Membership Spotlight October 2021

Friday, Oct 1, 2021

Kristen Devaney | Group Chief Financial Officer, PCI DevelopmentsKristen Devaney Head Shot

As Group CFO at PCI Developments (PCI) and Warrington PCI Management (WPM), Kristen leads a team of dedicated finance and accounting professionals and is responsible for providing leadership and overall financial direction to the accounting and finance functions for PCI and WPM. PCI is an award-winning Vancouver-based real estate developer with a reputation for creating distinctive and thriving mixed-use communities that enhance the urban environment. WPM is the largest commercial property manager in BC with over 16 million square feet of office, retail, industrial, residential, and marine properties under management. Kristen obtained her Chartered Accountant designation at Deloitte and has held various senior finance roles in real estate, finance and infrastructure industries. In this CREW Member Spotlight feature, Kristen provides us with insight into how she got involved with CREW, her wealth of industry experience and tips and advice she has learnt.

Kristen, thank you for being our Member Spotlight and welcome to CREW, as a new member, what drew you to join the CREW network and can you share a few things you are looking to gain being a part of this network?

Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of the CREW member spotlight. PCI has been a strong supporter of CREW for many years and after I joined PCI in early 2020, I learned more about the important work and focus of CREW. After that, it was an easy decision to get involved. Also, I very much look forward to engaging with a network of like-minded real estate professionals in every stage of their careers through the CREW network and events.

You have had a very impressive career in finance roles in the real estate world, what originally drew you to this sector/ company? What are the elements of your job that excite you the most?

Like others, I would say that I came into the real estate industry by chance, but I’m glad I did as the elements of what gets me excited about work were always there in real estate.  Rather than focusing on very specific long-term goals, I tend to focus on what gets me out of bed in the morning and excited to go to work and then try to find ways to do more of those things. When I decided to leave public practice, my focus was to find a role that would broaden my skill set and provide more opportunities to get involved in transactions and interesting financial structuring and took a role with a P3 infrastructure developer. From there, it was a natural progression to move into residential and now commercial real estate development. Reflecting on my career to date, the common thread in the companies I have worked for is a highly entrepreneurial environment that encourages creative thinking and provides a lot of opportunities for problem-solving. I also get incredibly energized working with smart, passionate people who constantly challenge me to think in different ways.

If you were asked to give one (or two) pieces of advice for how to build a successful career or achieve a challenging professional work goal (like rising to CFO) what would it be?

For me, success has always been attributable to the teams I work with. A mentor would often remind me that you are only as strong as your team and the people around you. That advice has stuck with me. A great team pushes you to be better and build more than you could as an individual. I am a big believer in building a team of the best people and then getting out of their way as much as possible.

Outside of work, what are your hobbies/passions?

I am fortunate to have the north shore mountains as my backyard, so I take advantage of every opportunity to get out into the forest for some exercise and to clear my mind. I do a lot of hiking with our dog (and my baby as my weight vest!) and get out on my mountain or road bike as much as I can. To me, nothing is more meditative than a foggy ride up the mountain on my bike and the laser focus needed on the trail on the way down. My daughter has recently started riding the trails as well and I love watching her learn and progress.

Congratulations on becoming a new mother! What future advice do you have for your kids when they are entering the workforce?

We welcomed our second child in January of this year. Our children have many years ahead of them before they will enter the workforce and with the pace of change in technology and innovation, there is no question that the world of work will look very different for them than it does for my generation. I think more than ever, creativity, critical thinking, resilience, and independence will be important traits to success. If my kids were entering the workforce today, my advice would be to develop a strong foundational technical skillset and to take every opportunity to learn as much as they can from talented people. Find a workplace and a team that will bring out their best and surrounds them with smart people who will constantly challenge them. Throughout every career stage, focus on building relationships which are critical to success and also have the added bonus of making work far more enjoyable.