WALTHAM, MA—Boston Real Estate Times, the region’s largest print, online and video real estate magazine, today announced its list of Outstanding Women of Commercial Real Estate 2024. All the winners will be honored on February 22, 2024 in an award ceremony at the Burlington Marriott Hotel in Burlington, MA.
“These pioneers are being recognized for their outstanding contribution to the commercial real estate industry in New England,” said Upendra Mishra, publisher of the Boston Real Estate Times and its sister publication Life Sciences Times. “Thank you to all our readers who nominated these pioneering women. We’re looking forward to honoring them on behalf of our readers and the commercial real estate community on February 22.”
Boston Real Estate Times will also publish a special glossy print edition that will highlight the contribution and achievements of this group.
The award ceremony will be held on February 22, 2024 at the Burlington Marriott Hotel in Burlington, MA from 5:30pm to 9:30pm.
Here are the Boston Real Estate Times’ Outstanding Women of 2024 in alphabetical order:
Director of Development, BioMed Realty
Isabel Acuña has served as Director of Development at BioMed Realty since June 2022, making her mark on the company’s 5.7 million square foot portfolio and 1.6 million square foot development pipeline in the Greater Boston area. Acuña brings 25 years of experience managing complex real estate development projects to her current role serving BioMed Realty’s world-leading life science and technology tenants. Her combined expertise as a civil and structural engineer and as a sustainability professional, together with her experience, has enabled her success as a leader of high-profile projects with complex requirements and diverse stakeholders.
She has been integral to the development of 585 Kendall, a 600,000-square-foot, 16-story lab/office building in the heart of Kendall Square. The global pharmaceutical leader, Takeda, signed a lease for the entirety of the 585 Kendall lab space in 2022 and Acuña has worked closely with Takeda to ensure the project meets their unique needs. At the 585 Kendall project, Isabel leads a project team consisting of 60+ industry professionals including general contractors, architects, engineers and multidisciplinary consultants.
Beyond providing ample innovation space for the largest life sciences employer in Massachusetts, Acuña and the team have also set out to contribute significant arts and public space, incorporating a performing arts center, along with plentiful rehearsal and gathering spaces. As part of this commitment to community benefits, in April 2023 Acuña helped to facilitate the relocation of a gas transfer station from 330 Third Street to a “backyard space” in Kendall Square. This move significantly enhances the area’s safety, aesthetics, and walkability. It’s also a testament to Isabel and her team’s adeptness at collaborating with local partners and municipalities to create spaces that better serve community members.
Marketing & Business Development
Senior Vice President, Groom Construction
As Senior Vice President of Business Strategy & Development, Bernadette Butterfield plays a pivotal role in both Client and Community Relations while positioning the company for continued success and growth. Butterfield, while seeking and securing development work in multiple states and sectors, has also secured Groom’s reputation as a community leader. Not only has she expanded the Groom’s presence in the commercial and private sectors nationwide, but she has also worked to ensure Groom is the lead on many non-profit development projects including affordable housing and community centers.
Building Groom’s Giving Back ethos, she has led efforts that extend to supporting multiple nonprofits, including but not limited to Harborlight Homes (formerly Harborlight Community Partners), Root, to Northeast ARC, Lifebridge North Shore, Plummer Youth Promise, Northshore CDC, and several regional YMCA organizations. Butterfield serves on the Board of Advisors for Harborlight Homes, the Managing Board of Directors, Governance Committee and THRIVE Steering Committee for The North Shore Chamber, the Board/Executive Committee of The Salem Chamber, Development Committee for Lifebridge North Shore and member of the Salem Partnership. Bernadette is a current 2023 Fellow of the North Shore LEADS program (Leaders Engaged and Activated to Drive System-wide Change).
