RG 268 – The Story of One of The Most Influential Women in Real Estate – w/ Ashlee Cabeal

The real estate industry has always been a male-dominated space. However, more and more women are emerging as some of the most powerful and influential individuals in the industry, and one of them is none other than Ashlee Cabeal.

Ashlee Cabeal is a real estate investor, a CPA, and the CFO of Hamilton Zanze, a private equity real estate investment firm with over a billion dollars worth of assets under management. Ten years ago, Ashlee started her career at Hamilton Zanze as an intern, and now she stands as the Chief Financial Officer of the firm. How did she do it? And in such a male-dominated industry, at that?

In this incredibly informative episode, listen as Ashlee shares what Hamilton does behind the scenes in terms of acquisitions, scaling, and management, as well as the concrete benefits of investing in multifamily properties. As someone who started at the company doing the nitty-gritty work, there is no one better than Ashlee to explain the full picture of what Hamilton does on the financial side of things in clear detail.

Moreover, as one of the most powerful women in real estate, Ashlee also shares some valuable pieces of advice for women who are trying to make it in an industry that is inherently dominated by males. Tune in to this episode and learn about Ashlee’s growth, her background, and how you can achieve the same level of success as she did.

Key Takeaways

  • Being the jack of all trades can help you understand the business on a deeper level.

  • In multi-family, you are buying an established stream of income; there is no development risk.

  • Understand the full picture first and then decide which path you want to take in your career.

  • Your experience doesn’t matter—if you are interested, walk into the room.

Be Bold, Be Brave and Go Give Life a Crack!

Listen to Podcast

Podcast Transcript

Ashlee Cabeal (00:00):

Even when I go to real estate conferences now, you know, I used to be one in 10, right. One female to every 10 males. And I’d say we’ve grown that to three or four, uh, for females to every time males, which is, you know, you see the growth you’re seeing in the industry as a whole. Right. But I still think that it’s almost job specific, right. And transactions is still, I think, you know, uh, probably behind in the grand scheme of things, but we’re working to improve that.

Speaker 2 (00:40):


Reed Goossens (00:40):

Welcome to investing in the U S a podcast for real estate investors, business owners, and aspiring entrepreneurs looking to break into the U S market join Reed. As he interviews go getters risk takers and the best in the business about their journey towards financial freedom and the sheer joy of creating something from nothing

Reed Goossens (01:00):

G’day ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to another cracking edition of investing in the U S podcast from Los Angeles. I’m your host Reed. Goossens good as always every with us on the show. Now, I’m glad that you’ve all tuned into learn from my incredible guests and each and every one of them are the cream of the crop here in the United States. When it comes to real estate, investing, business, investing, and entrepreneurship, each show, I try and tease out their incredible stories of how they have successfully created the businesses here in the U S how they’ve created financial freedom, massive amounts of cashflow, and ultimately create extraordinary lives for themselves and their families life by design. As I like to say, hopefully these guests will inspire all of my cracking listeners, which are you guys to get off the couch and go and take massive amounts of action.

Reed Goossens (01:46):

If these guys can do it. So can you now, as you know, I’m all about sharing the knowledge with my loyal listeners, which is you guys, and there’s absolutely no BS on this show, just straight into the nuts and bolts. Now, if you do like this show, the easiest way to give back is to give us a review on iTunes. And you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter by searching at Reed Goossens. You can find the show, every podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and Google play, but can also find these episodes up on my YouTube channel. So head over to Reed goossens.com, click on the video link, and it’ll take you to the video recordings of these podcasts. You can see my ugly mug or the beautiful faces of my guests each and every week. All right, enough of me let’s get cracking and into today’s [inaudible]

Reed Goossens (02:32):

During the show, I have the pleasure of speaking with Ashlee Cabeal. Ashlee is a CFO of Hamilton. Zinn’s a real estate investment firm with a portfolio of over $4.3 billion. That’s right. A B, B with a billion, with a B that specializes in multi-family investments across the United States. The company is one of the nation’s largest privately held multi-family syndication company with over 20,000 apartment units under management. Ashlee started her career as an, in a very much male dominated world of real estate investing over 10 years ago, she’s a public certified accountant, a CFO expert in 10 31 exchange tax exchange program. And Ashlee’s passionate about championing young women in the business, particularly in industries where women are underrepresented. I’m really pumped and excited to have her on the show today with me to share her, her incredible experience and her insight, but never to me, let’s get out of here.

