Cappy Daume openly admits that she doesn’t have the best work-life balance.
“I think that’s a sacrifice you make,” being a woman in a male-dominated industry, said Daume, managing director of asset management at The Davis Cos. in Boston. “A lot of women start to self-select out when they have families because it can be intense.”
Being in the male-dominated field of commercial real estate can also be intimidating, Daume said.
“It takes some mental toughness and letting things roll off your back,” she said. “I’ve always felt like I was focused on the task at hand and had the skills required to do the best job I could.”
Daume, who’s spent 24 years in the real estate industry, with the last three and half at The Davis Cos., was introduced to the business early in life. Her father and grandfather were residential land developers in Virginia.
“I fell in love with the energy and the people,” she said.
And being at The Davis Cos. seems to be the perfect fit.
“It’s like working at a 35-year-old start-up,” Daume said. “There’s a lot of good infrastructure and people in place. The business that we’re doing now is different from before and we’re going into broader markets.”
The Davis Cos. raised its first value added fund in 2009, and Daume is working on about 17 projects from that fund alone, she said. The company has also started raising funds for a second value added fund – about $350 million so far.
“My job is to make sure our team refines and executes a business plan, and that’s why I’m touching so many different projects,” Daume said, adding that some of the most interesting projects she’s working on are assets that were constructed 25 to 30 years ago and are being rejuvenated into something more appealing for today’s market.
“We’ve had several of these projects and they’re really quite intellectual,” she said.
‘Exemplary Role Model’
“Cappy Daume is an exemplary role model,” said Reesa Fischer, senior vice president of NAIOP Massachusetts. “Her in-depth knowledge of the industry and long-term relationships with other industry leaders enabled NAIOP to present the highest quality programming in the history of NAIOP.”
She is also a member of NeWIRE, Urban Land Institute and the Property Records Industry Association. In addition to these industry associations, she also heads up The Davis Cos.’ community involvement, organizing activities and events in order to ensure their success.
Daume is married and she has two children, ages 12 and 16. A self-described “lacrosse mom,” she also likes to play golf with her husband, but admits she doesn’t play enough because of work.
While things are looking good for The Davis Companies, Daume recognizes that the real estate industry as a whole has a lot further to go to fully recover.
“If you were around in 2006 and 2007 and you were participating in that marketplace … it was a party … that wasn’t sustainable,” she said. “Not everything grows to the sky.
“Today, you’re in a much more realistic marketplace where people clearly aren’t trying to pretend the party is getting better anytime soon,” Daume added. “I think it’s just a cautious market. A lot of this is just having to pay the piper for a party that was too good.”
While Daume doesn’t have the magic answer on how the real estate industry can improve, she suggetsts all it really needs is time. And for those looking to jump into the real estate industry, Daume has some words of advice.
“I’ve loved it and think it’s an exciting and lucrative career,” she said. “But you have to remember that overnight success is about 15 years in the making.”