The last year has not been easy for the head of a commercial real estate company. Inflation and the Fed's response, as well as trends that emerged from the pandemic, have clearly had an impact on the industry across all of the sectors. Besides the effect of, say, ongoing remote work on the beleaguered office asset class or the slowing pace of rent increases in multifamily, these executives have also had to navigate an increasingly difficult capital markets environment. I have some bad news for this group: the near-term future doesn't look any easier. Enter our selection of Best Bosses this year. This year's picks were made at least in part based on their resiliency and ability to position their companies for future growth, whenever that might occur. We are confident these strengths will see them through what could be choppy waters ahead.


IAN BEL Olive Tree Holdings' mission statement revolves around increasing the quality of life for its residents and helping others. Managing principal and CEO Ian Bel embodies that mission. Bel leads the private investment firm with candor, transparency and a relentless pursuit of excel-lence while maintaining a people-first approach, a positive attitude and a willingness to listen to a variety of ideas. He oversees the compa-ny's activities, which include acquiring and repositioning underperforming multifamily assets in high-growth markets, and guides all of the firm's underlying brands, including a PropTech/contech venture investment arm and an affordable housing affiliate. Under Bel's leadership, Olive Tree Holdings has acquired and transformed 16,000 units of workforce and affordable housing communities across eight states and it has deployed more than $250 million in capital expenditures to enhance the lifestyles of the company's residents. One employee describes Bel as a mission-driven, thoughtful leader who maintains a people-first approach to leadership, prioritizes personal relationships with em-ployees and cares about their well-being. This is exemplified through initiatives like circle, which organizes team members across the com-pany to talk about anything going on personally, both in the office and outside the office, to provide support. Bel also emphasizes team building through golf outings, corporate retreats and an annual holiday party. Employees say that Bel has created a work environment that is culturally gratifying, intellectually rewarding and economically stimulating. He has instilled a focus on philanthropy into the company's mis-sion by supporting a paid volunteer day for all employees and creating a philanthropy committee where employees can suggest event ideas for company-wide implementation. Outside of the office, Bel serves as a co-founder and board member of Pay Away the Layaway, a non-profit that pays off layaway balances for low-income families.

ROBERT BELLINGER Robert Bellinger has been instrumental in developing a collegial, collaborative culture at ASB Real Estate Investments by encouraging all employees to contribute ideas to inform decision-making and by building a highly diverse organization committed to community service. A 34-year industry veteran, Bellinger serves as president and CEO of the firm and he has completed more than $15 billion in real estate capital transactions during his career. He has been with ASB Real Estate Investments since 2002, where his focus has been growing the Allegiance Real Estate Fund into a leading core vehicle and operating under a tenant-centric strategic approach. Early on, Bellinger created an office setting with no interior walls and an open-door policy to foster airing ideas and encourage greater collaboration and transparency. Monthly all-hands meetings keep team members informed and allow for discussions, while regular off-site meetings are held for strategic thinking, planning and team-building exercises. Bellinger created ASB University to help develop and enhance the technical knowledge of junior team members and provide a wider career path for them. He also encourages ASB employees to give back to their communities and he fosters a corporate culture of social outreach. A long-time co-worker of Bellinger says that his enthusiasm is contagious; pointing to his vision to grow the firm and his ability to leverage his real estate insight, business acumen and experience to inspire members of the team from top to bottom. Another long-time associate described Bellinger as having a decidedly humane value system that demonstrates that it is okay for employees to be human and prioritize their families, while remaining committed to the success of the company and focused on delivering exceptional investment performance for the benefit of investors.

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