Reed Goossens (03:23):

Get I Ashlee, welcome to the show. How are you doing today? Great, thanks. Thanks for having me. My pleasure, my pleasure. Well, I really enjoyed, uh, that little intro there and having a female entrepreneurs on the show. I know I’ve talked, I’ve talked to a handful of them over my time of doing this podcast. And as we said a little bit in the green room, it is a very much male dominated industry, and I’d love to get into that and how you’ve, you know, part may credit your path in, in this, in this, in this industry. But before we do, can you rewind the clock and tell me how you made your first ever dollar as a kid?

Ashlee Cabeal (03:54):

Yeah, so it was probably going into my dad’s office in San Francisco. He was a accountant and then started doing real estate investing and doing odds and ends office tasks. So that’d be filing, making copies, shredding, um, just having a small glimpse into what it’s like to work in an office. I’d say that’s how I made my first dollar. So granted it did come from my dad, but I was still working for it. And

Reed Goossens (04:19):

Did I hear he, you said he was also in the taxation field.

Ashlee Cabeal (04:23):

Yeah, so he was, uh, he started his career with the IRS and then he went into public accounting. Um, and then he went into private practice and then he kind of ended his career doing his own real estate investment investment and having his own family portfolio that he managed. So very similar path,

Reed Goossens (04:41):

Let’s say, yeah, yeah. A very similar path. So then bring us forward, walk us through the journey and vulnerability. It was always best on the show. People love that sort of stuff. Um, how have you gone to create your path in, in, in very much a male dominated world? Um, as I, as I mentioned in the intro.

Ashlee Cabeal (04:59):

Yeah. So, like you said, I started at Hamilton Zales as an intern in 2010 and I started the job not knowing a thing about real estate. Didn’t know what a cap rate was. Can, can tell you anything about real estate. Um, I did understand a balance sheet and an income statement for being a CPA and going back to school and all that stuff. And, um, I went back to grad school during the great recession, not knowing what I wanted to do. I grew up in Silicon valley. I thought I was going to go work in private equity or venture capital and do something exciting like that. Um, and while I was looking for my internship, my dad said, why don’t you try real estate, uh, just take a summer, learn about it. Your family’s invested in it, be good for you to understand real estate.

Ashlee Cabeal (05:39):

And I was like, no, I don’t want to do real estate. Um, but I went in and I met with Kurt, who’s our CIO and one of the principals and, you know, thought why not? I get to stay in San Francisco for the summer and learn about real estate and obviously something stuck. Right? And, um, when I started Hamilton dance, it was a lot smaller than it is now. There was only about 20 employees. We got to wear a lot of hats and, you know, through my first two and a half months there, uh, I loved it. I real estate is tangible. It’s real. You can see it, you can touch it. Um, and so it all clicked for me. And I stayed on through my second year of grad school, graduated early and then started my full-time job. And I just, I put my head down and I, I wanted to learn as much as I could, as fast as I could.

Ashlee Cabeal (06:27):

Um, I took every opportunity I could to, to figure out what HCI was doing and to understand the structure of our deals, um, asked a lot of questions and I, wasn’t afraid to ask the questions and, and raise my hand. And, and it’s tough. It’s intimidating sometimes. And those rooms to, to ask a question, right. And you’re afraid it’s a dumb question, or you’re afraid someone’s going to judge you for it. But I think there’s something inside majority of the people who work in real estate that they want to teach. Right. And so if you’re willing to listen, um, and kind of watch and observe how things are working, I think you can learn a lot. Uh, the first office that I worked in within Hamilton and Zan, semi majority of our office space is kind of open space, right? So a lot of us are sitting in a room together.

Ashlee Cabeal (07:11):

Um, and I was sitting in a room with Kurt, how Cooper, our CIO, and three other of us that just started and just listening to him on the phone calls, talk to brokers, or talk to lenders, you pick up so much stuff. So I think the willingness to ask the questions and, and truly listen, um, I think is really important. And there are times where, you know, I’ve felt the, the feels of being a female in the room. And I wouldn’t say necessarily at Hamilton vans, but you know, outside of our company, I would feel it. But, you know, I think you just, you just almost not kill them with kindness, but, you know, just say, Hey, I’m trying to learn and trying to understand, and I have some questions for you if you have time for me. Um, and you just, you know, you prepare yourself as, as you continue to work hard and demonstrate your skills.

