Stars to Watch 2015: Christine Espenshade

CPE0215_stars_Espenshade_ChristineVice President, Capital Markets, JLL

What Others Say About Her: “Chris is a highly effective real estate professional who really understands what the institutional buyer is looking for. She has a deep understanding of her markets and is generally a pleasure to work with,” said H. Joshua Siegel, director of acquisitions for Invesco, who worked with Espenshade on the purchase of an $80 million multi-family community in Philadelphia in 2011.

Secrets to Success: “My fantastic spouse, Peter, is 110 percent supportive all the time. We have two kids at home, ages 6 and 9, so that can make things challenging. But he is always there to say, ‘We’ll figure it out.’ I also surround myself with great people. I consider a lot of my colleagues close personal friends. We spend so much time at work, whether in the office or with clients, so having these great relationships has made work a whole lot of fun.”

Greatest Challenges: As a fast-rising star in her 20s and 30s, she was often questioned about her youth. “And while no one has specifically questioned my ability to do my job as a woman, as I had my children people would hold back opportunities because there was this assumption that I needed to be home. I was able to best those challenges because I have such a great support system. I was able to say, ‘Don’t worry about my home life; I’ll take care of that. Let’s take care of business.’” Espenshade is an active member of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Baltimore and D.C.

Best Advice Received:  “Always say yes,” a former supervisor told her. Espenshade expands: “Always say yes to a transfer, a promotion, a company or client event, a dinner invitation. In commercial real estate, it is all about who you know inside and outside your firm, and the only way to make that happen is to go to these events.”

Her Advice to Others, Especially Young Women: An active member of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Baltimore and D.C., Espenshade doesn’t hesitate to tell those she mentors to throw the 10-year plan out the window. “Take the job opportunity that’s a bit of a risk in New York, Singapore or Paris. You can always come back to Washington, D.C., L.A., or wherever you call home. That’s much harder to do at 40, when you have children, a husband or a mortgage.”

—Leah Etling

CPE selected 17 individuals and teams as the 2015 Stars to Watch. Details on their accomplishments appear in the February 2015 issue.