Get to Know Forte: Six Questions with Katie Trevena
- What got you interested in commercial real estate?
Like many others in the CRE industry, I have a family connection as my father has been in the commercial real estate industry for many years. I toured more office buildings than the average child and was always listening in on conversations about certain transactions or what was going on in the market. My father’s friends and colleagues in the Twin Cities commercial real estate industry were always smart, funny, kind and welcoming. I started my education at the University of St. Thomas focusing on education and soon learned it wasn’t the right fit. When I thought more about what I wanted to do, CRE was familiar to me and I knew there were various career paths and opportunities to explore and dove right in!
- You started in property management and later moved into advisory services. Why did you make that move and how does that help your clients?
Beginning my career in property management was a wonderful foundation as I had hands on experience understanding the various product types, reviewing lease agreements, and other operational aspects. I learned the importance of tenant interaction, financial management and building relationships with owners, tenants, contractors and vendors. There were many problem-solving skills that were required in my property management role (and a lot of good stories to go with it)! As an advisor I provide our clients with unbiased market knowledge and always strive to advocate and assist during each unique assignment. My perspective on what tenants can expect operationally throughout the life of their lease stems from my years and expertise as a property manager.
- If you could do anything else besides working at Forte, what would it be?
I would love to be some sort of ambassador for all things Minnesota. I am a die-hard Minnesotan and sing the praises of Minnesota to any nonresident, probably at nauseum. I would lead Segway tours of Minneapolis discussing the history of the city and state, work the full two weeks at the Minnesota State Fair, volunteer time at the State High School Hockey Tournament, lead hiking groups along the North Shore, be a guide at Paisley Park and document these adventures in a way that shines a light on the great state of Minnesota!
- Commercial real estate generally attracts more men than women and few people of color. How have you seen the industry change since you started? Why is diversity important in the CRE industry?
There are certainly more women as a whole in commercial real estate and more women in roles of leadership. There are certain sectors that are more heavily dominated- the industrial market has had a huge boom over the last few years and yet there are still so few women in that sector. As it relates to people of color in the industry, we still have a long way to go. Diversity is so important- commercial real estate is a global industry and having a diverse workforce that reflects the diversity of the market provides valuable insight into different customer segments and their requirements. Relationships are so important in CRE and having a broad network of differing backgrounds expands the reach of commercial real estate firms, opening up new business opportunities and partnerships. We all could be more thoughtful about casting a wider net and investing in ‘non-traditional’ talent early to provide exposure to the exciting and challenging world of commercial real estate.
- Do you have any life hacks that make your life as a working mother easier?
I wish! I try to remind myself that in all reality, life is a huge balancing act and really connect with the concept that there are rubber balls and glass balls. If you drop a rubber ball it will bounce back but if a valuable glass ball is dropped it can do irreparable harm. We all have to decide what constitutes the rubber and glass balls in our life but for me it’s always a balance and I’m always juggling!
6. What do you like to do when you aren’t working? Do you have a favorite restaurant or activity in the Twin Cities?
At this stage in my life, outside of work, my husband and I focus nearly all our time on raising kind, decent humans and help coach/manage their teams and activities which means my networking happens on football and baseball fields. This summer I’m planning a hiking trip to Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park with my 11-year-old son before he starts middle school. We relish these times with our kids as we know how fast they change and in no time will they be teenagers who won’t want to hang out with us!
This article was featured in our Q3 Newsletter. Click here to view.
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