BeBerkadia Spotlight Series: Mat Polanco

November 16, 2022

Describe your newly expanded role at Berkadia. What part of your role are you most passionate about?

I transitioned from leading business development at redIQ to Berkadia Innovation in 2021 during significant organizational change. I was brought in to help keep product operations running smoothly and to tactically solve ambiguous business challenges we faced. In April, we began a new chapter when Damu Bashyum joined Berkadia as EVP and Chief Innovation Officer and I was fortunate enough to join the “Office of the CIO” as Program Director of Innovation. In this new role, my focus is communications, org-wide goal setting and portfolio reporting. But ultimately, my objective is to improve how we work and collaborate as one Innovation TEAM.

I’m most passionate about connecting the dots between people, teams and initiatives. In a sizable organization, with a such a wide breadth of capabilities, responsibilities and opportunities, it’s not a trivial effort to keep everyone on the same page.  It can be challenging to craft a single narrative that everyone can align with. This is a challenge I take to heart, and one we’re tackling with a few different initiatives, including Operating Reports, organizational goal setting, quarterly Townhalls and more.

Did you choose CRE or did CRE choose you? What drew you to Berkadia?

Early on in life, I was always fascinated by all parts of Real Estate. The more I learned, the more I was drawn to the industry. While attending Rutgers University, I found an opportunity to get licensed and become an office leasing broker in Manhattan. Considering how much of a grind that job is, I became obsessed with leveraging technology to create an advantage for myself. Shortly after graduating, I joined Berkadia.

Where do you see your career at Berkadia going?

Berkadia, and the CRE industry, offers seemingly endless opportunities in both technology and traditional real estate careers. Coming out of this year’s CRE Tech conference, I know there’s a future where I do not need to choose between the two, especially considering Berkadia’s heavy investment in and commitment to technology. Although I’m feeling fulfilled in my current role, I won’t rule out the possibility of exploring any future opportunities to leverage my sales experience in an Investment Sales or Mortgage Banking role.

Considering I am newly minted in a management position, I tend to work with more experienced people. What used to be intimidating is now one of the things that has been most impactful in shaping my career. And for now, I fully intend to make the most of this experience to “get my hands dirty” in a wide range of areas and learn from incredibly talented colleagues with much more experience than I do.

We’ll see where God takes me.

Tell us about your involvement with PolarisCon

Historically, PolarisCon is Berkadia’s biggest innovation event—an event to present out our roadmaps, strategic developments and more. With so many different roles and branches within Innovation, it’s great to get everyone together in one place and on the same page.

I had the opportunity to work on this year’s Hackathon in Midvale, Utah alongside Gary Mumford, Berkadia’s Chief Technology Officer for about a month leading up to PolarisCon. I helped prepare, plan content and spearhead the organization around the event, which turned out to be quite successful.

We have such a deep pool of talented individuals in Berkadia Innovation, and I’ll jump on any chance I can find to showcase that to the rest of the company and the CRE industry!

What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself coming into the CRE industry?

  • Trust God.
  • Innovation and technology can provide immense value to all industries. But without a business use case and an addressable market, it’s easy for it to all fall flat. Find ways to maximize both sides.

How has your time at Berkadia helped to accelerate your personal or professional development?

At Berkadia, it feels like we’re in a constant state of change and improvement. Each pivot brings an opportunity for individuals to take ownership and grow professionally.

Berkadia’s investment in technology is truly reshaping the industry. Berkadia has offered me the opportunity to be at the forefront of bringing one of humanity’s longest standing industries into the future. All while merging two areas of focus I’m most passionate about.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Berkadia Innovation is always evolving. We’re still a young team within a young company. But we’re learning, we’re growing and we’re taking enormous strides, unlike anything we’ve seen before. All I can say is that I know I’ll look back in the future and be amazed that I was a part of it.