C. Skye Cook didn’t set out to become a commercial real estate broker. In fact, she considered several career directions. She’s a classically trained pianist but says she likes people too much “to be locked away in a practice room for 12 hours a day.” After college, she followed her passion for flying and began training to become a pilot with the intention of flying commercially. However, 9/11 changed those plans.
“My interviews were canceled with United Airlines, where I had hoped to get my foot in the door as a flight attendant,” says Cook, 36. “I knew it was time to figure out something else to do.”
She landed at Holly Duran Real Estate Partners, a Chicago-based boutique tenant-representation firm. Within a year, she earned her real estate license and was doing deals. She joined Bloomington-based Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq in 2007, focusing on tenant representation in the office/industrial markets. She’s considered an industry specialist in the life sciences (biotech/med-tech) industry. She’s also the 2013 president of the 220-member Minnesota Commercial Real Estate Women (MNCREW).
Q Why specialize in biotech/med-tech real estate?
A When I moved here, I looked around to see what’s the thing I could focus on that other people aren’t necessarily doing. It’s such a big component here in our backyard and it’s really thriving. I have a strong relationship with LifeScience Alley (a med-tech industry trade association) and do all of their real estate work. Also, through my relationship with BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota, I’m able to stay in the loop with other companies that are growing.
Q That sounds like a complex area.
A It’s not your cookie-cutter office or industrial transaction. These firms require a lot of flexibility in their space. … Their physical space challenges are pretty intense — whether they require cleanrooms or wet lab space — and the cost to build out these spaces is incredible.
Q Why do you think MNCREW is important?
A It’s truly a collaborative environment where women from all different backgrounds in the industry network and support each other and want each other to succeed.
Q What are your goals for MNCREW?
A Continuing to create parity between men and women in our industry. Promoting our members’ successes. Continuing offering best-in-class programming and maintaining the 41 percent participation level on our committees. I’d like to see the Women Run the Cities 10-mile run/5k run/walk — our signature charity event — continue to positively affect women’s lives in the Twin Cities. It was named a Top Five Race for Women in the U.S. last year by ESPN. … I don’t have any big, audacious goals here; it’s just keeping the momentum moving forward.
Liz Wolf is an Eagan freelance writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.