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
Chief Diversity Officer for Compliance, Capital Projects, UMass Building Authority
UMass Building Authority’s Chief Diversity Officer for Compliance and Capital Projects, Maggie Drouineaud is passionate about maximizing outcomes for MBE and WBE subcontractors and vendors as well as people of color and women trades workers on all capital projects across all of UMBA’s campus/locations.
She is committed to excellence in her field and is a true partner while holding herself, UMBA, CMs, Trade Partners and Unions all accountable to providing solutions to achieve diversity goals. Under Drouineaud’s leadership, MBE/WBE and diverse workforce utilization outcomes have been prioritized and elevated to new heights.
UMBA is now consistently exceeding both their MBE/WBE and diverse workforce utilizations goals on all their projects. A “hammer with a caring touch”, her dedication, commitment, passion and results speak for themselves.
Vice President-Investment, The Davis Companies
Rachel Edwards serves as Vice President of Investments at Davis. In this position, Edwards is responsible for expanding Davis’ existing multifamily investment business, targeting opportunities in the Eastern U.S. and Sunbelt. Edwards plays a key role in pursuing value-add, development, workforce and affordable housing.
Prior to joining The Davis Companies, Edwards worked for Winn Development as the Vice President of Acquisitions where she generated more than $900 million in real estate transactions, including acquisitions and dispositions of properties in 13 states. In her 14-year career at Winn she supervised the sourcing and acquisition of residential housing properties including rehabilitation of historic buildings and fractured condominium developments with a focus on the creation of mixed- and low-income housing.
Edwards is a past member of the Rental Housing Association Board of Directors, the Real Estate Finance Association Board and Government Affairs Committee at the Greater Boston Real Estate Board, the Legislative Committee at Preservation Massachusetts, the Historic Tax Credit Coalition at National Trust, and the Legislative Leadership Committee of National Housing & Rehabilitation Association. She was the recipient of the 2010 Preservation Massachusetts Paul E. Tsongas Profiles in Preservation Award and winner of the Connect CRE 2020 Women in Real Estate.
Edwards is currently a board member at the Advent School in Boston. Edwards holds a Bachelor of Science from Boston University and is a licensed real estate professional.
Director of Project Development, Timberline Construction Corp.
Tiffany Gallo has worked in the design and construction industry for almost 20 years. Starting as an intern and solidifying her true interest in the industry, she is now in a management position for preconstruction and business development at Timberline Construction. Her passion for this role comes from her dedication to concepts and ideas becoming physical projects. These projects often translate into buildings that contribute to growing a community, helping a business thrive or positively affecting anyone who interacts and/or uses a building.
Gallo shares her enthusiasm for real estate and construction outside her everyday job. Sitting as a board member of MassEcon to assist in driving the economy for Massachusetts, serving as the chair for the annual fundraising committee for the EcoTarium, a local science and natural history museum, as well as participating in fundraisers for Cradles to Crayon and Rainbow Child Development are a few ways she helps to use her professional expertise in positive ways.
Understanding that the learning process never stops, another part of her career she takes pride in is focusing on the professional development of her team members by supporting their goals and uncovering opportunities for them to thrive as professionals every step of the way.
Whether it is during her everyday job, within her community, or on a broader level, Gallo is an exceptional professional committed to supporting the real estate, construction and design industries while doing her very best.
Associate Principal, Annum Architects, Inc.
Annum Architects’s Associate Principal, Katie Gerner, AIA’s holistic leadership approach and project management expertise has guided numerous design teams through complex and impactful work, locally and globally.
She has prioritized mentorship and inclusion within project teams while delivering clients award-winning work, often with historically significant buildings. Gerner has managed complex academic and civic projects from planning and conceptual design through project completion.
Her leadership includes a comprehensive project focus – on contemporary design and its relationships to existing buildings and context, with expertise in project delivery and quality assurance. She has successfully led projects ranging from $30 million to $250 million, with phased construction, complex systems, and project requirements.
