Name: Kelsey Perrin
Company: Heitman
Position:  Assistant Vice President – Acquisitions
Age:  31
Education: University of Wisconsin – Madison
Years in Real Estate: 8


1. What led you to work in the Real Estate industry? Describe your current responsibilities:
There isn’t one specific thing that led me to real estate. I’ve always been curious about how the dynamics of an area or the way people live may change as a result of a building being developed, whatever the property type may be. My family also traveled a lot growing up, and although I didn’t put it together with my future career at the time, I always enjoyed seeing the real estate in different cities. Real Estate seemed to be a natural fit given those general interests when deciding what to add as my second major in addition to Accounting.

My current responsibilities include originating, negotiating, executing, analyzing, and valuing potential investments in direct equity real estate within the western United States, focusing on all property types in Texas. Prior to covering Texas, I led Heitman’s industrial acquisitions across the country and as a result, I’m responsible for opining on the quarterly valuations of our industrial portfolio as well as providing capital markets feedback on the sector. I also help with developing new investment strategies for the industrial sector.

2. Who has been the biggest influence in your career?
Jim Bachner. I worked directly with Jim for the first three years of my career focusing on underwriting multifamily acquisitions and development opportunities across the country. Those three years were some of the most challenging years of my career but by far the most rewarding. He taught me the importance of getting out of my comfort zone in order to challenge myself and continue growing. He always embraced taking on complex deals or situations he had never faced before only to know that he would figure it out and learn one step at a time. In addition, he had some of the best/strongest relationships in the industry that I’ve ever seen. I think part of that had to do with the fact that he was always so genuine and authentic to himself. I’ve always admired that about him and the quality of the relationships that he had because it is such an important part of our business. Jim unfortunately passed away in 2018, but everything he taught me continues to have a major impact on my day to day and overall career.

3. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
I think a lot of times there’s an expectation that every aspect of your life should be figured out, short term and long term. For me personally, I’m not totally sure what the next 5-10 years look like. I love being on the transactions side of the business for many reasons – the relationships, no deal is ever the same, fast-paced nature, a need to constantly learn – it all keeps me on my toes! I know I want that to always be a part of what I do. Leadership and broadening my knowledge of different sides of the business are also important to me and will factor into what I ultimately end up doing in the future as well.

On a personal note, I see myself starting a family with my husband Jon and being a mom (to more than just my fur-baby, Tucker).

4. How long have you been involved with NAIOP and what do you view as the benefits of your NAIOP Developing Leader membership?
I began participating in NAIOP Chicago events as well as the NAIOP National Forums program in 2016.

Our industry is all about relationships, and NAIOP provides opportunities to establish new relationships as well as build existing ones in order to create opportunities for future business. As a Developing Leader, you not only get exposure to other Developing Leaders but also senior level NAIOP members, which can provide an opportunity for mentor relationships as well.

5. What are the three most important qualities you think a real estate young professional should possess?
Curiosity, initiative, and personability.

6. What is the best piece of professional advice you have been given?
Always push yourself outside of your comfort zone.

7. What networking advice can you offer young professionals to help advance their careers?
Take advantage of all the networking opportunities that are available to you, but in doing so, be fully present in your conversations. Be sure that your purpose is sincere and that you are showing a genuine interest in those you choose to network with. Being present involves giving your full attention to those you’re networking with by asking questions and not getting distracted by your phone, others around you, or anything else. It’s easy to “network”, but creating meaningful and long-lasting relationships will be more beneficial for both sides in the long run, and that’s done through being fully engaged in your conversations.

8. What’s your favorite building in Chicago?
444 West Lake is at the top of my list. It’s one of the locations where I took my wedding pictures, so there’s sentimental value associated with it. But the coolest part of the building, in my opinion, is not the view looking toward the river, but the incredible view of the entire river-scape that’s a reflection off of the building. See below:

9. What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I walked Lee Corso, who was wearing a 25 lb. Bucky Badger mascot head, onto the GameDay stage my senior year in college when he picked Wisconsin to beat Ohio State.