Lena Duffield is a senior associate at Wheelock Street Capital, a real estate private equity firm based in Greenwich, CT where she works as a generalist focused on acquisitions and asset management across Wheelock’s opportunistic and core plus investment vehicles. Prior to joining Wheelock, Ms. Duffield was an analyst on the acquisitions team at Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing in New York City. While at Georgetown, she co-founded the Georgetown Undergraduate Public Real Estate Fund (GUPREF), a student-led investment fund that invests in CMBS and publicly traded REITs. Ms. Duffield graduated Magna Cum Laude from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, where she received a B.S. in Business Administration with majors in Finance and Management.
Q: How did you end up working in commercial real estate?
I discovered commercial real estate while at Georgetown; I had no awareness of real estate as a career path until a friend encouraged me to attend a speaker event the real estate club was hosting my freshman year. The event was an alumni career panel and opened my eyes to what else was out there besides the pipeline to investment banking! I also met Matt Cypher at the event. He has been a fantastic mentor from day one and connected me to my first industry internship at Artemis Real Estate Partners in Bethesda.
Q: Can you name some ways you see yourself helping other women break into the industry?
I currently serve as a board member of both the Steers Center (Associate Advisory Board) and the NYC Georgetown Real Estate Alliance; as part of my work for the Alliance, this year I launched a series of quarterly networking events for Hoya women in the industry along with Taylor Boylan (B’20). The latest event was this past week at Valerie in Midtown NYC. Part of this series going forward will be an annual summer event for both alumni and current undergraduate students, to enable the next generation of Hoya women interning in the industry to connect with mentors and their future peers. It is my hope that the relationships formed at these events will not only help Hoya women break into the industry, but assist alumni in advancing their careers and sourcing business opportunities from the Georgetown network. To sign up for the Alliance and be notified of future events including the women’s networking series, please click here..
Q: How are you approaching your professional future?
Day by day, with an awareness of how rapidly our industry is changing. We are living through a period of rising interest rates not seen in a generation; as we have witnessed this month with the breakdown of several banks, unintended consequences of this policy reversal can and will take the investment community by surprise! To build my skills as a risk manager and find compelling opportunities for investment in this new era, I am trying to educate myself broadly about the impact the shifting macro environment, movement of capital and demographic trends will have on asset classes, like seniors housing, multifamily development and residential land, that I spend a lot of my time on. Especially as a younger person in the industry spending her day immersed in the details of individual investments, I’m striving to make sure I don’t lose sight of the big picture as the world changes.