As project manager for the US Embassy in Athens, Gerner led the redesign and expansion of the entire embassy complex, including Walter Gropius’ landmark Chancery building. Katie also led a masterplan for the US Embassy in Manila, and an Advance Plan for Major Rehab of a US Embassy (location withheld) for OBO.
Strategic Real Estate Advisor
Managing Director, JLL
The role of life science leaders has become ever-critical over the past couple of years, and 2023 was no exception – they played a pivotal role in shaping the industry not only through life science transactions but also through close collaboration with industry leaders to leverage the fundamentals that have made Greater Boston a leading region in life sciences.
With over 20 years of CRE experience in the region, Molly Heath, a Senior Managing Director at JLL, has done just that. She serves as Managing Director on the Cambridge team within the Leasing practice at JLL’s Boston office and has over 13 years of experience as a strategic real estate advisor to investors and users within varied industry sectors, with a special focus in the technology and life sciences sectors in the Cambridge, Boston, and Inner Suburban markets.
As biotechs and their venture capital backers take a more cautious approach to expanding their real estate footprints amid rising interest rates and stock market declines, Heath continues to represent developers of some of the region’s notable large-scale developments in the hunt for anchor tenants – many which are Class-A life science and lab buildings in the Greater Boston region. These include University Park, 2.3 million RSF with BioMed and Blackstone, Greystar’s 74 Middlesex, 40 Thorndike in Cambridge, 10 World Trade in Boston, and much more. An industry veteran, Heath has leveraged her expertise to continue matching tenants and landlords in a shifting market, adjusting to the new market fundamentals in 2023.
Director of Asset Management, Cathartes
Jackie Huber is Director of Asset Management at Cathartes, where she oversees multifamily and mixed-use portfolios. With over 13 years at the company, she’s been instrumental in establishing and growing the multifamily asset management division. Jackie’s expertise has led to the success of 600 residential units and 50,000 square feet of commercial space, solidifying Cathartes’ reputation in real estate.
During her tenure, Jackie introduced Cathartes’ Smart Living mission. This mission focuses on making life better for residents by emphasizing wellness, balance, sustainability, and community in their living spaces.
Jackie earned her bachelor’s degree at Florida State University and is an active member of industry organizations like the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP). Her dedication to both her company and the industry showcases her as a driving force in multi-family asset management, committed to improving the living experience for residents.
Academic Real Estate and Championing CREW
Director, MIT Investment Management Company
Maureen McCaffrey, PE, LEED AP is one of the Boston commercial real estate industry’s most accomplished and effective leaders. She has spent 22 years with MIT Investment Management Company in Cambridge, MA (MITIMCo), the last 12 years as its Director, focused on innovation markets and stewardship of sustainability initiatives.
She is responsible for MIT’s planning and development of over 3 million square feet of mixed-use commercial real estate projects in Kendall Square, including life science, office, residential, and retail.
McCaffrey’s efforts aren’t limited to her work with MIT. In June, she was named 2023-2024 President of CREW Boston at a pivotal time when the chapter is working to promote diversity through strategic growth. Through her role at MIT, as President of CREW, and also a member of the Board of Trustees of her alma mater, the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), McCaffrey is deeply committed to advancing women in real estate as well as STEM fields.
Real Estate Development
Vice President of Development, Seaport; WS Development
In her leadership role at WS Development, Amy Prange has spent the last 8 years overseeing the Seaport Project: 7.6 million square feet of mixed-use development across 20 city blocks, creating Boston’s newest neighborhood. To date, Prange has successfully delivered 1.1 MSF of commercial office/lab space to Amazon and Foundation Medicine, Inc collectively, along with leading her team on the design and construction of Harbor Way, Boston’s newest public linear park and home to 104 new mature trees spanning 4 city blocks, dramatically contributing to the urban tree canopy for years to come.
Prange currently manages the development of several projects under construction, including Amazon’s second tower and One Boston Wharf Road, a 700,000 SF project that will feature ground floor retail and a new performing arts center. One Boston Wharf Road will be the largest net-zero carbon office building in Boston, with completion targeted in mid-2024.
