Lisa St. John
Senior Vice President
Trammell Crow Co.
Claim to Fame: Head of leasing at Water Garden in Santa Monica
One of the top office brokers at Trammell Crow Co. might have been working for a bank somewhere in Asia if not for a fateful on-campus interview.
Lisa St. John's entire education and training led her to a career in international business. She majored in Asian studies in college, went to work for Citibank in Japan, then returned to the United States to attend Harvard Business School all the while figuring she'd end up doing deals somewhere in Asia. But on a whim, she decided to do an interview at Harvard with some on-campus recruiters for Trammell Crow.
"Next thing, I was interviewing with Mr. Trammell in Dallas. The real estate business appealed to me because it was much more informal than banking and more results-based," St. John said.
The fact that she's still working for Trammell Crow is something of a fluke as well. After being transferred to the company's Los Angeles office, she found that nearly all its local properties were industrial; St. John wanted to work on office deals. So she left for Tooley & Co.
"I had lots of interviews when I came out here," she said. "When I met with Craig Ruth (of Tooley & Co.), I offered to work for three months for free because I really wanted the job. Luckily, when he hired me, he paid me something for those first three months."
But last year, Trammell Crow bought Tooley & Co., landing St. John back with her former employer. She's got plenty of office properties to keep her busy now, though, including the Water Garden, J.H. Snyder Co.'s 665,000-square-foot office development in Santa Monica. St. John is head of leasing for the property.
With more than 100 closed deals to her name in the last two years, St. John has built up a reputation as a very sophisticated negotiator.
"She is absolutely stellar," said John McRoskey, senior vice president with Cushman Realty. "She's very talented at resolving complicated issues in transactions. Because of her talent, the owners give her a lot of leeway that most other landlord representatives don't have, and they entrust her to make decisions."
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