Reed Goossens (07:55):

That’s awesome. That’s an incredible story and something that is, you know, really, I don’t know if it’s not heard of, uh, I’m, I’m a millennial. I don’t know if that’s going to say for, to my age, but I feel like a lot of younger people jump around jobs trying to figure themselves out. Did you have, was that jumped from your CPA world? Was that jumping around and you just landed, you just got lucky and you landed in a place that you really, really loved and obviously absorbed as much as you could.

Ashlee Cabeal (08:22):

Yeah. So, uh, so I started out college at price, Waterhouse Coopers, so big audit firm. Um, I started in the banking industry and what I learned there is one I didn’t want to be in public accounting, even though it’s great. And you, you get a great base, but I really liked the teaming at PWC. So even though it’s a large company, you’re on smaller, more focused teams, you get to know your managers, your senior managers, your partners. And I knew that about myself, that I liked kind of that smaller environment where you really get to know people and, you know, form a team. And so when I started at Hamilton and it was, I mean, to be honest, it was my second job ever really, truly, um, going from PWC to school, to Hamilton and Zahn. So I don’t know what it’s like to jump around.

Ashlee Cabeal (09:05):

Right. Um, but I know what it’s like within Hamilton Sans to jump around different departments and, and work with different. But I think, um, for me, it was really important to, to work in a place that ultimately became like my family, right? Like I’ve gotten married and had kids and all of that stuff. I got to share with the people that I work with at Hamilton and Xanax. And I think we, the thing about the company is that we truly care about each other, but we also care about our investors and our investments and our residents. Right. And there’s, um, there’s something there that, that keeps me, um, at Hamilton and dance and keeps me happy. And, um, there’s continuous learning too, which I think, I think a lot of times people jump around because they may get stagnant. Right. And they are stuck in that position. And I completely get that because if, if I wasn’t continuing to learn and there wasn’t exciting stuff to work on, you know, I probably probably would’ve made some changes, but every real estate deal is different. Right. You can say, oh, this one’s going to be a plain vanilla deal, but you know what, they never turned out to be that way. And when you close that deal, put a bow around it. It’s probably one of the best feelings.

Reed Goossens (10:12):

Yeah. No, that’s exactly right. It’s so addictive. Right.

Ashlee Cabeal (10:17):

Tell me about

Reed Goossens (10:18):

The growth like you, you, you, you said you, you entered, uh, Hamilton stands at 2010. So you were intern. What, where were they at that stage and how have, has your progression within your career into now becoming the CFO, which over 20,000 unit portfolio, $4.3 billion under management, like that’s huge. How have you, how has the company grown and then prepare a little, how did you grow to take to that position? Because it is a very, very influential position in an organization which has so much assets under management.

Ashlee Cabeal (10:49):

Yeah. So, uh, when I started the company, there were 20 people work in all for the same motivation of investing our friends and families capital and value add real estate. And so I think at the time I joined, there was probably 7,000 units under management, again, coming out of the great recession. So they had a couple of years that were slow buying years, right. They weren’t, weren’t buying a ton of deals. And then 2010, 11 started to pick up and our acquisition pipeline picked up. And so we also, when I’d say 2000 13, 14, 15 kind of came along, we were also repositioned in our portfolio. So we had kind of figured out we had grown, we had gotten scale kind of understood what type of property worked best for us. What were those metrics? You know, we throw around 200 plus units is best for us, right.

Ashlee Cabeal (11:37):

Just giving us that size property is better for us. We operate that better. We like a thousand dollars in EGI per unit, right. We like 1980s or newer. So piecing together, those facts kind of helped us reposition our portfolio. Right? So selling smaller properties that were maybe older that were just not producing the cashflow, that we were looking for, the returns that we were looking for. So there was growth in ramping up just buying properties in general, and then also repositioning our portfolio to kind of bigger and better. And we had a lot of debt maturity that was coming due. And, you know, we did a lot of buying in 2005, 2006, 2007, before everything kind of seized up so that we use a lot of 10 year debt. So we had a big wall of debt maturity staring at us in the face that we had to reposition our assets, buy newer stuff, you know, close out our 10 31 exchanges, a lot, a lot of our structures, 10 31 exchanges.

Ashlee Cabeal (12:31):

So that’s kind of our growth pattern. And at the same time, we were working with institutional partners and buying one-off deals and just growing our platform and increasing our recurring revenue through asset management fees. That was a big deal for us is, is the more units under management, the Memorial recurring fees we have, and we can continue to grow paralleling my career growth on that path. So started as an intern. When I took my full-time job, I was working in transactions, asset management, and a little bit of the finance department and just helping with some of the corporate books. Um, as we grew, we kind of had to make the decision of what, what do you want to be like, where do you want to go? What do you want to do? You can’t do all of this stuff, but I’d say doing all of that stuff, um, taught me a lot.

