Deborah Harmon is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Artemis Real Estate Partners, LLC, a real estate investment firm that manages institutional, third party capital in a variety of real estate strategies. She is responsible for establishing, implementing, and overseeing the company’s strategic direction.
Artemis was co-founded by Deborah Harmon and Penny Pritzker in 2009 and is headquartered in the D.C. metropolitan area. Artemis invests with best-in-class local operating partners, both established and emerging, in multifamily, office, industrial, retail and senior housing across opportunistic, value add and enhanced core strategies.
“Change starts one person at a time. It is our responsibility as business leaders to be an asset in the communities where we live and work. We partner with organizations like Urban Alliance to provide exposure, training and mentoring opportunities to talented students traditionally under-represented in the real estate industry.”
- Deborah Harmon
Why do you partner with Urban Alliance?
We believe that diversity of perspective improves the bottom line. One of Artemis’ core businesses is an Emerging Manager program that provides transformational access to capital for diverse companies, specifically minority and women owned firms. We believe that we have the responsibility to expand access at all levels of the pipeline – from the C-suite to the classroom – thus the creation of our training program for college aged students. Urban Alliance was the final piece of the puzzle – allowing us to widen the circle of opportunity to include high school students. The partnership with UA allows us to walk the talk of our cultural values and integrate talent at every level while providing our colleagues an opportunity to personally do well and do good by serving as mentors.
What is the Return on Investment (ROI) for your company and community?
If orchestrated properly, an intern can be a cost savings. Think about how many small or medium sized businesses have to pay for a temp agency to cover when administrative staff are on leave. The company has to invest time and energy in training temporary support. Our Urban Alliance Interns have created extra capacity throughout our office from supportive administrative duties to building a level of trust with our executives. I don’t think we could have anticipated how positive the experience would be – our interns have become a part of the Artemis family.
What is your most memorable moment with an Urban Alliance Intern?
Last summer, I watched our Intern, Jackey, present in front of our principals and board members about what he learned and what projects he completed during his time at Artemis. He was extraordinary in how he presented himself and communicated the firm’s vision. He proudly volunteered to be an ambassador for our company throughout his community and peer network and asked if he could return on college breaks – an offer we gladly accepted!
Throughout Jackey’s time here, I watched as my team identified his potential, helped develop his skill set and interests, and utilized his talents. This was a “win-win” situation: infinite return on investment for everyone.
Why would you recommend the Urban Alliance program to other small to medium-sized companies?
As a small business partnering with Urban Alliance, you receive leverage that wasn’t immediately obvious to me. I once walked out of a meeting, looked around, and thought, “Where is Jackey or Julien (our former Urban Alliance Interns)? Why can’t we have them helping us on this?” There are a number of functions that would be phenomenal work for an Urban Alliance Intern. Smaller companies often don’t have depth of staff or the time to train, but I would not let that deter you. A small investment of time and energy at the beginning results in significant benefits.
What advice would you give to those who are considering, but have not yet committed to becoming an Urban Alliance Job Partner?
Urban Alliance is unique in that they have a business model that enables firms of all sizes to do well and do good. Identify one person on your staff who can be the liaison between UA and your company. This person must believe in the mission of Urban Alliance and invest in making the partnership a success. Taking on an Urban Alliance intern is accretive and I believe that many businesses in the Washington, DC region (and throughout the country) should consider the potential of a partnership. If Artemis, a company that took its first UA intern when it was a two year old startup with 15 staff, could do it and benefit from the experience, I am confident that every business can.
To learn more about the Artemis Summer Enrichment Program, click here.