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Developing Leader Spotlight: Building a Legacy of Leadership

It’s no surprise that people frequently ask Liza Jablonski, a recipient of NAIOP’s 2016 Developing Leaders Award, when she finds time to sleep. This dynamic Developing Leader is known for going above and beyond the task at hand, taking leadership roles in and out of the office, and working to encourage and mentor the next generation of commercial real estate leaders. And, she does it all while getting a full night’s sleep.

Liza JablonskiAs director of business development for VJS Construction Services, Inc., Jablonski cultivates, develops, and follows new leads and redevelops relationships with existing clients; cultivates new and existing relationships with architects and engineers; evaluates the company’s strongest markets and surveys neighboring communities for future opportunities; and participates in the strategic planning process, among other responsibilities.

She previously served as assistant vice president – portfolio manager for Associated Bank, N.A. Jablonski worked for Associated Bank in various capacities for six years. She is currently pursuing CCIM certification.

Jablonski became an active and enthusiastic member of NAIOP Wisconsin upon joining in 2013. She served on the chapter’s Education and Programs Committee and currently holds the role of Developing Leaders chair. In 2014, NAIOP Wisconsin awarded her the Rising Star award in recognition of her exceptional professional accomplishments, as well as her leadership and contributions to both NAIOP and commercial real estate.

Beyond her work in commercial real estate, Jablonski volunteers in the community with organizations including the Salvation Army, United Way, Feeding America, the Milwaukee Riverkeeper and Jewish Family Services. NAIOP caught up with this vibrant leader to find out what powers her passion for making a difference in the industry and the community.

NAIOP: What motivated you to get involved in commercial real estate?

Jablonski: I have always loved real estate and its impact on the community. My career in CRE was a case of being at the right place at the right time. During my finance rotation in the Corporate Trainee Program at Associated Bank, I had the opportunity to meet with the then-executive of the commercial real estate department; that meeting led to the beginning of my career in CRE as a portfolio manager.

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

Jablonski: I love being an integral component of the transformation of the urban and suburban communities in which we work, live and play. In addition, I have been fortunate to have amazing mentors and now have the ability to pay it forward by mentoring students and other industry young professionals. I also have had the opportunity to create programs for our young professionals that provide an educational component along with connections to past, present and future industry leadership.

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

Jablonski: Being an active member of NAIOP has given me numerous opportunities to showcase my organizational and planning skills, leadership qualities, and my CRE industry knowledge. I have gained access to key industry players, growing my network and opening doors to new opportunities and experiences. My involvement in NAIOP has led to industry recognition as well as career advancement opportunities.

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

Jablonski: Get involved! I highly encourage young professionals to take an active role on a committee, which provides the chance to showcase their industry knowledge, leadership skills and work ethic. This will also allow them the opportunity to network and learn from other industry professionals.

This is part of a series of profiles of NAIOP’s 2016 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 2016 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Watch this two-minute video to learn more about NAIOP’s Developing Leaders program. The winners of the 2017 Developing Leaders Award will be announced in mid-August. 

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