“Find a Senior Mentor” With Jason Hartman & Janine Yorio

Find the power brokers early in your career and figure out how to imitate what they have done, and possibly even wrangle a way to become a part of their inner circle. Build a powerful network and call on those people to help you out at every step. The most successful people I’ve watched are […]

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Find the power brokers early in your career and figure out how to imitate what they have done, and possibly even wrangle a way to become a part of their inner circle. Build a powerful network and call on those people to help you out at every step. The most successful people I’ve watched are the people who found a senior mentor early in their career and then did everything possible to ingratiate themselves to that person. That is a recipe that seems to work.

Janine Yorio is the CEO and Founder of Compound, a new investing app that lets users buy shares of condos in the world’s hottest luxury markets, including Miami, Brooklyn, Austin, and more. Yorio is a successful NYC based entrepreneur who has managed over $2 billion in real estate investments throughout the course of her career. With its cutting-edge technology, Yorio estimates Compound has the potential to create over $10 billion a year in new demand for condo properties nationwide.

Thank you so much for doing this with us Janine! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Real Estate industry?

Growing up, my mother worked as an architect. For most of my childhood, I watched her work really hard as she designed buildings all around the world. She often took me with her on business trips, where I would hold the tape measure as she scribbled measurements on to blueprints. She would meet with developers and speak to building owners. Although they respected her professional skill, they owned the buildings, so they called all the shots. That power dynamic was obvious, even to a little girl like me.

My unique childhood taught me two very important lessons that I have kept with me forever:

  1. Never rely on another person to secure your financial future.
  2. Owning buildings can give you power and financial security. It’s best to be the owner.

It also inspired me to pursue a career in real estate.

My career path has led me to a unique niche at the intersection of real estate and consumer brands, and Compound is the product of those passions. I was previously head of real estate development at Standard Hotels, and prior to that, I was a portfolio manager at NorthStar Capital, a real estate private equity firm, which, at the time, managed more than $4 billion in institutional capital. Compound’s technology-enabled marketplace enables everyone to own a piece of the world’s best cities.

Can you tell our readers a bit about your work with Compound?

We think of real estate by geography, and specifically, cities first. Owning a city apartment has become too expensive for almost everybody, and today, 55 to 65% of people in urban areas are renters. There’s no way for individuals to capture the growth of the cities in which they live, work, and contribute to.

Let me paint a picture. If you’ve visited Nashville recently, you’ve seen that the city is growing in an explosive and exciting way. Beyond just the music scene and bustling restaurants, there is construction underway throughout the city — -cranes everywhere and an effervescent culture that combines southern hospitality and liveliness. People love it there. Cities inspire, especially when the growth and energy is palpable. But there’s no easy way to capitalize on this growth; the barriers to entry are too high from both a capital intensity and manpower standpoint.

Compound allows people from all walks of life to invest in the cities they love. And there is plenty of the information available through our app so that you can make an informed investment decision. The accessibility of Compound extends beyond us being “mobile-first.” In our opinion, real estate is intuitive to everyone. If you eliminate the jargon and overcomplicated models that have long been associated with real estate investing, anyone can grasp the value of a property based on what city it’s in, the neighborhood, the amenities, and so on. So at Compound, we take care of the investment analysis involved with property selection and allow our users to invest based on their affinity for the properties and cities.

We think everybody should be able to participate in the very growth and prosperity of the cities and neighborhoods they are helping to build. So, that’s what we’ve set out to help our investors accomplish. Owning real estate has always required access to serious capital and getting on the ownership ladder has been near impossible for most. With Compound, people will be able to access real estate (which has historically been the best performing asset class) in small dollar increments. Our product allows people to build wealth through capital appreciation.

Are you working on any exciting new projects?

Always! One thing I’m really excited about is global expansion. We have all the plumbing in place and are ready to start syndicating apartments in major cities all around the world. Our solution takes the headaches out of investing, owning, and managing properties globally, and our objective is to serve up the world’s best cities on a platter (or app) and allow everyone to buy and sell pieces of them in a really simple way.

