As part of our series, CRE Future Leaders, we caught up with Erica Marshall, leasing director with Zeller Realty Group’s (ZRG) leasing team, specializing in landlord representation and marketing for select properties within the firm’s 4.3 million-square-foot Chicago portfolio. Her current leasing assignments include the Wrigley Building and 401 North Michigan Avenue in Chicago and Old Orchard Towers in Skokie, Illinois.
Tell us about your background. Where did you grow up, where did you go to school?
I spent part of my childhood in Kenyon, Minnesota and then moved to Indianapolis, Indiana when I was nine. I went to college at Indiana University and then moved to Chicago shortly after graduation.
When you were young, what did you aspire to be?
I aspired to be an actress when I was a little girl. I performed in several plays throughout my childhood, notably Alice in Alice and Wonderland. As a child, I would stay up all night watching the Oscars and would write down all the winners. In high school I decided I didn’t want to pursue a career in acting. Sales and acting have a lot of similarities when I think about it.
How did you get your start in the industry?
Directly out of college, I was an IT recruiter, which gave me the necessary sales experience to pursue a career as a leasing broker. Eventually, I made a transition into marketing by accepting a position at the media agency Starcom. A little over a year later, one of my connections told me about an open position at ZRG. Commercial real estate always fascinated me. I made the transition to ZRG about six years ago, initially focusing more on the marketing side of the business. It was about three years ago I transitioned into brokerage and haven’t looked back since.
Did you have a mentor who helped you get on your feet, or is there someone you turn to now for support?
I have had several mentors who have helped me get to where I am today. At ZRG, Howard Meyer has been one of my most influential mentors thus far. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without his guidance and support. My other team member, Dan Baumeister, is really great to work with, too. Howard and Dan both have a tremendous amount of experience in this business. I always seek their support when I am working on a difficult lease transaction. They encourage me to ask questions, push boundaries and think outside of the box.
What does a day in the life of Erica Marshall look like?
I usually start my morning with a workout. I’m a huge fan of Soul Cycle and Barry’s Bootcamp. I love walking/jogging the beautiful lakefront (weather permitting). When I first get to the office, I always check my email/voicemail and game plan for the day. The typical day (if it even exists) consists of following up with tenant prospects and tenant reps, giving property tours, moving things forward in my pipeline and most importantly…closing deals.
What do you like most about your job?
I love my job because each day is different and I get to work with some really awesome people. Some days I work with our construction, acquisitions and/or asset management teams. Other days, I get to connect with architects, attorneys and/or tenant and landlord reps. I participate in marketing meetings for different properties. I also attend a ton of fun networking events throughout the year. I’m fortunate my job allows me to be social, creative and analytical in a competitive, fun environment.
Looking to the future, what do you hope to achieve/work on that you haven’t already?
As I look to the future, I hope to continue achieving success on all fronts. This industry is tough to break into, and when you do, you always need to prove yourself. I believe you can achieve anything in life as long as you work hard, show perseverance and continue to build trust with those on your team and within the industry.
How do you spend your time away from the office?
I spend a lot of time with family and friends trying new restaurants and new experiences throughout Chicago. My husband and I are expecting a baby boy in September, so I will be spending a lot of my free time loving and caring for him.
What is your favorite place that you have traveled to? Where do hope to go next?
My all-time favorite place is Italy. My top two cities are Venice and Positano. Italy is a beautiful country. If you haven’t been, you should go! As soon I adjust to parenthood, I hope to visit Spain and Greece.
Who would you like to see answer these questions?
I would love to see our acquisitions team (Ryan Zader, Mari Lehman or Brian Welker) from ZRG answer these questions. I am sure they will have great insight into the acquisitions side of the business.