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LaTonya Ellis Named to 2019 Real Estate Journal Hall of Fame

LaTonya Ellis Named to 2019 Real Estate Journal Hall of Fame
February 28, 2020
Congratulations to LaTonya Ellis, Practice Group Director for Ice Miller’s Real Estate and Municipal Finance Groups, for being named to the 2019 Real Estate Journal Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame!

LaTonya talked with us about what has contributed to her success in real estate and some challenges and opportunities facing the industry today.

What does this honor mean to you?
I am deeply honored to be recognized by my peers for my achievements in the real estate industry. I am earnestly grateful.

What do you think are some of the biggest contributing factors to your success in the industry?
I have a very unique role in leading attorneys in a law firm environment. I have been successful in this business because I am client focused – I align my goals and objectives to meet client’s needs. I think creatively, innovatively and strategically about how to service clients. I have a leadership niche for bringing the right people to the right deals.  

What do you consider the biggest challenges and opportunities in the industry right now?
One of the biggest opportunities in the real estate industry is developing socially impactful projects in communities that are underserved and crave revitalization. Opportunity Zones, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, New Market Tax Credits and other economic incentives have opened the door for development in these areas. Building with a purpose and creating sustainable infrastructure changes communities, but more importantly, it changes lives. Developers have an opportunity to partner with the community at large and spark economic growth.

In my opinion, the greatest challenges in commercial real estate are crowdfunding and interest rates rising. Crowdfunding allows small investors to buy shares in commercial properties through online marketplaces, and it is a hot emerging trend right now, but time will tell if it is a good idea. Many of the investors who purchase property stakes through crowdfunding have little to no experience in real estate management or investment. More importantly crowdfunding sites are not bound by SEC regulations.
You said, “It is essential to get the best leaders installed in the right roles to move the needle on profitability, diversity & inclusion, competitive brand building and recruiting and maintaining the best talent.” Could you speak to some of the work you’re doing in these areas for your practice groups?
Moving the needle on profitability is a clear focus of our Firm leadership and the practice groups I support. Since I have joined the Firm, I have promoted collaboration across practice groups and offices to service our client’s needs. I am 100% client focused. Building teams that are innovative, creative and transformative is attractive to clients. We have to be flexible on how we do business and think outside the box in delivering “next level” legal services. Recruiting and building diverse teams to lead and staff client projects makes Ice Miller a differentiator of service. We bring diversity of thought and ideas. There is no other way to build a better competitive brand. 

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