CRE Future Leaders: Tabitha Dozier
An associate with NAI Hiffman, Tabitha Dozier has managed more than 4.5 million square feet of commercial real estate on behalf of a wide variety of landlord clients. She has also worked with over 100 tenants including Sears Holding Corp, PODS of Chicago, PepsiCo and more. Dozier has an extensive background in lease analysis, including Real Estate Tax and Common Area Maintenance reconciliations.
Tell us about your background. Where did you grow up, where did you go to school?
I grew up in St. Louis—born and raised a Cardinals baseball fan. After high school, I attended Cottey College, a private all-women’s college, in Nevada, Missouri.
When you were young, what did you aspire to be?
I’ve always loved animals and aspired to be a veterinarian at a very young age. As a kid, I’d find and bring injured wild animals into the house…a bunny that didn’t make it, a baby black bird that—now that I think about it—wasn’t hurt and ended up flying away and a tailless squirrel I named Peter. After Peter bit me (I still have a scar) I quickly learned I didn’t like the sight of blood, or the idea of putting animals down, so I didn’t pursue veterinary studies.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I started out working as a property manager for residential homeowners’ associations. I saw an opportunity to expand my knowledge base by entering commercial real estate, and when there was an opening with NAI Hiffman, I jumped on it. After managing an industrial portfolio for a few years, I saw another opportunity to enlarge my knowledge by entering the brokerage world and switched roles. I now focus on office brokerage in the North and Northwest suburbs with executive vice president Jason Wurtz.
Did you have a mentor who helped you get on your feet, or is there someone you turn to now for support?
I originally partnered with vice president Aubrey Van Reken and focused on tenant representation in the East/West Corridor. I learned a lot from her and am very grateful for the time we spent together. Overall, NAI Hiffman offers its brokers a tremendous amount of support, from the wealth of knowledge shared by the property management teams to the mentoring provided by the shareholders. We all turn to each other for support.
What does a day in the life of Tabitha Dozier look like?
I’m typically in the office or touring the market for most of the day. I just changed markets from the East/West Corridor to the North/Northwest Corridor, so I’ve got a lot of learning to do.
What do you like most about your job?
The people—this includes not only the clients I’ve helped, but my colleagues at NAI Hiffman and other firms. I’ve met some remarkably good people over my short time in this industry and feel very fortunate. I also like the brokerage process itself. Every deal is different and challenging in its own way—you must think outside the box, and it’s an amazing feeling to work hard on a project and watch it come together at the end.
Looking to the future, what do you hope to achieve/work on that you haven’t already?
I aim for daily progress. I hope to learn more, work harder and be a better person than I was yesterday.
How do you spend your time away from the office?
I’m with my three-year-old son, Oliver. He’s at that age where he likes to be involved in whatever I’m doing—so if I’m working, he works on his Learning Frog computer and if I’m cooking, he’s standing on a stool helping. If I’m cleaning, he’s usually making a mess in another room. Weekends are all about the adventures. I’ve always lived an active and healthy lifestyle, so it’s important to me that Oliver grows up appreciating that. We like anything outdoors, hiking, visiting new parks, seasonal activities, etc. It’s all about the memories!
What is your favorite place that you have traveled to? Where do you hope to go next?
I was 17 and my family and I went on a family vacation to Cancun, Mexico. It’s one of my favorite memories. So now, every time I think “beach vacation” I want to go to Cancun. Eventually I’d like to splurge and take a trip to Cambodia, though. My mom was born and raised there, and we still have extended family living there. I’d love to visit.
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