Ashlee Cabeal (13:17):

Right. I understood the asset management side of it. I understood our corporate side of it. Um, and obviously I, I went to transactions cause I love it and I was passionate about it. And there’s just something about doing deals that, you know, lit a fire in me. So I spent, you know, eight or nine years just solely focusing on transactions, whether it be acquisitions, refinances, um, transactions or dispositions. And then in 2019, uh, when our previous CFO left, you know, it kind of fit. Um, and it was an exciting opportunity. And I think it goes back to the theme of continuing to learn. Uh, it was a hard decision though. It was, uh, it was tough. It was an internal conflict. Um, because I love the transactions. I love the relationships that I built, you know, with lenders and brokers out in the market and other sellers and buyers like meeting people across the table when you’re buying and selling a deal is, is always nice to, to meet those people and continue to do transactions with them in the future. So a lot of internal conflict, um, you know, in, in making that decision. But, but ultimately I did it, uh, I took the job, but I, I kept a piece of transaction with the closing group with me so we can see the closings. But, um, yeah, that was, that was kind of my path. And so it’s been, it’s been a fun journey

Reed Goossens (14:35):

And, and growing from 7,000 units to 20,000 units, how has, how how’s the company changed? Because you talk about culture early on and being in there and rolling your sleeves up and everyone’s getting dirty, their hands dirty, you, you sort of wearing different hats and that’s how we are in our, and we’re only four or five people, you know, we’re, we’re a lot smaller than you guys, but, um, H how does that transition to then being, you know, cause you never want to get the fear of being pigeonholed, right? Like you, and now just this, right. And that’s all you do. You’re just a cog in this piece of this huge machine. So how, how does that, how does that keep evolving when you get it to 20,000 units and, you know, over $4 billion in assets?

Ashlee Cabeal (15:13):

Yeah. So there’s definitely now, you know, much more defined departments, right? We have an asset management team and we have an investor relations team, but I think the way that we keep that kind of grinding, you know, in the details is that, you know, we’re still pretty small relative. We’re just under, just around 50 employees. Uh, we all know each other really well. We have family meetings when we’re not in this COVID environment where we’re all together talking about stuff. I think the water cooler talk is, is really important at Hamilton and dance. You find out a lot about what’s going on in terms of deals, right? And we’re an open book if you’re in accounting and you want to know what’s going on in transactions, come to the transaction meeting, right. And everything in a real estate company like ours, everything plays off of each other, right?

Ashlee Cabeal (15:57):

You’re not working in a silo. The investor relations group is selling the equity and the deal that the acquisition group is buying and the asset management group has helped determining the business plan along with the construction manager. So there’s a lot of interplay within the office, you know, figuring out how to get the deal done because there’s so many pieces that you need to put together. So it’s a lot of collaborative work. Um, we like to travel together and we like to go see the real estate together. And I think, you know, also if you’re interested ask, and we’re not going to say no, you’re an IAR. You can’t, you know, go on an acquisition due diligence trip because that’s hindering your growth. Right. I feel like it makes you a better investor relations person. If you see the real estate and you understand what we’re buying. And I think seeing the properties and understanding how it all fits together as a big part of a real estate and understanding of being successful at whatever kind of crew you have in real estate,

Reed Goossens (16:50):

100%, I can completely agree. I think having that, you’re coming from that lens on my side of the fence where it’s, you know, me and two other partners and we’re doing everything right. Like it’s just, you know, and our investors, like, we want to come see the property. All right, well, who’s going to go see, who’s going to go walk it with them. Right. And, and, and then trying to, I’m doing the construction management and the asset management. And so just trying to do everything together, but then as you grow, keeping that, I don’t want to say grassroots, but a feel that you can have access to everything and you need to, because as you just mentioned, the culture within H Z will be that you, then everyone understands each, each piece in each function and helps their individual skillset grow, or whether it be attracting capital or debt or asset management or construction management, it all understand, you understand the bigger picture.

Reed Goossens (17:36):

And I think so many people, you know, we’ve talked about ceilings before jumping around. They don’t ever get that look into where are we going? Where’s the ship sailing to, and if you never have those conversations with even people who are lower down the totem, they just don’t feel like they’re worthy. Right. Like, you know, so I think having that culture of openness in how you want to become an get on-site, let’s go because you, it needs to be from a growth point of view. Tell me a little bit about how the acquisition strategy has changed over the years now that you’re growing so quickly. I love what you said before the EGI of a thousand dollars. I remember when I first went to Texas and started buying assets and class C assets, right? Like 6 5700 was the average wrench. Now it’s 1200, you know, it’s grown. So what are you guys doing? And where are you buying? And I know you’re across the country. So, so what, what do you like right now?

