Taking The Leap: How 3 D.C. Women Left Big Firms To Launch Their Own CRE Companies During Covid

June 9, 2022

The launch of Residy was featured in Bisnow Deputy alongside two other great women founders, Madi Ford at Audeo Partners and Roberta Kelley (Byrdy) CPM, ARM at Melan Property Management. Below is a small excerpt from the article:

Kelly Nagel, who has worked for publicly traded REITs and other big firms during her career, decided at the end of last year to leave her job and pursue a lifelong dream of starting her own company.

A single mother of three, Nagel said the experience of staying at home with her family during the pandemic led her to rethink her priorities. She no longer wanted to travel for work as much as she did before the coronavirus, and she wanted the freedom to set her own schedule.

“It forced me to re-evaluate what was going on in my life,” she said. “I can take the parts of my job that I love and turn it into something that’s mine and have the flexibility I need and want and be able to be around for my kids, but also be able to build something.”

Nagel, who launched Bethesda-based multifamily investment firm Residy in January, is one of three D.C.-area women who spoke to Bisnow about their decisions to leave big firms and found their own companies during the pandemic. Madi Ford left her family’s local development firm, MidCity, to co-found Arlington-based Audeo Partners last April, and Byrdy Kelley left JLL to start Bethesda-based Melan Property Management in October 2020.

These three women are part of a trend of thousands of entrepreneurs who decided to start their own companies during the pandemic. Monthly new business applications had hovered between 200,000 and 300,000 between 2011 and 2019, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, but in 2020, that figure shot up to more than 500,000, and it still remained above 400,000 as of last month.

In addition to the pandemic, Kelley said the 2020 killings of George Floyd and other unarmed Black people and the worldwide protest movement also sparked her desire to do something new.

“It woke me up, and as I heard from a lot of other colleagues, we had time to think,” Kelley said. “It hit home for me, and I was dealing with a personal crisis myself, thinking about what’s important in life and what’s going to make me really happy. Do you keep chasing a dream, or do you actually get out there and do it?”

Continue reading Jonathan Banister’s article on Bisnow.com