Can you share your most interesting career story? Was there a lesson or take away from that story?

I needed to secure a $700 million creative, structured financing for a real estate project I was trying to finance. There was literally one firm in New York City that could make a loan like that, and I was determined to get what I needed from them. I hunted down the principal — by asking his assistant where he would be eating dinner that night. I showed up (uninvited) at the restaurant, very politely explained what I was trying to accomplish and why he should take a look. He thought I was mildly insane for stalking him — but ultimately, he did the deal.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?

I have a few important mentors. My old bosses, the ones who spent years mentoring me, continue to be powerfully positive forces in my professional life. One of my biggest regrets is not turning to them sooner, since I have learned the life lesson that there are few people (other than your parents) who are rooting for your success as much as the generation of professionals who groomed you. Mentoring younger professionals is so gratifying and is one of my favorite things to do, so now that I’m in that position, I have a better understanding of how senior people really feel about their hires. It’s an almost parental bond and a genuine desire to support their future success.

I’ve also assembled a pretty kickass group of both formal and informal advisors who are my close personal female friends. Many of my girlfriends have attained pretty senior levels in big companies, and they are my closest friends, so I count on them for advice on every topic from hiring to marketing to morale. They keep me sane and generously share their wisdom. Honestly, they are my superpower.

Less than 20 percent of senior positions in Real Estate companies are held by women. In your opinion or experience, what do you think is the cause of this imbalance?

Competing against the old boy’s club can feel intimidating and lonely. It’s a very cutthroat industry to begin with, and then being the only woman in the room can feel very tiresome and futile. A woman has to have thick skin and persistence — and some very strong allies along the way — in order to climb her way to the top tiers. It’s not for the faint of heart.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women executives that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

Men don’t have to wear high heels.

Just kidding.

I think people have a lot of unconscious biases about women — — our capabilities, work ethic, brain power, etc. By its very definition, it’s hard to change people’s unconscious biases.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Real Estate industry?

  1. Rise of the Retail Investor. Blackstone has demonstrated the tremendous buying power of retail investors who, until recently, were largely neglected by the private real estate investment industry. Today, Blackstone is raising upwards of $700 million a month from retail investors. Today’s retail investors are informed and love real estate investing. We predict a massive new audience of retail investors who actively invest in real estate as part of their portfolios.
  2. New tech hubs. Thanks to the rise of remote work and the skyrocketing costs of housing in places like Silicon Valley and New York City, new tech hubs are emerging where the startup ecosystem attracts talent and creates jobs. Places like Salt Lake City, Columbus and Birmingham, Alabama. Prices will rise in these cities as well-paying jobs are created, and we will witness prices come to parity the way that Los Angeles and Boston prices have become almost equal with New York City prices.
  3. Urbanization. People are moving to cities at a record pace, and by 2050, 68% of all people will live in cities,compared to 55% in 2018. This increasing trend towards urbanization will have an impact on people’s housing preferences, and we believe this will lead to city price appreciation outpacing suburban and rural home price appreciation.

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?

  1. High barriers to entry
  2. Lack of transparency — real estate investing is opaque.
  3. Affordability

Ok, here is the main question of our interview. You are a “Real Estate Insider”. If you had to advise someone about 5 non intuitive things one should know to succeed in the Real Estate industry, what would you say?

Find the power brokers early in your career and figure out how to imitate what they have done, and possibly even wrangle a way to become a part of their inner circle. Build a powerful network and call on those people to help you out at every step. The most successful people I’ve watched are the people who found a senior mentor early in their career and then did everything possible to ingratiate themselves to that person. That is a recipe that seems to work.

Real estate is also a very entrenched industry, and it can feel like things will never change. But things do change. From Airbnb shaking up the hotel industry to WeWork changing the office leasing game, even the old models are often disrupted.

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