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Fri, Jul 17



Real Estate Private Equity - Current Situation & Future Prospects

Join HBS real estate alumni and friends via a live Zoom video webinar to learn from leading real estate private equity players as they discuss the current market in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic and share insights on potential risks and opportunities.

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Real Estate Private Equity - Current Situation & Future Prospects
Real Estate Private Equity - Current Situation & Future Prospects

Time & Location

Jul 17, 2020, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT


About the event

Join HBS real estate alumni and friends via a live Zoom webinar as leading real estate private equity players discuss the current market in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic and share insights on potential risks and opportunities.

While this event is free, we encourage you to donate to Teaching Matters by selecting the Donation Ticket option when you register for this event (ANY amount helps) and partner with us to make a difference to society. Teaching Matters, a 501©3 nonprofit, has been extremely helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic and is collaborating with school districts nationally to provide online curriculum to teachers and facilitate distance learning for K-12 students (more on them below).

This event is not officially affiliated with Harvard Business School. It is an off the record discussion by senior leaders organized by alumni for alumni + friends.

Feel free to share this event with your colleagues + friends, including those that did not go to Harvard Business School. Our goal is to add value to everyone.


Stephen R. Quazzo 

Co-Founder and CEO 


Stephen R. Quazzo is Co-Founder and CEO of Pearlmark, a Chicago–based private equity real estate investment firm that pursues domestic, value-added strategies through a series of institutional and high net worth investment vehicles. Since its inception in 1996, the firm has made more than 530 office, industrial, retail, multifamily and mezzanine loan investments nationwide, representing a gross investment of over $13.2 billion. Currently the firm oversees an approximately $1.5 billion portfolio of U.S. real estate investments.

From 1991 to 1996, Mr. Quazzo served as President of Equity Institutional Investors, Inc., a subsidiary of investor Sam Zell’s private holding company, Equity Group Investments, Inc. Mr. Quazzo was responsible for raising equity capital and performing various portfolio management services in connection with the firm’s real estate investments, including institutional opportunity funds and public REITs. Prior to joining the Zell organization, Mr. Quazzo was in the Real Estate Department of Goldman, Sachs & Co., where he was a Vice President responsible for the firm’s real estate investment banking activities in the Midwest.

Mr. Quazzo holds undergraduate and MBA degrees from Harvard University, where he has served as a Director of the Harvard Alumni Association and a member of the Board of Dean’s Advisors for the business school. He is a Trustee of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), Trustee and immediate past Chairman of the ULI Foundation, a member of the Pension Real Estate Association, and a licensed real estate broker in Illinois. Mr. Quazzo is a public company director of Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp. (NYSE: VAC) and Phillips Edison & Company. For 22 years (1994-2016), he also served as a director of Starwood Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: HOT), which in 2016 merged with Marriott International (NYSE: MAR). Mr. Quazzo serves on a number of non-profit boards, including: Rush University Medical Center, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Endowment, the Chicago Parks Foundation, Deerfield Academy, and City Year Chicago.


Alex Gilbert 


Artemis Real Estate

Mr. Alex Gilbert is the President of Artemis and co-chairs the Firm’s Investment Committee. Mr. Gilbert has more than 25 years of experience in real estate principal investing, investment banking and the real estate service business. He was part of the team that developed the Firm’s original business plan and has been responsible for developing, implementing and overseeing the acquisition and asset management strategies. Mr. Gilbert currently co-manages all aspects of the Firm including its strategic growth and day-to-day operations. Mr. Gilbert is based in metropolitan Washington, DC.

Prior to joining Artemis, Mr. Gilbert's experience included Alliance Bernstein (“AB”) and the J.E. Robert Companies (“JER”). Mr Gilbert joined Alliance Bernstein as an original member of AB’s real estate group. At JER, Mr. Gilbert was primarily responsible for acquisitions and asset management of the firm’s US platform investments, joint ventures and individual assets. In 2008, he was selected Head of JER's US Fund business which included three equity funds, a debt vehicle and more than $8 billion in assets across a broad spectrum of property types throughout the United States.

Prior to joining JER, Mr. Gilbert developed extensive real estate experience having worked on office development projects and running a division of Jones Lang LaSalle’s New York Leasing and Management Group. In addition, he was a real estate investment banker at Morgan Stanley and a principal investor through joint ventures with William E. Simon and Sons in California.

Mr. Gilbert is an active member of the Urban Land Institute and the vice-chair of the Air Force Academy Foundation.

Mr. Gilbert earned his BS degree, with distinction, from the United States Air Force Academy and MBA degree from Harvard University. In addition, Mr. Gilbert graduated from pilot training, with distinction, and served as a United States Air Force instructor pilot and Captain.

Christopher D. Graham 

Senior Managing Director, Head of Real Estate Acquisitions for the Americas 

Starwood Capital Group

Christopher Graham is a Senior Managing Director at Starwood Capital Group, where he supervises the Firm’s investments in the Americas. In this role, Mr. Graham is responsible for originating, structuring, underwriting and closing investments in all property types. He is also a member of the Firm’s Executive, Investment and Disposition Committees.

Prior to joining Starwood Capital in 2002, Mr. Graham worked at CB Richard Ellis in Washington, D.C., where he was Director of the financial consulting group for the Eastern Region of the U.S. Mr. Graham was previously Associate Director, Eastern Region, of CB Richard Ellis’ investment properties group.

