As Stream continues to grow its business and people, we are taking this opportunity to spotlight our talented employees from all service lines, cities, and departments. These individuals are selected because they have made a significant impact on Stream, the commercial real estate industry, and the local community. We are focusing most recently on taking a closer look at Women of Stream who are making an impact at the company, in the industry, and in their communities.
For those that don’t already know her, we would like to shine a spotlight on:
Andrea Saewitz, Executive Vice President in Stream’s Chicago office. Andrea joined Stream in January 2021 with a focus on agency leasing, representing Chicago CBD assets for both institutional and local owners. She brings more than 40 years of experience in office leasing to the team, having completed over 2,500 transactions totaling more than 14 million SF.
Can you describe yourself in three words?
Energetic, positive, and diligent. My colleagues would likely describe me as a thoughtful, high-energy, multi-tasker who brings years of leasing experience in the commercial real estate business.
How would you define your role at Stream?
As a leasing professional, my main focus is nurturing and cultivating relationships with clients, brokers, and tenants. I hope to be a resource for others in the organization who are seeking guidance or insight.
What first intrigued you about the CRE industry?
Working in commercial real estate (CRE) allows me to be entrepreneurial; it’s a career path that offers the opportunity to build your own business (within a business) and brand. I love the relationship-building aspect of my job. When you’re working on a lease transaction, you meet people from different sectors of the business community. At the same time, you can enjoy repeat business with individuals in the tenant rep community which enables you to develop strong relationships with your peers. I thrive on the challenge of pursuing new tenants, creative problem solving to differentiate my buildings, and experiencing that feeling of pride after we close a transaction.
What initially drew you to Stream, and how does the culture compare to other companies you’ve worked for?
Having previously worked with Adam Showalter and admiring his drive and work ethic, I felt very comfortable joining his team at Stream. Moreover, after meeting with some of the senior leaders at Stream, I was impressed by their people-centric approach to the company and business. Stream works hard to empower its employees with the tools, the vision, and the company culture necessary to foster growth and success. It’s a different mindset than what you might see at larger companies, where you often feel like a cog in the wheel. Stream strives to make everyone feel important, that we’re all contributing to the common goal of success for the company. It’s very inclusive and such a powerful force.
As a female in a male-dominated industry, what is the most significant barrier you have faced in your career? How did you overcome it?
I have been fortunate in this respect. I never felt like I was discriminated against. That said, the business has historically been a male-dominated industry, and women were generally not included in certain social activities (golfing, fishing, etc) with the “guys”. For me, that was fine as I was a working mom, and for some time a single working mom; My focus was to go to work, get my job done and go home to be with my family. Business is evolving as companies recognize the need to employ a more inclusive and diverse workforce. With women and minorities in more decision-making roles, companies need to hire and mentor talent that mirrors the culture of their clients and society as a whole. For the CRE community, women and minorities must have a seat at the table, to bring different perspectives and ways of thinking.
What advice would you give to the next generation of female CRE leaders?
We need to support each other. The women ahead of me forged the path and we need to continue to help raise each other up as we strive for success.
How important is it to have female role models and mentors in the workplace?
I haven’t had a female role model or mentor in my career, but I have learned a lot by observing and interacting with both men and women and have gleaned certain behaviors to emulate in my own way. I have tried to advise and assist young women in the business to help guide them in their decision-making and also in a more general way to approach their life and business, and to support them as much as I can.
What advice have you received that you wish you would have learned earlier?
I’m a worrier—always have been. I wish I’d learned earlier that you should try not to stress over things you can’t control, and instead focus on what is within your control. With regards to work and success, I try to keep my head down, stay focused, give 100% effort and good things will come. Of course, there will be times when things don’t work out, and you need to keep in mind that maybe it simply wasn’t meant to be. More recently I have been working on trying to stay in the moment, to be present, and not get too wrapped up in multi-tasking. I’m often guilty of that.
Are you involved with any charities? And if yes, why is giving back to the community important to you?
Cystic Fibrosis, Alzheimer’s, and Na’amat. I particularly enjoy spending time working with organizations where there is a personal connection to my family and friends.
What’s your favorite place in the city?
I don’t have just one favorite place, I love walking around the city, by the lakefront, Chicago River. The 606 and along Michigan Avenue. I love the architecture and how clean the city is, and it really is a 24-hour city—there’s always something going on. I love everything about it.