CONNECTIONS: Q&A with Rachel Elias Wein, Founder & CEO, WeinPlus

Founder and CEO Rachel Wein of WeinPlus, offers commercial real estate strategy

Beginnings

Where did you start your real estate career? I was recruited out of grad school to work at EY in their Advisory and Transaction Real Estate practices. It was a fantastic training ground with a global team.

Name one person that has been influential in your career. It’s impossible to name just one. I’ve been fortunate to have several influential mentors and sponsors throughout my career. They’ve challenged and inspired me to reach for professional opportunities and to balance work, family and community.

Career

What is your biggest accomplishment to date? Founding a company in the depths of the 2009 Great Recession that has grown to be the principal strategic advisor to many of the most established and innovative companies in our industry.

What tools or resources do you engage to help you grow as a professional? I ask a lot of questions of professionals both inside and outside of the industry. I like to get outside perspectives on the challenges and opportunities we face. I’m constantly reading and listening to podcasts.

Company

What inspired you to launch WeinPlus? While I was with EY, I learned a series of strategies and skills that we deployed to large institutional clients that were relevant to the challenges being faced by real estate owners and operators during the Great Recession. I founded WeinPlus to support companies in transition with industry-leading strategy and implementation.

Describe your job. I serve as the principal strategic advisor to large owners and operators of real estate during times of enterprise-wide change. I join the team and work side by side with them on the largest opportunities and challenges facing these firms with their mission and values in mind.

Share a bit of insight into the company’s culture. We value teamwork and inclusion, adaptability and resilience. It can be challenging to adapt to a new client’s culture, to join their team and work together on change management. We’re conscious of balancing outside perspective with the needs of the internal team and finding ways to uncover and execute on opportunities together.

What is on the firm’s horizon in 2020? As a small team, we’re dedicated to providing a high level of service to a small number of clients. We’ll continue to service our existing clients while selectively adding to our client base as opportunities arise.

Talent

Are you currently looking for talent?  If so, what position & what skills are important for that position? I primarily hire to support the needs of my clients, so I’m always looking for talent. While specialization is important, I also look for candidates that are well rounded within and outside of the industry, building a series of skills that can be useful in multiple situations and can grow and change with the needs of the company.

What characteristics do you look for in a potential employee? An equal balance of hard and soft skills.

Do you conduct most interviews in person or over the phone or video?  What do you look/listen for during the interview? I usually start with phone interviews and progress to in-person interviews. I listen for the type of language the candidate uses to describe their experience, what they look for in a position and how engaged they are about their experience and the opportunity.

Do you review social media profiles of candidates?  If so, do you rule out candidates based on their online profile? I don’t review social media profiles.

What advice would you give someone who is just entering the CRE industry? Be a sponge, take in as much knowledge as possible. Meet people with different backgrounds within the industry to learn about what you may like to do. Stay open-minded about opportunities.

What general comments can you say about the talent within the CRE industry? There are a lot of strong candidates coming out of universities, so there’s a great pipeline, but there’s a lack of candidates in the 10-15 year experience range due to the recession. This is a challenge but also an opportunity for those that remain in the industry.

How does Poline Associates support your talent needs? Poline Associates has been a long-time partner in all areas of talent recruitment, retention and planning. They have a nimble and supportive team that has a far reach within the industry.

Fun Facts

What are you reading now? The Water Will Come – it describes the impacts of sea level rise. (It’s not as boring as the title suggests.)

Best vacation you have ever taken? We just took the kids to Israel for the first time; it was fantastic.

Where is one place you’d like to go, but have never been?  Morocco