Editor’s note: Welcome to Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine’s newest feature – Careers for Consideration. Every other month we will profile with a woman who has a career that some might consider out-of-the-box or perhaps a career that we never even knew existed. Know of such a woman? Email me at email@example.com and enjoy! BIO Name: Trish Foster College and Degree: Michigan State University, bachelor’s in accounting Current Employer: CBRE/Martin Years with Company: 20 Starting Position: Property Management Accountant Current Position: Senior Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer for mid and west Michigan KEY TO SUCCESS: “I think success is a relative term, since it means different things to different people. Success to me means helping achieve goals and objectives, whether it be with CBRE or my family. I think that, and enjoying what you do every day, is the impetus of success.” – Trish Foster Tricia Foster, better known as Trish, has reached a new pinnacle in her career and believes perseverance, solid work ethic and a little bit of moxie got her there. A long way from her childhood dream of being a veterinarian, Foster recently received another promotion from commercial real-estate company CBRE/Martin. Starting at CBRE/Martin as a property management accountant in 1993, Foster’s new title of senior managing director and chief operating officer was 20 years in the making. Foster playfully explains her role with the company as a janitor. “I clean things up, I am a problem solver,” said Foster. “My role is to make sure every single resource is brought out to serve our clients in the best way possible no matter what.” After graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in accounting, Foster started down the very typical path of applying for the “big eight” accounting firms. It wasn’t until she answered a blind ad in the newspaper for an accounting position that she started her career with CBRE. “I never imagined this is where I would be. I wanted to work for a solid firm, but I recognized that sitting in a cubicle for 12 hours a day was not the best use of my time,” she said. “I wouldn’t be happy doing that, so I moved into asset services and had to learn a lot, but I found that I really enjoyed it. The variety is what keeps me focused; there is never a single hour that is the same.” The variety in Foster’s job is incredible, ranging from management, to strategizing, to transactional work. Foster’s main role in the company is almost exactly as she joked: to clean up, put-together and deliver results. That is important for a company like CBRE/Martin, considering Foster is in contact with clients across the globe. Foster finds the unique part of her job is getting to work with corporate clients headquartered in mid-Michigan, but her work also extends far past the Great Lakes. “What I find truly exciting (is) to service them from here when they are all over. I don’t think that happens often, and given our diverse client base and service lines there is never a dull moment,” she said. Working with a team that has grown from 15 to 70 in the last 20 years has given Foster reason to love her career. She lights up when she talks of the fabulous people CBRE/Martin employs, and how it is those people who make her role of managing and strategizing (sometimes overlooked tasks in real estate) for the company more enjoyable. “The best piece of my role is figuring out how to deliver solutions in the quickest amount of time,” said Foster. “It’s our job to make sure our clients prosper as a result of our work with them.” With a new title and a lot of drive, Foster doesn’t exactly know what’s next for her future, but she is excited to see how her position will evolve. With the encouragement and inspiration from a few key influencers, Foster has found a career she truly enjoys, all because someone gave her a chance. “I would say Van Martin gave me a chance, an opportunity, and started my rise. He has been a great mentor and coach,” she said. “He is smart and I think you can never go wrong with smart; it’s a thing we like to emulate around here.” And Foster does just that, as a woman who has worked her way through college, through a business and through life, she has a lot to be proud of. The balance between work and life can be hard, but Foster has found comfort and confidence knowing that in her world they are one and the same. “I don’t consider my family life separate from my work life; at any given time one can be more important than the other. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. I have a wonderful husband and a fantastic support system, my kids even say ‘Mom we understand, we are so proud of you,’” she said. “I want to show them you don’t have to choose, you can have it all and make any of your dreams come true.” A promising career and supportive family have allowed Foster to pursue her dreams and have led her down a path she had never pictured for herself. With her “just do it” attitude and a job she loves, Foster isn’t done reaching for the stars just yet — in fact, she may never be.
Ami Iceman-Hauter is the Brand Manager at M3 Group in downtown Lansing. Iceman is a graduate of Michigan State University with a bachelors degree in creative advertising.