Meet a Real Estate CFO
Julie personifies the ideal Real Estate CFO that we work with at Metric-X. This post provides an introduction to Julie’s goals and how she brings value to her company through metrics, dashboards and fact-based decision making.
Name: Julie Porter
Job Title: Chief Financial Officer
Years in Current Job: 6 months
Company: Huron Development Partners
2018 (January to Present): Chief Financial Officer
2016 – 2017: Director of Finance (Acquisitions)
2013 – 2016: Director of Operations
2010 – 2013: Business Unit Leader – Another Real Estate Development Company
2004 – 2009: Multiple roles (Finance Manager, Operations Manager) at a Real Estate Development Company
2000 – 2003: Credit Analyst – Midwestern Bank
Masters of Business Administration, University of Michigan (2010)
Bachelor’s in Accounting, Ohio State University (2000)
Life Outside Work
- Married for 16 years.
- Two children.
- Avid golfer (10 handicap)
- Tennis player
- Looks forward to family road trips to National Parks
- Serves on the board for a local non-profit focused on addressing homelessness
- Mentors college students through a local university program
This Year’s Objectives
- Systematize business processes so that HDP can seamlessly scale through acquisitions
- Build a company culture where managers know how they are measured and have latitude to execute for the best outcomes
- Develop reporting and analytics capability to enable rapid data analysis for acquisition opportunities, cost benchmarking, budgeting and key performance indicators
- Implement a budgeting process that maintains a target cost as percent of total income
- Streamline the monthly close process so that the financial statements can be published by the 7th of each month
About Huron Development Partners
- A Development, Management and Investment company
- Works with institutional and family office investors
- Portfolio includes shopping centers and multifamily
- 15 Shopping Centers
- 6,000 multifamily units (market rent and luxury)
- Acquires and manages properties in large university towns with a population of at least 100,000
- Concentrated in 10 states in the Midwest
Q&A With Julie
What is your job?
My title is CFO, but I do a lot more than finance. I am responsible for ensuring our company remains agile and strong throughout any phase of the economic business cycle. I look at risks and opportunities, and ensure that we seize investment opportunities, deliver the attractive returns to our investors, grow our people, and delight our tenants. It’s not just about keeping investors happy. It’s about having a team culture and systems and processes that enable Huron Development Partners to perform at such a high level.
What do you like the most about your work?
I like the people aspect. We promote from within, and it is a delight to see our associates develop their potential here. I enjoy speaking with our tenants (both residents and commercial customers) to understand how we can do a better job. I also look forward to listening to our vendors and subcontractors to understand how they can work more efficiently together and have a powerful extended team. And, of course, our investors. They trust us with their money and I feel good about being good stewards of the funds invested.
What do you like the least about your work?
There’s nothing I don’t like. If I was a numbers-only CFO, I would have been bored by now. However, I own part of the company and I feel I have such a tremendous opportunity to grow people and provide our customers a positive experience. These are the true levers that deliver consistent long-term results.
How did you get into this field?
My family has invested in real estate as far back as I can remember. In college I was a Leasing Agent at an apartment community and experienced the business first-hand. My first job after college was a Credit Analyst at a bank. I reviewed applications for commercial real estate loans and that gave me another perspective. After the bank, I have worked at real estate development and management companies.
What advice do you have for MBA students who aspire to become Real Estate CFOs?
Develop your people skills. Develop your EQ. CFOs have to be leaders of people. If you are strong with numbers, take an extra hard look at yourself to make sure you are a people person also.