Dani Evanson is a Principal and Managing Director of RMA, a private real estate investment management firm that invests throughout the United States and manages more than $1.1 billion of investor equity commitments. At RMA, Dani leads the firm’s strategic direction, leveraging over 20 years of experience in real estate with a background in acquisitions, dispositions and portfolio management.
In short: holy cow, this woman is impressive.
City of Angels: Why do you do what you do?
Dani Evanson: When I’m asked “what do you do”, my canned answer is real estate private equity. The response is usually eyes glazed over and a quick look to another person to ask them the same question. The long winded answer is this:
My partner and I have a company that builds customized real estate portfolios for family offices and wealth management firms. We have real estate funds, separate accounts and syndication for funding our deals. I’m an entrepreneur and real estate is my product. When I’m not wearing a gazillion hats at RMA – like fundraising, investment sourcing, HR, accounting and marketing, I’m mom to a 10 year old boy and 8 year old girl, wife and dear friend to a number of others.
CofA: Does your experience with real estate mean you can tell us whether we should be refinancing our mortgages right now?
DE: Since I focus on large commercial real estate investments, I can tell you a lot about the investment side of real estate. For example, where we think we are in the real estate cycle, how to find value investments and how to create a diversified real estate portfolio. I’m like everyone else when buying a home, and shop my mortgage to get the best rate. A little fact...I refinanced my home twice this year to save 40 basis points. (ed. note: take note).
CofA: Where do real estate magnates come from?
DE: I was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. As a high school student, I couldn’t wait to get the hell out of The Valley. I couldn’t stand to hear “Oh my god,” “Like” or “Totally” one more time. I vowed that I wouldnever be back…then I met my husband in San Francisco and he loved The Valley.
I could not have been more wrong about my hometown. I moved back to the Valley 12 years ago to buy a house bigger than 2,000 square feet, raise a family and feel the “burbs.” The Valley offers me and my family space to roam, community, great public schools and a lot of conveniences that I appreciate at this stage in my life. The best part is that the Valley is finally upgrading their dining and entertainment options! Go The Valley!
CofA: What attracted you to City of Angels? What's been the best part so far?
DE: City of Angels offers me a connection to a group of women from all different parts of LA, varying backgrounds, ideas and professions. I’ve been in commercial real estate for 20 years, so I’m looking forward to meeting ah-mazing women outside my network. The best part so far is realizing how quickly connected I feel with other women in the group, after only 1 meeting. I’m really looking forward to the next gathering.
CofA: We just read in Forbes that “cold is the new hot” in terms of trendy travel destinations. You're a pioneer - you told us in your membership application that Iceland and dog sledding in Alaska are your dream travel adventures. Think it's all these years you've spent in warm, sunny LA?
DE: Iceland, dog sledding in the Arctic, igloo hotels, sign me up! I love adventure travel, though with a preference for warm over cold weather, honestly. Back to visit the Amazon (not the website we all go to every day) and Morocco would top my “warm” client holiday picks. But an adventure is adventure, so I am game cold or hot!