Mary Ann King leverages her relationships and transaction experience to lead Berkadia’s institutional sales team in providing best-in-class service to clients nationwide. Commercial real estate market needs have shifted dramatically since Mary Ann and her partner Tom Moran, Sr., started in the business back in 1994. Those shifts are exactly why she’s excited to help lead the Berkadia team, with a fresh sense of vision and priorities.
We caught up with Mary Ann to learn more about her journey in real estate, lessons learned in the industry and what excites her most about Berkadia’s growing institutional team.
Can you share a bit about your career path and how you got to where you are today?
While I was in college, I was fortunate enough to land an internship with a city planning department and loved it. So, after completing my undergraduate degree, I decided to pursue a graduate degree in city and regional planning at Harvard. Midway through this two-year program, I realized that the career paths were fairly limited for graduates with planning backgrounds and decided to take a different path. That’s when I saw a job posting for a money center bank that did real estate and construction lending in Chicago, my hometown. I interviewed for that position and was fortunate to get it.
That job became the jumping off point of my commercial real estate career. After six years in CRE lending, I went to work for Moran & Company, a small, private equity firm that invested equity in new, to-be-built apartment properties. My job was to find apartment developers with great sites and arrange the debt for those developments. My partner, Tom Moran, Sr., raised all of the equity.
In 1994, one of our institutional clients asked us if we could help them sell three large apartment communities in Southern California. We didn’t have any brokerage experience at that time, but we knew apartments and the people that invested in them pretty well, so we took the assignment. This unique circumstance gave us the chance to let our expertise shine and be recognized as a “different” brokerage service. Thus, our brokerage business was born!
Through my years in the business, I’ve learned that listening to what the market wants, knowing your distinct capabilities and sharing them with your team is the best avenue to success. I’ve always loved learning about how cities evolve and neighborhoods grow, and I am grateful to have come across that job posting back in my graduate school days that led me to where I am today.
What advice do you have for young professionals eager to start a career in CRE and, more specifically, investment sales?
Listening is key. Good salespeople listen really carefully. When you take the time to listen, you’ll hear different questions. With more players in the industry, the bar has been set higher, and it is becoming harder to differentiate yourself. So, look to define the story that makes an apartment building or property compelling, make it resonate in the board room and relate to concerns and strategies people have, stay agile with information needs that are changing, communicate information in a compelling way and think about how you will provide better service—all of those things will set you apart in a competitive market.
Also, when you’re attempting or inventing something new, you will get turned down a lot. It can be discouraging, but you have to develop a thick skin. Even Babe Ruth, one of the best hitters in baseball, struck out two-thirds of the time. It’s important to be a good loser in this game and learn from your losses.
What excites you most about Berkadia and Moran & Company coming together to form Berkadia Institutional Solutions, powered by Moran?
Berkadia has an exceptional culture that encourages collaboration. That collaborative mindset has been exciting to be part of and is what is going to make us the leading platform—institutional sales members and brokers are coming together to create a platform that will be more responsive and better in every way. The combined team’s ability to create and continue to evolve will help us all build an enduring brand that’s both good for today and the long haul.
-Mary Ann King, Co-Head of Investment Sales and Head of Berkadia Institutional Solutions, powered by Moran