Packed with industry giants and power players, the advisory board of the Rutgers Business School Center for Real Estate has no shortage of leadership or experience.
But the group wants to ensure its viability for decades to come, while connecting with the students it was meant to serve when it was formed last year.
It’s why the center has assembled its new Emerging Leaders Council, a collection of rising stars in New Jersey’s commercial real estate sector who are poised to accomplish both objectives.
“It’s a very robust skillset, so the premise was ‘How do we engage the next generation of leaders, but also utilize that group to serve as the conduit between the advisory board and the student body?’ ” said Debra Tantleff, founder of Jersey City-based Tantum Real Estate. “The people on the council … are at a certain place in their careers that they’re able to give up to the advisory board and also give back to the student body, so they’re really acting as that multipurpose conduit.”
Tantleff, 37, will oversee the council of more than two dozen alongside fellow advisory board member Brett Tanzman, 34, a senior vice president with Garden Homes in Short Hills. Their colleagues in the group include a cross-section of professionals, roughly 28 to 40 in age, who manage and develop property and serve the industry in all capacities.
“You want to make sure you do it right the first time, so the advisory board was careful in trying to really find the best and the brightest,” Tanzman said. “And this is the first class — we want to continue to have it grow.”
The center’s Emerging Leaders Council includes:
Tantleff said council members can serve for up to three years before deciding whether to join the advisory board, providing a pipeline for the center’s leadership. In the meantime, she said, one main goal is to “solidify and strengthen the network among council members so that there’s this constant brainstorming and intellectual conversation that’s happening around how we can contribute back to the center and back to the student body.”
She added that it’s likely easier for a student to approach a council member than an advisory board member because there is a more obvious connection.
“It’s a little less intimidating to try to seek mentorship out of a council member than out of an advisory board member,” Tantleff said. “And mentorship is a huge arm of what the center is about, but human nature is what it is and therefore we were conscious of the fact that this council can really be that anchor and conduit to bridge the students and older board members together.”
The council was officially launched about a month ago and comes about three years after the Rutgers real estate program was first seeded. The program, which offers an MBA concentration in real estate and plans to offer master’s programs in the field, started with an initial $3 million endowment, including $1.5 million from West Orange-based real estate investor Paul Profeta.
That gave way to the hiring of Morris Davis as its academic director in 2014 and the unveiling of its advisory board last year. The new council is just the latest piece of the fast-growing program.
“Hopefully it continues to create a better real estate environment in New Jersey, where the end result will be continually better products as a whole,” Tanzman said, “because that’s the goal — to have the students enter the workforce and contribute in a meaningful way.”