Executive Women in Business
Kathy Anderson, Progress Capital Advisors
It’s an Extremely Favorable Time to Finance Commercial Real Estate
Tell us how and when you began your career in the profession you are in?
I never set out to be the owner of a commercial mortgage brokerage firm, but I have really enjoyed the journey. Starting at the bottom rung of an accounting firm, I worked hard and caught the attention of the CEO. He gave me a great opportunity and I grabbed it.
What were some of your early goals and did anything happen in your career / profession to change them?
I learned that where you start is not always where you end up. I did know that I enjoyed the management of commercial real estate, so commercial financing seemed like a nice extension of that. When the opportunity presented itself, I took a chance and 22 years later I am grateful I did.
What unique qualities and /or personality traits do you feel makes you most successful in your profession?
What makes me successful is the fact that I never give up. If we hit an obstacle on the way to finding the right lender for our clients, we adapt. It’s our responsibility to look beyond the traditional channels when necessary. We have found that there is always a way to a fair solution negotiating with lenders on behalf of our clients.
What challenges and/or obstacles do you feel you needed to overcome to become as successful as you are today?
Most of my business chal- lenges have been market driven. Because we have long term relationships with our clients and lenders, we are immediately aware of how changing market conditions affect both of their businesses. This past year has been outstanding in helping clients borrow money smartly. No one can be certain of what lies ahead but it’s our job to stay informed and anticipate trends.
Do you feel being a woman is an advantage in today’s business world? Why? Why not?
My industry is still dominated by men but I’m comfortable in that environment. I find that if you are honest and treat people fairly, gender means very little.
Do you feel there are any differences in the way that men and women develop business relationships and if so, what activities or ven- ues do you participate in?
In today’s world, both men and women just want to get the job done. I don’t play golf or smoke cigars but I do like to celebrate with a nice dinner when we close a deal. The only difference is I order chardonnay over scotch.
Tell us a little about your family.
I have two sons, Brad and Brian – both avid golfers. Brad has recently joined my firm after several years as a senior sales associate for Neuberger Berman in NYC. Brian gradu- ated from Boston University with a degree in accounting and is studying for the CPA exam while working with my husband, Ralph, a CPA and Managing Director for The Green Group in Woodbridge, NJ. Jake, our Pomeranian, comes to work with me and is our official mascot.
Who do you feel was most influential in your life when choosing this profession?
I would have to say Len Green, founder and president of The Green Group. At an early age, he gave me the chance to represent the firm in many ways including negotiating large real estate transactions. I will always be grateful to Len for intuitively knowing that I could handle myself.
What is the funniest, most unique situation you have faced / conquered during your business career?
Of course, it didn’t seem like it at the time but leaving The Green Group turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me. My husband and I were both employed at Green and when Len and Ralph didn’t see eye to eye, we both had to leave. I had a great job, was doing well and was very comfortable — then boom! Sometimes things change and you just have to figure it out. Starting Progress Capital Advisors was like jumping out of an airplane. So I strapped on a parachute and dove head first into owning my own firm.
What outside activities do you enjoy during your free time?
I live for a great day at the beach with my family. I look forward to when my sons and their friends come home to Monmouth Beach for the day. They’re at such a great age and their energy is contagious.
What do you feel is the key to your success?
Always have a parachute handy!