Lance Leighton '08
Q & A:
- What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra? I can’t say I had one favorite class at Hofstra. The majority of my courses were very interesting and applicable to what I do career wise. With a major in business management, my course work included accounting, marketing, finance, international business and human resources – all of which have contributed to my successful career. As an active commercial real estate professional in New York City, I still continue to utilize many of the skills I learned while attending the university.
- What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
My first job after graduating from Hofstra was selling office supplies door to door, floor to floor. Though it was a relatively short-lived career move (less than six months), it taught me that rejection and failure are two of the most important aspects of understanding a successful sales cycle and of LIFE. My career requires a tremendous amount of canvasing and cold calling to C-level executives, and it is crucial to not take rejection personally. Deals die quite often in my business, and it is essential to be able to bounce back and not take anything to heart. The same thing can be said about life.
- What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
I represent companies (tenants) and help facilitate their office space leasing in New York City. Once I’ve identified a company that is looking for office space, I am responsible for educating their decision makers on the market, negotiating the economics of the deal, implementing the business terms of the lease, connecting them to various vendors and essentially guiding them through the often arduous process from start to finish. It was my cousin who originally recruited me into the industry to join his team and since then, I have worked on over 70 leasing transactions, totaling over 500,000 square feet.
- What advice would you give Hofstra students?
It may sound cliché, but I would tell Hofstra students to pursue a career in something they love. I would also tell them to be long-term thinkers in terms of career advancement. Though some employers might offer more money than others upon graduation, it is important to consider intangibles such as potential job growth, autonomy, quality of life and ENJOYING WHAT YOU DO!
- In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
- How have you used your background in sales and marketing to advance your real estate career?
The commercial real estate industry in New York City is one of the most competitive industries in the world. With thousands of brokers spread throughout the city (all focusing on the same business opportunities and tenants), it is important to differentiate yourself. I have used my background in sales and marketing to develop strategic plans to target individual markets (based on geography, user type, etc.), while helping to build my own personal brand. For instance, I run an office space blog for technology, media, creative and advertising companies called TechOfficeSpaces.com. The site showcases the most appropriate office space availabilities and news within their industries. For financial services firms, I do the same thing on HedgeFundSpaces.com. These sites pre-qualify me as an expert within the New York City office space market and have led to a great deal of business and success within the office leasing world.
- Looking back to the beginning of your career, how has your mindset changed and how has this helped you grow?
At the beginning of my career, I was naïve, inexperienced, overly hopeful and somewhat desperate for business. Accordingly, I was willing to work on just about any assignment, no matter how small. This mindset afforded me the opportunity to work on many deals (though not always the most exciting ones), which gave me the experience and understanding necessary to become a true expert. As my career advanced, I became more realistic, pragmatic and selective with the assignments I pursued, allowing me to focus more on the “big rocks” rather than the “little pebbles.”
- How do you think blogging has helped you gain a competitive advantage?
Blogging has allowed me to become a resource to potential clients and prospects by prequalifying my expertise within the industry, while building a brand and an audience. Understanding that many of my clients Google office space, it was crucial to understand the keywords and buzzwords that they were searching. I’ve tailored my sites around these topics and have generated countless leads and relationships based on viewers. There are very few people in my industry who leverage the power of the Internet and search engine optimization.
Lance Leighton earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Hofstra’s Frank G. Zarb School of Business in 2008. With a strong background in sales and marketing, Lance joined the midtown Manhattan office of Studley (now Savills Studley) in 2010 to apply his entrepreneurial business acumen to representing tenants with office space requirements. With an emphasis on new business development and servicing and maintaining existing client relationships, Lance works to provide his tenants with innovative, creative and analytical real estate solutions that enhance their business objectives.
As managing director of Savills Studley’s most active brokerage teams, Lance has been actively involved in over 70 tenant representation leasing transactions since beginning his short, yet accomplished, commercial real estate career. While Lance works closely with various types of tenants, his experience within the financial services industry is unparalleled. In 2012 Lance co-founded HedgeFundSpaces.com, an extremely successful and highly respected real estate blog dedicated to boutique financial firms.
In 2014 Lance was named to the Commercial Observer’s list of “30 Under 30 of NYC’s Rising Real Estate Stars.”