Liz Ward '14, is a graduate of the Master of Science in Real Estate program. Her desire to support Charlotte's affordable housing mission led her to join The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership, where she focuses on the acquisition and construction of affordable housing communities. Liz's passion for serving others through real estate led her to be named the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce's Young Professional Nonprofit Leader of 2017.
What is your professional background?
My career began in a leadership development program at Wachovia Bank focusing on financial reporting. Afterwards, I spent six years in commercial real estate lending at Wells Fargo focusing on construction loans for multifamily, retail, office and industrial in the Charlotte market.
What led you to pursue the M.S. in Real Estate degree at UNC Charlotte?
I was a young female in a male-dominated industry and I wanted to do something that would help me understand my clients better and increase my credibility. The part-time MSRE program allowed me to achieve those goals while continuing to gain on-the-job experience.
What were some of the highlights from your program experience?
Every week, I was able to apply what I was learning to my job at the bank. It was exciting to be able to improve my lending skills and deepen my relationships with clients. Hands down, the biggest highlights for me were the relationships and connections made through the program. I developed some incredible friendships and expanded my industry network, which has paid both personal and professional dividends.
How has your degree helped you advance in your career?
I can easily say that without the MSRE Program, I wouldn’t be in my current role. The program introduced me to the affordable housing industry and ultimately made my connection to The Housing Partnership. It has also helped me expand and deepen my network here in Charlotte, which has proven to be invaluable.
What advice do you have for current MSRE students?
My advice is to not rush the program. Pay attention, take good notes for later use and use every minute you get to know the folks you meet while in the program. The time flies by quicker than you think, but the knowledge and relationships you develop will be there long after if you invest in them while you’re in the program.