Ashlee Cabeal (18:26):

We like value add returns, I’d say, say that. Um, and it doesn’t have to be necessarily the value add space. Sometimes we’re finding value, add returns on the core plus space, a new construction, or we see management as kind of, you know, we think we can do a better in terms of management. Right. So wherever we can find those value, add returns, we’re kind of chasing. Um, so, you know, and, and if you put metrics around it, uh, you know, we like 30 years or newer, right. I know I said 1980s, but ultimately we would love it if, if the assets no older than 30, there’s always exceptions to the rule. Right. So, but I had to put something around it, 1980s or 1990s, or newer 200 plus units, um, good EGI infill location. Um, so kind of all those things that everyone’s looking for, right.

Ashlee Cabeal (19:13):

We know how competitive it is right now. There’s so much money in the market. Doesn’t feel like there’s a lot of supply. Um, so where we’ve seen, you know, a lot of our success in the past couple of years is quasi off market transactions, right? So we have really good relationships with sellers out there and brokers and, you know, say a deal falls out of contract, you know, maybe we’ll get the first next look, um, cause we’re going to close on the deal. Uh, so we’re, we’re chasing yields. Uh, we’ve moved out east, we’ve moved to the Midwest. Um, once we land in a spot, we like to grow our portfolio within that spot, you know, 2000 to 3000 units. It’s kind of that sweet spot, especially with, you know, our partners started a management company back in 2012. Right? So to have the economies of scale in that market is really helpful. Owning one asset somewhere is not as efficient for us as our asset managers are traveling and regional managers and whatnot. But yeah, we just, we love real estate. We love projects. We have a construction management team that’ll come in and, you know, establish a business plan for us and help us improve the property. Um, and so we’re, we’re, we’re all over the place right now. Um, I wish I could say we’re focused on one market, but, but we’re kind of, kind of everywhere at this point. What

Reed Goossens (20:23):

Markets are you in high level? Yeah.

Ashlee Cabeal (20:26):

So, uh, so when Hamilton Dan’s first started, uh, we were primarily west coast, everything we’re based in California, but we own no multifamily in California. So starting up top, we have Washington, Oregon, Phoenix, Texas, Nevada, uh, Idaho, that was kind of our initial base. At first 2016, we made a job to the Eastern and we purchased a portfolio of properties in 2016 out there. And so that was kind of our first jump to the Eastern seaboard. And then we kind of traveled up. So we are in Virginia, um, Connecticut, we just, you know, grew a portfolio or purchase properties in Nashville, Tennessee. Now we’re in Kansas, we’re in St. Louis. Um, so kind of all over, we’re not in Florida yet. We’re looking at Florida, but we haven’t, haven’t made the jump there, but it’s kind of like a little smile, uh, if you had to do the United States. But, uh, so we are in, let’s see, 15 states and 27 assets.

Reed Goossens (21:21):

That’s incredible. And that’s, that’s, that’s, uh, take your hat off it. So we all aspire to be that one day. Yeah. It’s been fun. It’s been

Ashlee Cabeal (21:29):

It’s, it’s, it’s been fun. It’s been a lot of work, um, and challenging, but it’s been, it’s been really fun. You meet so many great people along the way. Um, and people who, who champion, you know, Hamilton’s, and instead of continue to grow their portfolio, and

Reed Goossens (21:44):

Now as we transition into, you know, you’ve seen it from the coalface, right. You’ve been in early in the stage of after the recession, you could see you’re in the, in the trenches with Hamilton’s dance when they’re buying straight up to 2008, 2009, where, where do you think these processes are going? Like how much more can cap rates compress? And there’s some of the secondary tertiary markets, because obviously you, you have a lot more data I’m just in Texas, right? I’m in two markets in Texas, but what are you seeing nationwide? And, and like, is it just the rent growth story you have to believe in that. And that’s all you can believe in old. Do you think cap rates will continue to compress even further?

Ashlee Cabeal (22:20):

I think, uh, I think there’s a couple of things that play one financing is really inexpensive right now. Right? And as long as that is keeping up with that cap rate compression, which it is right now, people are going to continue to buy. I think also we’re at a really good spot in terms of people need homes, right? And the construction pipeline and supply has not kept up, you know, during these past years of apartment grow. So that is why you are seeing such a compression on cap rates. And I feel you’re going to continue to see that because the demand for housing is continuing to grow. Um, and our delivery of housing, um, has not kept up with that.

