Liz Ward

Current employer: The Housing Partnership, a local non-profit organized to provide affordable housing and economic development

Current position: VP of Multi-Family Development

Graduation year: 2014

Trade Organization/Group affiliation: I’m an active member of CREW, ULI, CCIM, UNCC’s REAA Advisory Board and City of Charlotte’s Unified Development Ordinance Advisory Board.

Undergrad Institution & Degree:  Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Finance) and minor in Public Policy at UNC-Chapel Hill

Alumna
2014
Master of Science in Real Estate
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.

What does it mean to receive the 2018 Belk College Distinguished Alumni Service Award?
It is truly an honor, and an unexpected surprise to receive this award. The Belk College does so much for its students and alumni, and it has been a privileged to be an active alumni and help in whatever capacity I can. It has been particularly meaningful because the Belk College led me to my career in Affordable Housing, which has been a topic that I have been able to help students learn about as an alumni. I serve alongside many dedicated alumni, particularly graduates from the MSRE program and I believe the school is enriched because it has provided opportunities for all of us to give back.
 
What is the importance of giving back to you?
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10).  I firmly believe that each of us have unique gifts and talents, and that it is a privilege and responsibility to use those to help those around us. The Belk College helped me make a meaningful change in my career and provided me with new skills to make a difference in our community in affordable housing.  The involvement of industry professionals and alumni was integral to the growth of the Real Estate program while I was a student, and still is today.  It has been a pleasure to be able to serve and help continue that growth as an alumni.