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When Debra Cafaro took on Ventas in 1999, it had 271 properties and a $240-million market cap. Today, it has over 1,400 properties and an enterprise value of about $24 billion. The largest healthcare REIT by equity value today, in fact one of the largest REITs, the company boasts a compounded annual shareholders' return that has exceeded 40% for the three years ending December 31st, 2011. Ventas was named the top-performing publicly traded financial company of the first decade of this century. Cafaro, chairman and CEO of the Chicago-based REIT, sat down with Ernst & Young's global real estate leader, Howard Roth, to talk about the company's impressive growth and future plans, and share her views on the macro trends impacting the market.

HOWARD ROTH: With you at the helm, Ventas has been an incredible success story. Tell us a little bit about how you accomplished this spectacular transformation.

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