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REBNY to honor leadership of MaryAnne Gilmartin

By REBNY President John Banks

Next month, MaryAnne Gilmartin will be honored with the Real Estate Board of New York’s prestigious Bernard H. Mendik Lifetime Leadership Real Estate Award. For those of us who know MaryAnne – president and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies – like my colleagues and I do, this achievement will come as no surprise.

The story of MaryAnne’s three-decade career is a testament to her relentless pursuit of success, her keen wit and wisdom, and the perseverance that empowered her to redefine real estate in New York City.

First of all, there is a lot to learn from MaryAnne’s steadfast approach to overcoming the challenges of building a career from the bottom up. She once said that “everybody should have to wait tables at one point in their life” – and she did just that in order to pay her way through college.

After graduating from Fordham University, she was selected as a New York City Urban Fellow.  She landed her first job at the city’s Public Development Corporation – now known as the Economic Development Corporation – and got right to work by structuring deals that kept major corporations from leaving our city during the 1980s.

Not long after leaving the public sector, MaryAnne joined Forest City Ratner Companies as an assistant vice president in the mid-90s, and she never looked back. You can begin to understand her accomplishments at the company just by mentioning some of the iconic projects that have benefited from her leadership.

MaryAnne oversaw the development of the New York Times Building after winning the deal with a presentation that her friends in the industry still marvel at today. She led the way on building and leasing 8 Spruce Street, the Frank Gehry-designed residential tower that helped revitalize Lower Manhattan. And she cemented her legacy by bringing us Pacific Park and Barclays Center, which will help grow Brooklyn’s economy for generations to come. When she took over for Bruce Ratner in 2013 as CEO, there was never any doubt that the baton was being passed into the right hands.

Having established herself as one of the foremost leaders of our industry, MaryAnne still finds plenty of time to give back to her colleagues by serving on REBNY’s Executive Committee and Board of Governors, where her presence contributes a smart and savvy sensibility. Perhaps more importantly, she has devoted time to mentoring young women who want to pursue their own adventures in building a real estate career. For example, she has worked with the Urban Land Institute of New York’s Women’s Leadership Initiative to help inspire college students and new hires by sharing the insight and professional skills that have gotten her this far.

MaryAnne said, “The opportunities today for women are much better than we ever expected, but let’s not forget that these changes are a result of hard work at all levels.”

Yes, let’s not forget. Let’s start by raising a glass to MaryAnne Gilmartin at next month’s REBNY gala when she accepts her well-deserved award for a lifetime of inspirational leadership.

In other REBNY news:

On Friday, December 9, Jesse Rhinier of DSA Realty and Gary Kyian of Perfect RE Solutions Inc., will lead our Residential Rental Clinic Seminar from 9:30 to 10:30pm in the REBNY Mendik Education Center. Contact to register.

The Mayor’s NYC Retrofit Accelerator is partnering with REBNY to offer owners and managers an opportunity to learn how to manage their buildings’ steam heating system more efficiently. Our Steam Heating Efficiency Seminar on Thursday, December 15 from 8:30 to 9:30am will help participants better understand why steam systems often underperform and equip them with steam heating system improvement strategies.

There is no cost to attend this seminar to be held in the REBNY Mendik Education Center. Contact to register.

Please join us for our 121st Annual Banquet, New York City’s largest real estate networking event, on January 19, 2017 from 7:00 to 11:00pm at the New York Hilton. In addition to MaryAnne Gilmartin, the black tie affair will also celebrate the achievements of NYC City Planning Chair, Carl Weisbrod; Marc Holliday of SL Green Realty Corp.; Jed Walentas of Two Trees Management; Bill Dacunto of Silverstein Properties; Peter Riguardi of Jones Lang LaSalle and Lindsay Ornstein of Transwestern. Purchase tickets online at and consider making your company’s brand more visible to our membership by pursuing a sponsorship opportunity for the Banquet or advertising in REBNY’s 2017 Journal. Contact for more information.

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