Published On Sep 05, 2019  
in  Leadership & Development and PECO Culture

This month’s Woman Leader of PECO is Marissa Visconsi, Senior Leasing Professional. Marissa joined Phillips Edison in 2015 as a Leasing Professional and was promoted to Senior Leasing Professional in early 2018. Her retail and commercial real estate expertise, outstanding networking skills, hard work and dedication have paid off. So far in 2019, Marissa has earned the title of Phillips Edison Top Leasing Producer five out of six months and she has completed the Top Deal for two of those months. 
Outside of her leasing role, Marissa is active in Phillips Edison’s PECO NOW initiative, serving on the Advocacy and Awareness Committee which focuses on raising awareness of obstacles that women associates face both within and outside of the workplace and advocating for the promotion, growth and recognition of women leaders within PECO.
Marissa has worked in the retail real estate industry for almost ten years, but she comes from a long line of CRE professionals and has a lifetime of experience. She shared a bit about why she’s passionate about the industry, what’s helped her achieve success and what advice she would give to others hoping to follow in her footsteps.    
What led you to a career in leasing retail real estate?
Commercial real estate is in my blood. My entire family is in the industry and I grew up watching and learning from them. In the mid-1920’s, my great grandfather, Anthoni Visconsi was a bricklayer with a vision. He realized that the proliferation of the automobile would have a profound impact on the way America lived and he wanted to be on the forefront of that revolution. So, he began to build shopping centers. Since then, all of the men in my family have followed in his footsteps, achieving significant successes and paving the way for younger generations. My great uncle was one of the founding members of ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers). I’m the first female in family to pursue a career in CRE and I’ve basically gone my own way. Rather than working for the family, I wanted to make a name for myself. This business is my passion. I don’t think I could do anything else for a living. 
What do you think helped you most in achieving success?
Two things were incredibly important to my development and ultimate success: growing up in the industry and having strong role models. As I said, CRE is part of my family history and I have been surrounded by it since I was a little girl. I remember going on vacations where my dad would need to visit a center because it had a new retailer that was expanding and he wanted to see the store. My father (Tony Visconsi) and other family members were my first mentors and role models. They taught me the value of building strong relationships, how to get creative with deals, how to find solutions and how to get a deal and close it. They also taught me that hard work and determination are the keys to success. 
In college, I had the opportunity to intern with Cheryl Rose Mack, one of the most successful people in our industry. Working with her, I saw, for the first time, how to be a strong and successful woman in the industry. Prior to that internship, my role models were all men, but my experience with Cheryl Rose really gave me fresh insight. I remember thinking, “Wow, I can be like her and kick butt. People respect her and treat her as an equal.” I still look up to her and keep in touch with her. That was a big game changer for me.
What advice would you give to a women looking to start a career or become a leader in the commercial real estate industry?
Commercial real estate is a fast-paced, competitive and constantly changing industry. Success requires hard work and persistence. Don’t let anyone tell you “no.” Always stand your ground and don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and what you believe in. Finally, find a mentor to help you navigate the ins and outs of the industry, serve as a sounding board as you develop your skills, and provide guidance in dealing with challenges.

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