2011 AWIB Corporate Leadership Award Winner



Phoebe Yee
Vice President-Design
Related Companies

 

Related Companies (www.related.com) is one of the nation’s largest privately held real estate companies. A global company, it has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Irvine, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, and abroad in China and the Middle East.   Stephen Ross founded the company in 1972 and since then, RelatedCompanies has become a fully integrated, diversified industry leader with expertise in virtually every aspect of development, acquisitions, management, finance and sales.

 

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Phoebe is the oldest of two children.  Her father Bill is a retired aerospace engineer and her mother April is a retired real estate owner/manager.  Phoebe graduated with a BA in Fine Arts and Economics from Georgetown University and received her Master of Architecture from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Phoebe’s first job, with HKS Architects, was located in Dallas, Texas.  In 1996, she moved with the company back to Los Angeles where she eventually rose to be a Vice President for the company.  While working with HKS on the architecture side of a Related Los Angeles project, the Century, Related hired Phoebe in 2006 to work on the development/owner side.  She was able to finish out the 41 story, luxury residential building for Related.  In addition to finishing touches at the Century, Phoebe is working on a 19 story apartment building in downtown Los Angeles, a large scale multi-family, mixed-use project in Santa Monica, CA and a proposal for another multi-family, mixed-use project is San Francisco, CA.

Real estate development and construction has traditionally been a male dominated field.  Phoebe consistently works with a room full of men at many levels, whether with city planning, financial institutions, engineers or on the construction site.  She has never felt like she did not belong.  Architect Robert A.M. Stern worked with Phoebe on the Century and stated that she is “an industry leader in the field of architecture and building development.”  Bill Witte, President of Related California, noted that “Phoebe has assumed the lead role in managing the design of two large scale and complicated projects we are developing.”  He further stated that Phoebe is integral to all of the large scale urban development projects that Related California pursues and that few women are operating at her level in the field. 

When asked how she managed to rise to a key role in a male dominated field, Phoebe pointed first to hard work and a desire for achievement and also credits her parents who taught her to be independent and confident.  Her former and current bosses, have been wonderful mentors who shared their experiences and time with her and always let her step into whatever role she could assume.  And above all else, Phoebe loves her job and her creativity is constantly fed with amazing projects and amazing people.  The ultimate satisfaction comes from seeing a project through to fruition as a completed building.

Phoebe’s advice to Asian women, and to anyone in general, is to be confident.  She said, “Never go into a situation thinking you do not belong.  As long as you are prepared and can speak with knowledge, you should not be afraid to speak your mind.  Be direct and forth right and people will take you seriously.  If you are wrong, be strong enough to admit it and learn from it.”

Phoebe has enjoyed mentoring young architects in their professional endeavors as well as discussing work – life balance.  She is an active member of the AIA, supporter of the Urban Land Institute and the Willows Community School.  Phoebe lives in Los Angeles with her son Nicholas and with a view of the Century from her backyard.

 

 





 



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