Reed Goossens (22:57):

It’s very strong. Do you ever see a swing back? If, say you say financing, S H I T is the bed, you know, you start to, you start to get interest rates at expanding and obviously cap rates a, a function of that. Do you see it going back the other way, or, you know, back in the day, you probably what you’re buying things at 6, 7, 8 caps back in 2012, I was gonna

Ashlee Cabeal (23:18):

Say now, where are you finding those? Can you get [inaudible]

Ashlee Cabeal (23:22):

For sure. Yes. Yes. Um, I, I see a changing, but at the same time, I think in the multifamily market, um, you’re buying an established stream of income, right? Like there is, there are rents coming in and there is money it’s developed. It’s there, it’s not, there’s no risk. If there’s no development risks, there’s, there’s nothing you’re buying it’s proven. Right. So I think, no matter, even if, if interest rates go up, you’re still going to have a pent up demand for multi-families. So yes, cap rates may go up slightly, but I don’t see the days of six, seven cap rates coming back anytime soon,

Reed Goossens (24:01):

Is that because of historically real, estate’s been an alternative asset and you seen a lot more bigger players, you know, the wall streets types coming into this space. Does that have anything to do with

Ashlee Cabeal (24:10):

It? For sure. You see, I, I feel we see new players every day, right? If we, if you asked me six years ago, if I knew the types of groups that would be bidding on our assets, that we were bought, that we were selling, or how many groups we’re competing with on the buy side, I could probably name most of the groups that we would see right now. There’s just new groups, every time that we’re meeting. And there’s just so much money, I think, especially multifamily, which has been the sweetheart for many years. I know, you know, industrial is probably taken that over a little bit right now, but it’s a really stable asset flow for an alternative investment and the tax benefits for investing in real estate, as people continue to learn about them, which I think, I think they are. I think people are getting more educated at the benefits of investing in real estate. You’re still going to continue to see very strong equity flow into this asset class.

Reed Goossens (24:59):

And I think, you know, with my international tinge, I also know that cap rates here in the United States and commercial assets are still a lot more attractive. Like even an office building in New York city at a three cap is probably more attractive than an office building in Hong Kong. Right. You know what I mean? So you having a lot of international money flooding into the country. And

Ashlee Cabeal (25:20):

I think, I think the, you know, we have the backstop of Fannie and Freddie, right. Who truly believe in affordable housing and they’re going to do everything in their power to continue the supply of affordable housing to the American people.

Reed Goossens (25:34):

A hundred percent. Yeah. Okay. I want to transition as we come to the end of the show into your passion, which is helping to grow, uh, female and pound females in a, in an industry that is not as dominated by female entrepreneurs. So what are you doing in Hamilton Xanax with other young interns that were in your shoes many, many years ago? How are you empowering them to, to be more, to speak up, to take control and to have a say in their career and how they, you know, being that is so male dominated.

Ashlee Cabeal (26:02):

Yeah. So we, a couple of years ago, we started a, what’s called the wheel program. So many large companies have it, but we, we brought as a Hamilton and Xanax. Um, it was spearheaded by, you know, Kurt and kind of the managing directors scene. You know, since we all kind of went through it at Hamilton and sands, where we were spending time in all of these departments, and we saw the benefit of that, we thought, why not bring that program, you know, officially to Hamilton and stance. So excuse me, we started the wheel program. Um, and you know, we’ve dedicated one position a year to a female candidate to make sure that we’re bringing in females to Hamilton and vans to teach them all the facets of real estate, right. Not, not them pigeonholing them in marketing, right. Or I are what you would traditionally see as a female role in a real estate asset management or investment company.

Ashlee Cabeal (26:52):

Right? So they start off in acquisitions, learning how to underwrite, learning the proforma, asking those questions. They move into asset management and working on establishing the business plan and executing, um, and then onto finance, right. To understand Yardi and how taxes are being done for our investors. And then they get a little, a little taste of legal, uh, which is a little bit harder because, you know, you’d probably need a lot of grief, but just to understand how everything is pulled together in a transaction, right. There’s securities issues, there’s, you know, figuring out our ticket group. So all of those things and just understanding the full picture. And then at the end, you know, we come together and we say, Hey, where, where did you feel the most, you know, excitement, what are you, do you, or do you want to go off and fly to another company and, and focus there.