Prange is a passionate supporter of women, and in 2023, she was recognized by CREW Network, an organization of 14,000 members, with the Member-to-Member Impact Award for the 111 Harbor Way Development, a project boasting 25 women on the team.
Prange has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Before transitioning to development, she worked as a licensed civil engineer for Nitsch Engineering providing civil site design, site permitting and stormwater masterplanning services for the firm’s clients. Amy also worked at Colliers International as part of their Development and Consulting Services group, providing OPM services for high-profile projects including Boston Public Market, Envoy Hotel, Godfrey Hotel and North Bennet Street School..
CFO, Greatland Realty Partners
An experienced leader, Lauren Sullivan has been Chief Financial Officer for Greatland Realty Partners since 2021, leading and overseeing all finance, accounting, and general administration of the firm.
Prior to joining Greatland, Sullivan held senior finance roles at Related Companies and Pembroke and started her career in audit at Deloitte.
She is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Georgetown University. She has made great contributions in her role as CFO of Greatland Realty Partners, as a leader in other companies, and is a Board member for REFA (Real Estate Finance Association).
Start-Up of the Year
Founder & CEO, Ionic Development Company
As the Founder and CEO of one of the only women-owned development companies in Boston, Kaitlin McCarthy is a transformative real estate leader, committed to fostering positive change within her projects and communities they impact.
Under McCarthy’s leadership, the Ionic team is currently working on some of the most exciting development projects in and around Boston. These projects include Parcel D-4, the first all-affordable housing development in Boston’s Seaport neighborhood that will deliver 200 units of income-restricted housing. Ionic is also part of one of the teams seeking to redevelop 6-acres of land near the Massachusetts Convention Center.
Prior to founding Ionic, McCarthy served as Vice President at The HYM Investment Group, where she played a key role in landmark projects such as Bulfinch Crossing, a 2.9 million square feet mixed-use development in downtown Boston, The Sudbury, a 46-story residential tower, and One Congress, a monumental 52-story office building. Prior to joining The HYM Investment Group, Kaitlin was a management consultant with The Boston Consulting Group and held several roles at Turner Construction Company, including head of the financial reporting department for the Boston office. Her visionary leadership, commitment to representation, and impressive track record in transformative real estate development are a testament to CRE leadership.
President & CEO, Boston Development Group
Boston Development Group’s President and CEO, Jodie Zussman began her career in Philadelphia, where she worked for a major developer and subsequently worked for Grubb and Ellis before starting her own third-party property management company. She has over 40 years of diversified real estate experience and currently heads Boston Development Group, where she oversees all departments of the BDG portfolio.
Almost five years ago, Zussman began an ambitious project: acquiring properties in Watertown Square that abuts BDG’s property at 51 Water Street. The properties were most recently occupied by a car dealership, gasoline station, lubritorium, and a residence. Each property had its own unique set of challenges including gasoline contamination, oil contamination, and asbestos. Additionally, there was widespread cyanide contamination due to the former presence of a gasometer on the abutting parcel. Gasometers were used to create natural gas from coal and one of the byproducts was cyanide.
Zussman took on the challenge of addressing the significant contamination issues at this Brownfield to transform it into a 224,000 square-foot life science/office center with over an acre of green space.
The second phase of the planned development also includes a daycare facility, providing much-needed childcare opportunities for area workers, and a ¾-acre park with walking paths, green space, improved crossings for pedestrians and an area for food trucks to bring in more foot traffic to the area. What was once an eyesore has now become a striking example of what someone with a vision can accomplish.
Located on the Charles River, the property will attract even more development, revitalizing an area of Watertown that is currently dormant. The second phase has been approved and entitled and will involve razing the buildings where the gasometer and machine shops were located. Even more contamination will be addressed during this phase of the work that will revitalize the area.