At Berkadia, our success is built upon the talent and hard work of a broad, diversely skilled team. From analysts to loan closing specialists to managing directors each of our people brings a unique background, perspective and expertise. Their work allows Berkadia to remain a leader in the commercial real estate industry.
Today, we’re shining the spotlight on Meghan Pellens, Director-Production Operations, Analytics, to learn more about her role at Berkadia, what advice she would give to her younger self, and her passion for Berkadia, even after her short time away.
Describe your role at Berkadia.
I currently serve as Director-Production Operations, Analytics for the Production Operations team at Berkadia. Prior to moving into this role, I solely supported the Mortgage Banking network, focusing on performance-based analytics and special projects aimed at enhancing the Mortgage Banking experience for our dedicated network. Following in the footsteps of One Production, unifying both sides of the production network, my new role has expanded to support the entire Production network with an additional concentration in strategic initiatives and planning, and a mission to serve as the consolidated point of contact for all things analytics and data related.
What brought you back to Berkadia? How has your in-between experience at other companies impacted your role?
The culture – when you speak to any Berkadian about what makes them love this company, there’s a good chance they’re going to bring up the culture. In my brief time away, it was the number one thing I missed. Many companies advertise culture as one of their core values but fall flat on execution. In my interactions with my immediate team, the broader network, and the enterprise, I am always met with thoughtful, innovative individuals who are truly driven by helping others succeed.
Prior to leaving Berkadia, I had a phenomenal relationship with my team and colleagues, but, if possible, my brief in-between experience only further enhanced that bond. Knowing I’m surrounded by a company that sees me as a person, values my contributions, and is always there to offer a helping hand, has a sizable impact on my output and desire to contribute to the company’s success.
What excites you most about CRE?
One thing that always fascinates me about CRE is how fluid not just the industry is, but the business. In some industries, the logistics are static, you follow the same process from point A to B with the same result. While buying and selling seems like an age-old process, in CRE, each deal is a snowflake. Two properties may appear the same on paper but end up with very different terms based on the needs and specifications of the client. In the same breath, two producers working those deals may have entirely different approaches on how they do their business. I’ve worked with producers who still use back of the napkin math for preliminary sizing, and I’ve worked with producers who make use of cutting-edge technology to build the best pitch possible. On any given day, the market, deals, and way we do business change, but one thing remains consistent – Berkadia’s dedication to the client.
What is the biggest current challenge (or sense of uncertainty) for CRE professionals in your sphere, and where are you seeing opportunities right now? What has surprised you recently?
It’s no secret we’re in a downturn. While the lack of pipeline does not have a direct impact on my day to day, as I’m not calling clients or sizing deals, figuring out how to support the network and give them the tools to succeed when the market does turn is my top priority. As we’re going into a time of decreased business, I’m energized by the fact we’re not going into a time of decreased productivity. This year gives Berkadia a significant opportunity to build out new tools, reporting metrics, and features that will continue to put us a step ahead of our competition and enhance our business when the market turns back our way.
After our National Production Meeting earlier this year, while not surprised per say, I am still in awe of Berkadia’s ability to make rain into rainbows. While our competitors are facing layoffs and tightening up, Berkadia is forging new alliances, promoting teamwork and collaboration, and making the best of a turbulent situation. It’s easy to run scared in difficult times, but it’s a privilege to work for a company that isn’t afraid of a challenge and flourishes in the face of adversity.
What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself coming into the CRE industry? What is the best advice you have received?
The best advice I could give to my younger self is don’t be afraid to try something new and always be open to learning. My degree is in Biology and had you asked my younger self if I ever imagined working in an industry other than science or healthcare, my answer would have been a quick no. But had I been resistant to working in a new industry and learning about CRE, I never would have ended up in such a dynamic industry, nor with a company that supports me as much as I support them.
The best advice I ever received was from my first boss in my professional career and it was “go look it up” regarding something I didn’t know how to do. As a recent college graduate, I was terrified the first time he said it, but now, being several years into my career, I value it as tough love that shaped me into who I am today. I’m self-taught in most of my analytical skill sets, partly from an insatiable desire to learn, but more largely from that self-sufficient, self-starter advice that was engrained in me from the start of my career. Asking for an answer typically yields a quicker result and has its time and place, but it can never replace the knowledge gained from teaching yourself a new concept or skill.
Where do you envision your career going?
When I envision my future, I see endless possibilities with Berkadia. With One Production, there is so much opportunity for advancement and improvement. We can continue to build self-serving tools that give the network better visibility to their performance, give office leads tools to better manage their teams, and give management more insight into how to best support the network. I want to be at the forefront of those initiatives, both leading the drive and providing the data, serving as the double-edge sword. One thing I truly love about my role is that it’s multifaceted. One day can be solely dedicated to a dashboard build, the next packed with project-related meetings, and the last kicking off something entirely new. In addition, on a weekly basis, I’m collaborating with teams and silos company-wide. Continuing to support Berkadia and advance in my career while having the opportunity to have a dynamic role never bored by the same daily routine, is what turns a role with one company into a lifetime career.
When you’re not helping Berkadia move the industry forward, how do you spend your time?
Outside of Berkadia, you’ll mostly find me spending time with family and friends. I’m a Villanova alumnae, so my fall and winter months are usually spent at men’s and women’s Villanova basketball games cheering on the Wildcats. And in the warmer months, I’m itching to get outside to relax on the patio, take a walk, or go exploring. Being near the water has an incredible ability to help me reset, so I also try to get away as often as I can. If I can read a book, watch/hear the waves, and unwind, I’m happy as can be.
How has your time at Berkadia helped to accelerate your personal or professional development?
I like to think that every aspect of my role and each additional responsibility is an opportunity to learn and further my skillset. Whether it’s a brand new skill or an existing skill that’s being enhanced, there’s always an opportunity to better myself, which in turn betters the company. In 2019, Berkadia was just starting to use Power BI for self-serving analytics. I was tasked with learning the application to support the Mortgage Banking network and while I had experience with BI tools at my prior company, I’d never used Power BI specifically. Now, almost four years later, adding that proficiency to my wheelhouse has not only resulted in a catalog of dashboards for the Production Leadership team, but has also greatly improved my analytical toolbox. In the same breath, I’ve always prided myself on being an innovative thinker, in both my personal and professional life. I’m constantly challenging prior approaches and past ways of executing to see how processes can be improved. In my tenure with Berkadia, I’ve had the opportunity to take on new projects that fulfill that mentality, even in my newest role with the addition of strategic initiatives and planning. Together with my colleagues on the Production Operations and Transformation teams, we’re determining new OKRs and setting audacious goals for the Production network, all while accounting for the turbulent times ahead. Not a day goes by where my work doesn’t keep me on my toes or keep my brain sharp, but that’s exactly what energizes me to come to work each day and give my best.
-Meghan Pellens, Director-Production Operations, Analytics