Eteri Zaslavsky is the Managing Director of Next Realty and fills several significant roles for the firm. Since joining Next Realty in 2006, Eteri is responsible for the execution of the company’s investment strategy. Eteri also leads the firm’s focus on investor relations and, together with CEO Andy Hochberg, raising capital for Next Realty’s investment funds.
Throughout her career, over the past 22 years, Eteri has been active in all aspects of the commercial real estate business, including investment sales, originating commercial real estate loans, structuring equity and mezzanine debt transactions, acquisitions, dispositions, and portfolio management.
Eteri currently serves as the Real Estate Chair of the Jewish Professional Network for the Jewish United Fund and as a Board Member of The University of Chicago Newberger Hillel. Eteri is also an active member of the Real Estate Finance Forum, an organization focused on promoting women in real estate finance, and she is an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers. Eteri received a BA in Economics from The University of Chicago and an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
To further get to know this Nextpert®, The Next Perspective posed the following questions to Eteri:
What drives you and motivates you at work?
I love this business! There is never a dull moment. Every deal has its own challenges, complexities and, sometimes, opportunities. In the end, it comes down to doing as much due diligence as possible and taking calculated risks, working hard and, hopefully, getting lucky.
What is the most exciting and rewarding aspect of what you do at Next Realty?
Prior to joining Next Realty, I worked at several large, institutional organizations which gave me a broad foundation and insight into the commercial real estate industry. What brought me to Next Realty 15 years ago, was my desire to build a career with a private, entrepreneurial organization where I can make an impact and “have a seat at the table”. What has kept me at Next Realty for 15 years are the people who I work with every day. We have an amazing team; each of us contributes a unique skill set and perspective. We have been through highs and lows and we are there for each other, always with our investors’ interests in mind.
When it comes to __________, I am better than anyone else at Next Realty because …
When it comes to underwriting and analyzing investment opportunities, I am better than anyone else at Next Realty because I have spent the past 20+ years of my career underwriting transactions. I have done it from every perspective: owner, developer, lender, and sales broker. At Next Realty, we analyze every acquisition with multiple scenarios, and continually fine tune our underwriting throughout our due diligence process as facts change and we learn new information about the property and the market. From my experience, I have learned that even “good” underwriting doesn’t always match reality but looking at historical data and making projections about the future definitely helps to avoid potential traps and unnecessary risks.
What one thing about you do you want investors, prospective investors, and partners to know about you?
I take this job and my responsibilities very seriously. Many of our investors are my personal friends and family. And many others I have gotten to know well over the past 15 years. That makes it extremely important for me, and for our entire team, to deliver successful results.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned during the Covid restrictions, and how is it shaping the way you work today?
The greatest work lesson that I learned during the pandemic is how dedicated and resilient our team is. During the early weeks and months of the pandemic, we all had to exert extra effort and collaborate in order to protect our portfolio and our investors capital. We had no idea where things were heading and how much worse it might get. We were corresponding with 300+ tenants and a dozen lenders. There was a lot of uncertainty and fear, we had to find creative ways to help our tenants and stabilize the portfolio. It was a crazy experience, which I hope we never have to repeat again. However, each member of the Next Realty team contributed so much during that difficult time.
What do you enjoy most about fundraising for future Next Realty investment funds? What is most rewarding, and what is most challenging?
Over the past 15 years, I have been involved in acquiring nearly 50 properties nationwide, from Philadelphia to Florida, and from Illinois to California and Hawaii. Every one of them had its own challenges and nuances. We have had some great successes and some lessons learned. What I enjoy most, is meeting existing and prospective investors and sharing our success stories.
How important is the face-to-face/in-person deal making and networking, and how easy will it be to return to that type of environment?
I believe things are already getting back to “normal”. People are anxious to get out and get back to business. Our business is all about networking and I am hoping that the pandemic is behind us.