Angela x Corey x Drew
We are going to do better work in 2020 than ever before. I know this. And I know this largely because of the three hires we made at the end of 2019. Angela, Corey and Drew each add something to the GSP team we just haven’t had before.
We’ve worked with Angela for many years. In her prior role at NKF she was often on the other side of retail deals from us. She was (and is) knowledgable, honest, diligent and generally easy to work with. In truth, when Dave and I thought (for years) about our options for adding brokers to our team we were always judging such against Angela. Simply put: there is no-one else Dave or I have worked with in the past ten years that we have as much confidence in as Angela.
Retail leasing is really hard these days (retail is just hard these days), but it’s arguably more important than ever for our clients with mixed-use assets. Getting deals done in this market – and being creative from a transactional perspective – requires specific retail leasing experience, confidence, a strong network, and also the desire to get more involved in non-leasing matters that touch development, asset management, and urbanism. Angela has all of these competencies. Her addition to the team allows us to finally say yes to more work and immediately gives us a better understanding of the local and national landscape. She’ll be leading projects with Dave that focus on retail merchandizing, planning, and leasing.
Early in 2019 I began having conversations with colleagues, clients and friends about our need to step-up our game on master planning teams and do better urban design work. Corey wasn’t the first or last person I spoke to about filling this role at GSP (candidly I wasn’t sure we could get her here), but like with Angela on the leasing front, she was the person I stacked everyone up against over the past year. She had prior private sector training (at Utile), public sector leadership experience (at the BPDA), and teaching credentials (MIT and Harvard) — any two of the above three bona fides would have been a home-run here; all three is unique and special.
Corey thinks, writes, and speaks about cities in a way that not only mirrors the existing Graffito MO, but will further inform and color our collective thinking. And her addition to the team gives me the confidence that we can more effectively communicate about and guide urban design decisions and considerations on our projects. This is something absolutely threshold to our continued success, and to now have Corey at the helm of this piece of our business is so very exciting.
Drew has been a collaborator and pal to me and to Graffito for years. When I started to actively explore growing a branding and creative services practice at Graffito, Drew served as a sounding board for me. He has super unique experience that has at times overlapped with Graffito projects — prior Chief Creative Officer of a PR and marketing firm, principal of his own creative agency, past fine art gallery owner, drone pilot, photographer, sticker lover, etc etc — and he understands what motivates us at Graffito.
Simply put, Drew brings to Graffito a wildly valuable set of multidisciplinary skills that we have never had in-house before. As an artist, entrepreneur and designer, Drew has the ability to touch so many pieces of this business beyond just being our Creative Director. He will be rolling out Graffito’s creative service offerings over the first half of 2020 and while some of it will be a surprise to you (yes Graffito really is going to build websites and identity packages for its clients!), this is something we have been eyeing for a while. Kicking it off in parallel with our larger restructuring and hiring push just makes so much sense to me.
In sum, we’d be better in 2020 with the addition of just one of the above three individuals. To add them all within the same few months at the end of 2019 is a remarkable opportunity for us and marks a major turning point in the trajectory of Graffito. Yeah, we can do more and we can do it all better now, but most exciting to me is that we are now so much better equipped for market changes that are coming…. And we are now set up to deliver further on the reputation we have developed: respected leaders when it comes to figuring out the ground-floor of urban neighborhoods at scale — how to plan them, build them, lease them, program them, phase them, and how to tell a strong and real story about it all…. This has been what has fueled us the past ten years; it is what will fuel us for the next ten too. We can just do it better now.