Stars to Watch 2013: JoAnn McGuinness

Director, President & COO, Inland Real Estate Income Trust Inc.

Memorable Achievements: “Hands down, it is the IRRETI transaction.” The second REIT formed by Inland Group Inc., Inland Retail Real Estate Trust Inc. was sold to DDR Corp. in 2007 for $6.2 billion. McGuinness was with it from the beginning, when it totaled just over $2 billion in assets, then leading the property management companies that ran them as more than $4 billion additional assets were purchased with financing. “While it was a phenomenal transaction for investors based on the returns that they realized, just to be part of the transaction was incredibly exciting.” McGuinness is also incredibly proud of a women’s mentoring program at Inland that is just getting off the ground. “It makes me proud because Inland has afforded me some phenomenal opportunities and I have certainly had some great mentors over the years. It is exciting that we are at a point where we can form a more formal Inland-sponsored program where the people who have made it in the company can pay it forward to our next up-and-comers.” In September 2012, McGuinness was unanimously voted onto the board of directors for The Inland Group Inc. In October, she launched the group’s newest REIT, Inland Real Estate Income Trust Inc., for which she serves as director, president & COO. At the tail end of the year, she worked on due diligence, enabling the $296.3 million acquisition of the Territory Portfolio, a group of six open-air centers in Los Vegas.

What Others Say About Her: “It is such a pleasure to work with JoAnn, as she is incredibly efficient and organized. She has a great sense of humor and knows how to use it to liven up staff meetings. She is very poised and has excellent presentation skills,” observed Cathy Lynch, CFO & due diligence director for Inland Real Estate Investment Corp.

Greatest Challenges: “The last couple of years have been challenging for everyone. If I look back at my career, the greatest challenge was learning how to adjust and how to handle the various aspects of the company in one of the worst economic time periods that any of us have experienced. Though challenging, the downturn has taught us a lot about how we have done really well being a very conservative company, and we have to continue to be that conservative company so we can continue to tout the incredible track record that we have.”

Secrets to Success: “If you want to be successful, surround yourself with successful people. People are always willing to give a bit of time to someone who shows the ambition and shows that they want to climb the ladder and become better at what they do. It is a great idea to seek out mentors and spend some time with those people who have already achieved the success that they are looking for.”

Best Advice Received: “My dad was an immigrant. I am first generation (American). He was very much a blue-collar guy. But through working very hard, he was pretty successful and was able to give the entire family a good life. He always said that good things happen to those who work hard. He was the hardest-working person I have ever known, and he just instilled that work ethic in us. I always keep that in mind in everything I do in business.”

Advice to Others: “I know my employees hear me preach this all the time, but my advice is to constantly work on presentation skills and being a better speaker. For many, it is a great challenge, but it is a talent that will get you noticed and opens a lot of doors.”

— Mike Ratliff

More details on the accomplishments of CPE’s 2013 Stars to Watch appeared in the May 2013 issue.