We are proud of all the talented and phenomenal developers who work for our company. We are constantly looking for the right person for every job—regardless of their race, religion or gender. So, while there aren’t many women developers in our industry, Bozzuto Development Company (BDC) enlists a strong team with an equal proportion of women and men. To give you an inside look at what it’s like to be a developer, we spoke with a few of the women at BDC.
What makes a good developer?
Lauren: A good developer is creative, collaborative, manages risk, stays flexible and is open to change. And since development is such a people-focused business, you also have to be relationship-focused, empathetic and an effective communicator.
Tess: A good developer is someone who approaches each project with excitement and passion to create a uniquely beautiful and inviting space.
Julie: Strong developers have the ability to toggle between the big picture vision and the myriad of details that make it happen. An early mentor of mine described it as being a musical conductor, knowing when and how to call on members of the orchestra—team members and consultants—to sound their best and make the symphony—or community—come to life.
Alisa: A good developer works collaboratively with their internal and external teams to inspire passion and expertise in each of their disciplines. In working with my teams, I believe it is my responsibility as a developer to transition from micro to macro thinking as we navigate the development process and balance being detail oriented with staying true to the big picture strategy.
Ramie: The development process is like a well-choreographed show, and the developer is a little like a circus ringleader. You need to be able to see the big picture and respond to many moving parts. At the same time, you need to be able to inspire a vision and get the audience, or in this case, consultants and community excited about the development. You need a strong voice, ambition, tenacity and the strength to never shy away from a challenge.
Who / what inspired you to pursue a career in development?
Lauren: Growing up, my parents owned a few rental properties in New Bedford, Massachusetts. I used to help them with some of the maintenance, cleaning and small jobs. From a young age, I appreciated the tangible nature of real estate. This early experience and my first job working alongside the talented developers at Beacon Capital on the Channel Center project in South Boston led me to a career in development.
Tess: I started my career with Bozzuto Management Company working at The Fitzgerald, a lease-up community in Baltimore. To me, The Fitzgerald felt like the start of a next generation of projects that would really push design, look to the surrounding neighborhood for inspiration and explore ways to create amenity spaces that could be truly lived in and utilized. My experience with The Fitzgerald development team inspired me to make the move to BDC.
Julie: After working in architecture for years, I was inspired to become part of the action on the owner side. I enjoyed the challenge of bringing together all of the pieces—permitting, construction, design, budget, quality, schedule—but I love realizing the vision for a new place.
Alisa: My passion for the built environment inspired me to pursue development. In graduate school, while studying city design and urban economics, I realized how bringing together interdisciplinary skills was a way to improve great places and build meaningful communities. In law school, I applied those skills to engage with communities through advocacy and land use. I feel privileged to be impacting, and hopefully, enhancing communities.
Ramie: My internship at Samuels & Associates made me realize I wanted to pursue a career in development. I saw the effect their development projects were having on the Fenway neighborhood in Boston and was inspired.
How has Bozzuto helped you grow professionally? What has your experience been like so far?
Lauren: I love the “One Bozzuto” concept because it allows me to collaborate with my talented teammates across all four companies. Bozzuto has a wonderful culture that attracts and retains the best and brightest, which makes it fun to come to work. Our amazing partners provide inspiration that pushes us towards exceeding our goals. I have had many
opportunities to challenge myself and further develop my skills as a developer and leader here.
Tess: With Bozzuto, I’ve had the opportunity to learn multiple roles from both the operations and development side of the business. This broad experience has helped provide me with the kind of perspective that, I believe, makes me a better developer. On the development side, I’ve had exposure to a variety of projects in terms of size, financing structure and construction type. Each has come with a unique set of challenges, expanding my experience and abilities as a developer.
Julie: It’s exciting to be in Boston contributing to the growth of Bozzuto in a new market. The collective knowledge Bozzuto has from its residential portfolio has given me the opportunity to learn, consider and prioritize how people live and work in order to design better communities. Our focus on the customer’s experience has greatly enhanced my approach to development.
Alisa: It is a privilege to be a part of our mission to create extraordinary experiences. Bozzuto encourages its developers to be entrepreneurial and innovative while providing a depth of support and resources. Currently, I am motivated by the trust Bozzuto has put in me to lead a dynamic, impactful, multi-phased mixed-use project.
Ramie: Since I started, everyone has been collaborative and supportive.
What would you share with other people who want to start a career in development?
Lauren: I recommend taking a job that gives you hands-on experience at the asset level. This allows you to understand the phases of the real estate life cycle and the developer’s role. I also recommend networking as much as possible. Early in your career, it’s key to form relationships with other real estate professionals—many will become your colleagues, partners and lifelong friends.
Tess: I believe it is valuable for a developer to first gain experience within another arm of the real estate industry. The role of a developer is all-encompassing, so whether you experience property management, construction or financing first, you’ll have a strong foundation on one piece of the process as you learn the rest.
Julie: I’d recommend getting involved in the development community. Network at great industry events, participate in local development projects through the public permitting process and get hands-on experience in the field or with related disciplines that you can bring to a future job in development.
Alisa: Find mentors early on in your career, and then be committed to being a mentor to others as your career grows.
Ramie: I would tell any young developer just starting out to be confident and follow your dream.