An innovative direction

Developing Leader Spotlight: Inspired to Take the Lead

Commercial real estate is a world of limitless opportunities and new adventures every day, says Katharine Watts, a 2015 NAIOP Developing Leaders Award winner. Her sunny disposition has helped Watts develop a reputation as a respected leader who can be counted on to do an exceptional job no matter the task – or the challenges – while maintaining a positive attitude.

Katie WattsAs a vice president of Colliers International, Watts specializes in brokerage services, both locally and across the U.S. Her responsibilities include lease negotiation, complex financial analysis, leveraging market opportunities and new business development. She has been actively involved in transactions in excess of $550 million. In 2014, Colliers International recognized her as a Top 5 Producer; she was also voted Broker of the Year by her colleagues.

Watts joined NAIOP in 2006 and has served on the NAIOP Northern Ohio Awards of Excellence Committee, including in the role of vice chair, and on the chapter’s Education Committee. She actively supports several community organizations, attending several fundraising events each month. NAIOP checked in with this accomplished young professional to learn more about what powers her success.

NAIOP: How has being a member of NAIOP helped your career?

Watts: Being an active member of NAIOP has played an enormous role for me in building a rapport with the local real estate community. This was especially instrumental at the beginning of my career and continues to prove its value today, as I do a great deal of business with other members of NAIOP. Networking and mentoring opportunities, accomplished through events and personal initiatives, are invaluable.

NAIOP: What are some of the most rewarding aspects of your job?

Watts: The opportunity to become so fully engaged with many different types of people and organizations is fascinating to me. No two deals are alike. Also, as a native Clevelander, it’s invigorating to be intimately involved in the resurgence that has been taking place in the city over the past few years, with even more development in the pipeline for years to come.

NAIOP: What advice would you offer to other young professionals in commercial real estate?

 Watts: Strive to achieve a balance of humility and confidence. There is always something to learn in this business whether it’s your second or 20th year. Being open to always learn and adapt helps to keep you humble while also gaining valuable experience that strengthens confidence.

NAIOP: Who has been an inspiring or influential figure in your life?

 Watts: My parents inspire me every day. The incredible love and thoughtfulness they show towards everyone in their lives is truly special. Among many things, they have taught me how to be strong when faced with challenges, the power of positivity, to be inquisitive, thankful, thoughtful, and to stay true to myself.

This is part of a series of profiles of NAIOP’s 2015 Developing Leaders Award recipients, who have distinguished themselves through exceptional commitment and contributions to the industry. This prestigious award was presented at NAIOP’s Commercial Real Estate Conference 2015 in Toronto. Read about all of the honorees in the Winter 2015/2016 issue of Development Magazine.

The recipients of the 2016 Developing Leaders Award will be recognized at Commercial Real Estate Conference 2016 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Watch this two-minute video to learn more about NAIOP’s Developing Leaders program.

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