Stars to Watch 2014: Sarah Pontius

Vice President of Leasing, Brookfield Office Properties

Greatest Accomplishments: Pontius was the first intern at Brookfield, which last summer brought in 15 under its internship program. She was also the first analyst to rotate through departments, one of the first associates to work abroad, and when she was appointed vice president of leasing in 2010 was the youngest vice president in the company. She helped underwrite the purchases of both Trizec Properties and the Multiplex Group. She is currently overseeing lease-up of 450 W. 33rd St., which is undergoing a major occupied redevelopment, and last year achieved such noteworthy New York City leases as placing Sumitomo Corp. to 300 Madison Ave., Wisdom Tree to 245 Park Ave. and Bank of China and Insight Venture Partners to the Grace Building.

Best Advice Received: Ever since kindergarten, her parents have told her, “If you’re going to do a job, do it right,” a lesson she lives by. “I think of that pretty much every time I’m working on something. It’s not worth it if you’re not going to give it 100 percent.”

Secrets to Success: Being competitive and having confidence, a thick skin and a sense of humor. “It can be a pretty tough industry if you don’t.”

Greatest Challenges: Being a woman in a male-dominated industry is difficult at times, as is being young compared to many of her counterparts. To compensate, she says, it’s important to make sure you’re more prepared than anyone at the table in order to earn respect.

Advice to Others: “Be creative, decisive and don’t be afraid to take risks.  Also, make sure you love what you do and the people you work with.”

What Others Say About Her: Cushman & Wakefield Inc. chairman of global brokerage Bruce Mosler termed her knowledgeable about the industry, product and competitive landscape. “I really believe she has the maturity and grasp of nuances that affect the real estate world in which we operate that you don’t see every day and I think she’s destined to be a leader.” CBRE Group Inc. tri-state CEO Mary Ann Tighe observed, “For a young professional in real estate, she has exceptional breadth of understanding in the business.” Boss Jeremiah Larkin called her “a well-rounded asset and integral part of our organization.”

—Suzann D. Silverman

More details on the accomplishments of CPE’s 2014 Stars to Watch appeared in the January 2014 issue.