Ashlee Cabeal (27:39):

Right. It’s um, but we want to give them the opportunity to learn as much as they can in a year long period, because I think it’s daunting to come into a real estate firms sometimes. And I think a lot of graduates probably like, I don’t know necessarily what I want to do. Right. And we want to give them the opportunity to figure it out for themselves and be able to ask all those questions to every department, um, that, that, that they can and learn. And so, you know, we had our first candidate go through and she had, you know, she’s working with me in the closing group. Right. And working on transactions and, you know, doing that staff. And COVID kind of put us back a year, but we’re, we’re bringing it back right out interviewing candidates to, to continue the program. But, and that’s one thing we’re doing, I’d say the other stuff is just the young females. We just want to encourage them to, to ask the questions right. And open door and don’t feel intimidated if you want to learn. And if you want to, if you’re an investor relations and you want to learn about transactions, do it, right. Like you’re talking to our investors, you’re at the front line, what can we do to help you learn that stuff? So, so that’s really important, um, for us and how we’re trying to foster this, this area of growth. How

Reed Goossens (28:52):

Are you seeing that in terms of the percentage of candidates coming to your, on your desk? What, what percentage are females and how have you seen it transition if it, if at all, since you,

Ashlee Cabeal (29:02):

So I would say it’s, it’s probably by job right now, right? So I’d say in transactions, it’s probably a lower percentage, um, of candidates. Um, I’d say an I R and marketing, um, even finance, it’s probably about equal. Um, as a management, it’s probably about equal to transactions is still probably a little more male dominated, but, and

Reed Goossens (29:23):

Have you seen that transition in the last 10 years since you’ve been with Hamilton? Sounds like, like what were one, when you were an intern, wouldn’t be, you wouldn’t have been, it would have been 50 50 on the investor relations or the acquisition.

Ashlee Cabeal (29:33):

No, no, no. It’s grown to that percentage through the years. Right. I mean, even, even when I go to real estate conferences now, you know, I used to one in 10, right. One female to every 10 males. And I’d say we’ve grown that to three or four, uh, for females to every time males, which is, you know, you see the growth you’re seeing in the industry as a whole. Right. But I still think that it’s almost job specific. Right. And transactions is still, I think, you know, uh, probably behind in, in the grand scheme of things, but we’re working to improve that.

Reed Goossens (30:07):

Well, I think it helps having a definitely self-aware leadership group that knows what it needs to provide in terms of you’re talking. I think you said wheel earlier, uh, about the letting them taste a little bit of all the different aspects of the business to support a culture of asking the question of being supported and not being judged and all that sort of stuff. And I think that starts from the top and you can’t have that organization change or industry change without leaders like yourself doing, doing the small stuff. Right. And making it effective because you won’t then attract the grads. You won’t then attract people to go into university saying, Hey, I want a career in real estate finance or real estate acquisitions because they don’t see people like yourself leading the charge and flying that flag. So I think, uh, so, so well done and good on Hamilton’s adds for, uh, for, for leading the way, I guess, in, in a, in a, in a male dominated industry,

Ashlee Cabeal (30:57):

I will say they, um, I’ve never felt, felt like a female in a real estate market and or job at Hamilton and Dan’s right. I think they have treated, they’ve always treated me the same at the best advice that, that Curt, you know, I say this all the time that Kurt ever told me was if you’re interested in walking to the room, right. And I’m gonna say the same thing to the people coming through our program, it doesn’t matter your experience or who you are. If you’re interested, walk into the room and ask the question.

Reed Goossens (31:23):

Yeah, love it. Love it. Well, last question, before we get into the top five investing tips is where’s, Hamilton’s dance headed to where you headed to in the next five to 10 years, and maybe it’s too far out, but what what’s are your personal goals? And obviously it probably aligns with Hamilton’s answer, but w where are you? Where are you going? Yeah.

Ashlee Cabeal (31:38):

So, uh, we’re, we’re, we’re continuing to buy, right? We’re continuing to, we want to deliver for our investments, uh, or investors, excuse me. Uh, so growing, not only our private platform, but, but institutional DST, uh, we are looking to launch our first fund, which, which we haven’t done at Hamilton’s answer yet. So it’s a big goal for us this year. Um, so those, those are big goals and a lot of work, uh, for us to continue along the way. But I think ultimately our principals are entrepreneurs. Uh, they want to buy more real estate and we’re trying to figure out the best way to do that. Um, for our investors

Reed Goossens (32:13):

Love it. Absolutely love it. And very interesting that you haven’t actually, after all these years of operations, you’ve never had a fund,

Ashlee Cabeal (32:19):

Not a true bond. Yeah. We’ve done small private funds just to give some of our investors diversification, but majority of it is 10 31 exchanges and tenancy in common structure. So this will be our first, first true venture into a big, big one awesome

Reed Goossens (32:33):

Stuff. Well, as we come to the end of every show, we like to go into the top five investing, ready to get into it. Okay. What is the question about what is the number one daily habit you practice to keep on track two? We’ll do a goals.

