise a family, the downtime after having a child varies from individual to individual, however there are still misconceptions and misperceptions about one’s ability to maintain one’s practice during this time. Building a support structure around our professionals is key.
With so few women in top positions within the CRE industry, early mentorship, executive sponsorship and succession planning around the most qualified women should be a priority.
Q. What are some of the innovative solutions you’ve come across that work to improve things?
Recognizing how few women are in leadership roles within our industry, CBRE is making a concerted effort of identifying the most qualified women to consider and take senior leader roles. They are doing this through a program around developing future women leaders. I am seeing more and more programs surface industry-wide.
Q. Are there any programs that AIR CRE does to help build the careers of women?
Currently, as the only woman on the AIR CRE board of directors, I know AIR CRE understands the need to create more diversity in our industry. Diversity will breed diverse thinking, producing new and innovative outcomes. It has been made clear to me during this year’s Board meetings, that AIR CRE is focused on arming its constituents with the best real estate documentation tools to success, and best educational events to grow the professionals of our industry.
Q. We understand you will be honored next month as one of L.A.’s top women in CRE. What is that recognition about, and what are some of the other career highlights you’d like to mention?
I am truly honored to be recognized as part of Bisnow’s LA Power Women Series, as a leader in commercial real estate. I have always worked hard to lead by example and get involved in organizations that move the industry and my company forward. That’s led me to serve as a national advisory board member on CBRE Women’s Network since 2000, and I served as an executive committee member on CREW-LA’s 30th Anniversary in 2014/2015.
In 2015, I was recognized by CREW-LA as a Woman of Excellence Honoree, earned CBRE’s Endurance of Spirit Award in 2011, which is awarded to one individual annually, served as a CBRE Excel training and education functional leader, and am a regional chair for CBRE Cares, the company’s philanthropic arm.