Inspired by Technology, Development Legend Jodie Zussman Lives by Churchill Quote: “Success is Never Final, Failure Never Fatal”

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Jodie Zussman

BOSTON—There is a lot going on for Jodie Zussman, President and CEO of the Boston Development Group. Along with its partners, The Davis Companies, Elkus Manfredi and John Moriarity Associates, BDG recently completed the first building of a 550,000-square-foot Life Science complex at 66 Galen Street in Watertown, MA.

BDG has just received approval from the town of Needham to build a 50,000 SF medical office building on Highland Avenue within a ¼ mile of 95. Lastly, the firm is currently working with the city of Boston and its architectural team to determine the feasibility of converting our office building at 55 Court Street to a multi-use retail/office and residential building.

Ms. Zussman will be honored as the Outstanding Women of Commercial Real Estate 2024 by the Boston Real Estate Times on Feb. 22, 2024 at its Annual Awards gala at the Burlington Marriott Hotel in Burlington, MA. To register for the gala, please click here.

“I left home after I graduated college, moved to Philadelphia, and worked for some developers,” says Ms. Zussman.  “I started at an entry level position and worked my way up. Eventually, I learned enough to start my own company of third-party property management.”

Ms. Zussman began her career in Philadelphia, where she worked for a major developer Hansen Properties, before moving on to Grubb and Ellis; having achieved at both organizations the level of Vice President. She went on to form and run for over a decade her own third-party property management company, Gateway Property Management Corp.

She has over 43 years of diversified real estate experience in property management, leasing, brokerage, development, and construction. Currently, as CEO of Boston Development Group she oversees all departments and concentrates most of her time on development

In addition to working for some developers, Ms. Zussman also worked for Grubb and Ellis before starting her own third-party property management company. She has over 43 years of diversified real estate experience in property management, leasing, brokerage, development, and construction.

Currently, as CEO of BDG she oversees all departments and concentrates most of her time on development. BDG is a family run business made up of privately held real estate companies based in Massachusetts.

66 Galen St.

BDG is a family run organization made up of privately held real estate companies based in Newton, Massachusetts. Originally founded by her father over seventy years ago, BDG has expanded on its early visionary role as a residential developer and builder to become a dynamic, multi-faceted real estate organization.

BDG has grown into a well-respected leader in the field of Real Estate, specializing in the acquisition, development, and management of commercial and residential properties. Our expertise encompasses land acquisition, design, construction, rehabilitation, condominium conversions and adaptive reuse and repositioning of buildings. It as well has its own in-house property and project management, leasing, and sales teams. As the company moves into the future, BDG continues to build on its fundamental strengths and creative abilities. BDG has an impressive real estate portfolio that includes prominent commercial, retail, medical and life science properties throughout Massachusetts. The Company also has developed, owned, and managed hotels and retirement facilities.

Here is a Q/A with Ms. Zussman:

Boston Real Estate Times: What do you enjoy most about your work?

Jodie Zussman: No two days are ever the same, I am always learning and seeing new perspectives.

BRET: What do success and failure mean to you?

JZ: Success brings more confidence to keep reaching higher and failure just means you must keep trying and learn from that experience.

BRET:  What is the one thing you attribute your success to?

JZ: I had a great mentor. I left home after I graduated college, moved to Philadelphia, and worked for some developers. I started at an entry level position and worked my way up. Eventually, I learned enough to start my own company of third-party property management.

BRET: To which charitable, community and professional groups do you belong and why?

JZ: We are involved in the local Boys and Girls Clubs of Newton and Watertown. We support many of their activities. I am a vice chair at the Charles River Chamber of Commerce. Our company recently participated in a 5K walk for the Perkins School for the Blind. As a company we offer a compensation day for anyone who volunteers for a charity. We also will match any donation our employees make to their own charities. I am a member of CREW and have served on the golf committee for the past two years.

BRET: In what way do you feel you have most positively influenced or served the local community, your company/organization or professional field?

JZ: As one of five directors of our local Chamber which covers Needham, Newton, Watertown, and Wellesley, I am very involved in many issues in our neighborhoods. We play a significant role informing our communities of current events and promoting our opinions on diverse topics.

BRET: Is there any aptitude, gift or talent that not many people know about you?

JZ: I have three hole-in-ones.

BRET: What are your hobbies and interests?

JZ: I love to golf, horseback ride, read, and do pilates.

BRET: Your favorite books?

JZ: Lessons in Chemistry, The Magnificent Lives of Margorie Post, The Covenant of Water

BRET: Your favorite quotes?

JZ: “Success is never Final, Failure never Fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.”

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” –Winston Churchill

BRET: 10. The one person you would like to meet and why?

JZ: Jeff Bezos. He has built an extraordinary empire; he must have some great advice.

BRET: Your core values you try to live by?

JZ: Integrity, we seem to have lost this in our country.

BRET: What inspires you?

JZ: Technology. I just cannot believe how far we have come in my lifetime, and I can only imagine what the world will be like in my grandchildren’s lifetime.

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