Ashlee Cabeal (32:48):

I work out every day that gives me a little mental balance. Um, and then I also try and spend time with my kids. So that’s yeah. Work-life balance work-life balance. Yeah. Love

Reed Goossens (32:59):

It. Love it. Question number two, who the most influential person in your career

Ashlee Cabeal (33:04):

I’m going to give to people. I’m going to say my dad, uh, and Curt health Cooper.

Reed Goossens (33:08):

Awesome. That’s nice. Awesome stuff. Question number three in the business, and then maybe your day to day business, what is the most influential tool? And when I say tool, it could be a phone or a journal or something physical, or it could be software like zoom or slack. What’s the most influential tool.

Ashlee Cabeal (33:24):

My trusty notepad, all my notes. Uh, so, uh, I tried write everything down, so I don’t forget something or, you know, felt that was important to me. [inaudible]

Reed Goossens (33:37):

Even on this show, I’m writing little things down so I can just the act of writing and then crossing it out. It’s like a little rewarder. I love it. Um, question before, what has been the biggest? I said the word failure. I don’t mean as a failure, but a mistake that you’ve made in your career. What’d you learn from that mistake or failure?

Ashlee Cabeal (33:55):

I think the biggest mistake is, you know, not speaking up almost, right. So not, not saying it hasn’t happened often, but I know after I leave a conversation, if I didn’t say what I wanted to say, I get my point across. I always feel a tinge of regret and I may circle back and I may do it, but that I would say those are, those are my biggest missteps. If I have an idea or I have something to contribute, making sure that, that I get my opportunity to say it. And at the same time, give other people the opportunity to say things and truly listen. So I’d say that’s all you always working on that.

Reed Goossens (34:27):

Love it, love it. And last question for you is where can people reach you to continue the conversation they want to be in your sphere? They want to find out a little bit more about what you do, where do they go? Yeah.

Ashlee Cabeal (34:35):

Go to Hamilton, sands.com. You can find me there. You can also find out more about the company, but please email me. Uh, if anyone has any questions, I, I love to meet new people and find out what people are doing in the industry.

Reed Goossens (34:47):

Awesome stuff. Well, look, actually, I want to thank you so much for taking some time out of your day to jump on this show. I want us to reflect some of the things that I took away from today’s show. I think that the evolution of your career trajectory in a male dominated world has been very, very impressive and how you’ve come in, uh, and be able to hopefully help drive the company’s culture in a way that is more allowing and open for people to be females in this industry to, to, to learn and grow. And, and the whole, if you’re interested in something, walk into the room, I love that attitude. And then having someone in a position of power like yourself, being a CFO of a massive company, also helps be the poster child for that next person coming along the next female entrepreneur, who wants to get into these sorts of roles in an industry.

Reed Goossens (35:30):

As I said, that is very much male dominated. And you can just look on the show. You know, I’ve, I’ve only had interviewed a handful of women on the show. Not not that I haven’t tried, but it just, that it’s just, there’s not as many. And so I think the whole championing of that is really, really awesome. And I just can drag congratulate you for everything you’ve done. And then also the awesome growth of Hamilton’s Anthony. You’ve been there every step of the way as they’ve gone from 7,000 units to 20,000 units. Uh, did I leave anything out?

Ashlee Cabeal (35:54):

That was great. This was fun. Thank you so much for having me

Reed Goossens (35:57):

Pleasure. My pleasure. Yeah. Lovely to meet you too. We’ll have to keep in touch, but uh, enjoy the rest of your week and we’ll catch up very, very soon.

Reed Goossens (36:04):

Take care. Thank you. Well, they have

Reed Goossens (36:06):

Another cracking episode. Jen Peck has an incredible stuff from Ashlee. If you are interested in anything they’re doing over there at Hamilton’s hands, please go to Hamot designs.com. If you do like this show, the easiest way to give back is to give it a five star review on iTunes, and we’re going to do it all again next week. So remember be bold, be brave, and go give life a crack.

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