Mr. Graham received a BBA degree in finance from James Madison University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Chris Lee 

Partner, Head of Americas 


Chris Lee joined KKR in the Real Estate Group in 2012. He is responsible for KKR’s Real Estate business in the Americas, overseeing both equity and credit investing platforms in the region. Mr. Lee is currently Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of KKR Real Estate Finance Trust Inc. (NYSE: KREF) where he previously served as Co-Chief Executive Officer and Co-President since October 2015 and March 2016, respectively, through March 2020. He sits on KKR's Real Estate Equity and Credit Investment Committees in the Americas, KKR’s Real Estate Equity and Credit Portfolio Management Committees in the Americas, KKR's Inclusion and Diversity Council and chairs KKR's Real Estate Valuation Committee.

Prior to joining KKR, Mr. Lee spent three years at Apollo Global Management on their global real estate team where he focused on real estate acquisitions. He also worked at Goldman Sachs in the merchant banking division’s real estate principal investment area (REPIA) for over five years after spending two years in the investment banking division.

Mr. Lee earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and his Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Emory University. He is a former trustee of St. Mark's School of Texas in Dallas, Texas. Mr. Lee currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) in New York, New York, as a member of the Board of Directors of the PREA Foundation in Hartford, Connecticut and as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council for Emory College of Arts and Sciences in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a member of the CRE Finance Council, Pension Real Estate Association, Real Estate Capital Policy Advisory Committee for the Real Estate Roundtable, Real Estate Executive Council, Manhattan Chapter of YPO and Urban Land Institute where he sits on one of its Urban Development and Mixed-Use Councils.

Dionis Rodriguez (Host) 

Founder, The Crimson Connection 

Founder, Crimson Rock Capital

Dionis Rodriguez founded The Crimson Connection to create a community across top business schools and increase our collective success. He also runs Crimson Rock Capital, which executes a highly focused, value-oriented investment strategy. Prior, he was EVP, Acquisitions & Development at GB Lodging (now GFI Hospitality), a NYC hotel investment and asset management firm that developed The Beekman, A Thomson Hotel and Residences, The Nomad Hotel and The Ace Hotel New York. From 2009-2011 Dionis was Managing Partner of Optimus Hotel Partners, responsible for an international portfolio of direct and entity level investments in hotels and mixed-use projects. From 2007-2009, Mr. Rodriguez was a Vice President of Amstar Global Partners (Amstar Group), an investment firm that has deployed ~$2.0 billion in equity in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Latin America. Prior to joining Amstar, Mr. Rodriguez was an Associate at AIG Global Real Estate where he completed over $200M of equity investments (including forward commitments) and asset managed a portfolio ~ $1B in retail, industrial, office and mixed-use development projects in Central and Eastern Europe. Prior, as Director of Development & Feasibility at New Castle Hotels, he was involved in the acquisition and development of several hotels in the U.S. and Canada. As a Senior Associate at HVS International, he appraised and/or advised clients on hotels valued at over $1 billion in the U.S. and Mexico.

Mr. Rodriguez earned a MBA at Harvard Business School, where he was co-president of the Hospitality and Travel Industry Club, and a Bachelor of Science degree, with a double concentration in real estate and finance, from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. Mr. Rodriguez is a board member for Teaching Matters, The Guestbook and Academy of Our Lady School. He founded, was President and member of the Board of the Harvard Business School Real Estate Alumni Association. He is former a member of the Board of Managers of the Harvard Club of New York and is a past Trustee of New York Nativity Centers.

About Teaching Matters 

Teaching Matters is a professional learning organization dedicated to increasing teacher effectiveness, a critical factor in student success. Our mission is to close the opportunity gap of an unequal education system for under-served and historically marginalized children. We envision a nation where every student has equitable access to excellent teaching, regardless of zip code. From states and districts to schools and classrooms, we partner to help teachers and school leaders develop the skills they need to teach well, lead their peers and drive school-wide improvement. From 25 years of working in New York City’s public schools, we’ve developed an understanding of realistic and lasting ways to improve student outcomes, and we’re committed to real, measurable results. Teaching Matters is a 501©3 nonprofit organization. Teaching Matters has a 4-star, 91.06 rating from Charity Navigator. See this video to learn more:

Organized by Dionis Rodriguez + The Crimson Connection

This event is brought to you by The Crimson Connection. The Crimson Connection aims to strengthen relationships as well as increase the collective success of attendees, while making a difference to society by bringing attention to/donating to worthwhile charities and causes. The Crimson Connection grew out of the Harvard Business School Real Estate Alumni Association (HBSREAA), which Dionis Rodriguez founded in 2008 (along with an incredible group of co-founders). HBSREAA became inactive after transitioning to new leadership and we founded The Crimson Connection to continue to provide value to HBS real estate alumni and friends. The mission of The Crimson Connection is to provide opportunities for HBS real estate alumni and friends to network, share ideas, work on deals together and add value to society. The organization donates a significant portion of its revenues to charity and other worthwhile causes. Thank you for your support!

Sponsorship opportunities available - 100% of sponsorships go to Teaching Matters! and are tax deductible donations. Email for details.


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