Tara Stacom and her husband recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of their marriage (which Stacom describes as ‘blissful’) by traveling together in India.
But it wasn’t strictly a pleasure trip for the Cushman & Wakefield star, who flew out a few days early to meet with prospective tenants.
“My husband said, ‘Don’t you ever stop?’ ” Stacom told Real Estate Weekly.
The answer, it seems, is no.
In a career that has spanned 30 years, Stacom has been responsible for more than 40 million square feet of leasing. In 2012, the Real Estate Board of New York awarded her the prestigious Deal of the Year award for 2011, recognizing Conde Nast’s 1 million square feet lease at One World Trade Center, where she is head of leasing.
“It gives me such a rush, it really does,” Stacom said of the high-profile assignment. “It’s surreal, it really is. When I stand at the base of that building and I look around, and I look up, it’s really just inspiring. It really is the pinnacle of commercial office buildings around the world.”
In January, Stacom was promoted to executive vice chairman at Cushman and Wakefield, the firm where she has worked since 1981. Her father, Matthew Stacom, has also spent his career at Cushman. The daughter remembers growing up with a 10-foot-tall rendering of the Sears Tower hanging in the family room where she played. Her father was head of leasing for that building, which recently lost its status as the tallest building in the western hemisphere to 1WTC.
Stacom (who is also the sister of Darcy Stacom, a top-producing investment sales broker with CBRE) didn’t go straight into the family business. She was planning a career on Wall Street when she graduated college. Her first job was in sales, for HBO, but after one year the entire 14-person team she was hired with was laid off. “I went home and my dad said, ‘You’re not just staying here and not working,’” she recalled.
So she joined him at Cushman and the rest, as they say, is history.
“It was a ‘father knows best’ kind of thing,” Stacom said. “He always knew I’d be great at it.”
In her early years, she said, she frequently worked alone, something that she says long prevented her from recognizing the value of collaboration in real estate. “A lot of brokers didn’t believe I would be long in the business,” she said, adding later, “I got into a bad habit of not recognizing the value of contributions from other team members.”
Today, she says, she has learned the error of her ways. She cites building a wide network of collaborators as one of the keys to successful dealmaking, including reaching out to non-brokers for technical and strategic support.
Consulting with investment banking early on in the 1WTC leasing assignment, for example, struck some of her colleagues as odd. But that help was instrumental to bringing The Durst Organization in with the Port Authority as a joint venture partner, a move that Stacom said helped attract the quality of tenant 1WTC needed.
“I like having a team that’s diverse in terms of skill sets, personality, age — on every level,” she said.
Stacom will be speaking at the Real Estate Weekly Women’s Forum today (Wednesday).
A trustee of Lehigh University, she was behind the recently launched real estate minor in the business school, called ire@l. “My first two graduates were women,” she said.
In her free time on weekends Stacom enjoys golfing, running, hiking and shooting birds, a hobby she took up after college to fill the role lacrosse and field hockey had played in her life as a student.
But her favorite occupation might be her work.
“I definitely live within six blocks of the office,” she said. “I’m very passionate about what I do.”