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 Ashlyn Delson, SVP of Corporate Marketing, to learn more about how she got into the CRE industry and what she loves most about her role.
Did you choose CRE or did CRE choose you? What drew you to Berkadia?
I have worked in commercial real estate for pretty much my entire career! I started out in the industry when I was 23, working for a REIT that owns, manages and leases shopping centers across the country. I worked as an Assistant Marketing Director in one of their local properties, was soon promoted to Marketing Director, and eventually I was responsible for all marketing, comms and events for several properties in the portfolio. In 2014, I went to work in the corporate office, overseeing Corporate Communications for the company and building out an internal public relations team. A couple years later, I moved to Berkadia to do the same thing. That’s exactly what drew me here – it was this fantastic opportunity to create and scale a marketing and communications function for a company with a bright future ahead of it. I was given a wide-open runway to do just that, and that’s not something you find in many corporate environments.
Describe your career path at Berkadia.
I started in 2016 as Berkadia’s first Director of Communications! At first, I was responsible for the PR strategy and execution, mostly on the production side. That evolved into overseeing external and internal communications for the company, which included media relations, social media, executive communications and employee engagement initiatives. In 2020, I was named VP of Corporate Marketing, and oversight of our corporate events function was added into the fold. That year, I also built out a dedicated marketing function to focus on branded materials and collateral, like brochures, one sheeters, etc., plus content that positions us as a thought leader in the CRE space. This year, I was promoted to SVP, and the team now includes Brand, PR, Integrated Marketing, Internal Comms, Events, and Intel & Ops. Sometimes I look back on where we were when I got here in 2016 – a team of 4 – and I can’t believe how much our team has accomplished and grown!
What are your “keys to success”? What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself entering the commercial real estate industry, or the corporate world itself?
I think I’m still finding new keys to success every day. Just when I think I’ve “mastered” something or gotten really good at it, I find a new way to look at it, or I get feedback that tells me…maybe I’m not as great as I think I am at that one thing! Always be open to learning something new about yourself, even if it is tough to swallow. It will make you better AND stronger in the long run.
What has been the biggest challenge for you at Berkadia? Or what’s the biggest challenge you’re faced with at the moment?
Berkadia grew so rapidly in the seven years I’ve been here, so my biggest challenge has always been adapting to that pace of change. We went from having a very small team where everyone did a little of everything and our work was extremely project-focused; to being a larger one that had to scale itself accordingly and create a vision and structure that made us consultants, and not task-takers. That’s still a balance we need to strike every day, but I think we’re making it work!
How has your time at Berkadia helped to accelerate your personal or professional development?
In the time I’ve been here, I’ve experienced some of the biggest joys of my professional and personal life. Professionally, I earned my MBA from Villanova in 2021. I am a first-generation college grad, meaning that I was the first member of my family to graduate from college, and now also the first to obtain a graduate degree, so this was a huge milestone for me in my life. Personally, my husband and I welcomed our second child to our family via foster care and adoption in 2020. Berkadia supported both of these life changes not just financially, but by also offering me the time away from work I needed, to focus on my family and my growth.
What part of your leading the Corporate Marketing team are you most passionate about? How were you able to grow your team so quickly?
I’m most passionate about managing and building a team of experts in their respective fields. It’s a privilege to work with the people I get to work with every day – and it’s a bonus to learn from them, too!
We went from a team of four to a team of 26 in just four years. Luckily, I have an incredibly supportive MC that sees the value of marketing and believes in what we can do for the Berkadia brand. I was able to voice what we needed and when we needed it – and how to prioritize those needs based on the company’s overall strategic vision and focus. MC was receptive, allowing us to hire over 20 new team members over the years, and we’ve shown some pretty robust results from that investment in our time together.
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-Ashlyn Delson, SVP – Corporate Marketing