Each week, Midwest Real Estate News highlights one of the newest members of its Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame. This week, we look at the busy career of Wendy Katz, executive director with the Chicago office of Cushman & Wakefield.
Years in the business: 30
A fast start: It didn’t take Wendy Katz long to get her commercial real estate career started. She jumped into the business immediately after graduating from college, working as a landlord representative for Tishman Speyer Properties, CBRE and J.F. McKinney & Associates.
Today, she boasts more than 25 years of CRE experience and, as executive director, is a valued leader at Cushman & Wakefield.
Success: Katz has represented owners and developers in some of their most important transactions in the Chicago CBD. She has enjoyed a strong string of recent successes, handling the leasing of 300 North LaSalle, 500 West Madison, One South Dearborn, 311 South Wacker and theMART. Katz completed 500,000 square feet of new leases on behalf of ownership at these properties in just 24 months.
“I love that every day is different,” Katz said. “No matter how much you plan and prepare ahead of time, you never know what your day will bring you. Interacting with people from different backgrounds, objectives, expertise and perspectives challenges me to take a step back, rethink a project and develop new strategies to meet our clients’ needs.”
High-profile deals: Closing big deals, though, is far from unusual for Katz. Some of her big transactions include a 168,400-square-foot lease with conAgra, 131,600-square-foot lease with Yelp, 109,000-square-foot lease with PayPal and 102,000-square-foot lease with Allstate, all at theMART in Chicago.
Katz also closed a 100,000-square-foot transaction with Quarles & Brady LLP at 300 North LaSalle, 61,000-square-foot deal with Tribune Media at 303 East Wacker and 46,000-square-foot lease with Industrious at 500 West Madison.
“Over the years, I have worked tirelessly to develop trusting relationships so people feel comfortable sharing their thoughts,” Katz said. “Listening to people, without judging, and knowing when your contribution will add value is vital to succeeding in this industry. I have had to overcome obstacles that have been mentally draining, but perseverance and visualizing myself in certain roles has helped me to achieve my goals.”
Earning the awards: Thanks to this success, Katz has earned several prestigious honors during her career. In 2009, she was the recipient of the Greater Chicago Food Depository Office Property Representative of the Year Award. And in 2005, 2011, 2014 and 2015, Katz was a finalist for this honor.
In 2016, this industry veteran won the NAIOP Leasing Achievement award for her work at theMART.
A busy volunteer: Despite the time it takes to build a successful CRE career, Katz finds time to volunteer. She oversees volunteer efforts for the annual Breathe Deep North Shore run and walk, which raised more than $1 million during the past six years to combat lung cancer. This is a calling that means much to Katz. Eight years ago, her father, a non-smoker, passed away after being diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. Since then, Katz has been a strong supporter of the organization.
Out-of-office hours: “My priority is my family,” Katz said. “Seeing my husband, Joby, and our four children, Zach, Anna, Sydney and Leah, happy is the greatest gift.”
Katz also cites travel as a passion. She also enjoys attending concerts, entertaining friends and family, working out and watching University of Michigan football.