BABC Northern California Events Calendar

Women Influencing the Built Environment - #WIBEbabcsf

Date: October 12, 2017 Time: 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
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Event Description

It is no secret that the world of commercial real estate has always been considered a "bit of a boy's club" despite a long history of women's involvement.  The rise of women in real estate in recent decades however can not go un-noticed, particularly here in the Bay Area.

This event brings together an esteemed panel of women who have all achieved a phenomenal level of success in various different areas of the commercial real estate world.

Join us on Thursday, October 12th to hear the insights and experiences of these amazing women as they climbed to the top of their game.



Blanca Torres

Real Estate and Economic Development Reporter, San Francisco Business Times

Blanca writes about major real estate deals, news, trends, key players and policies that influence the Bay Area's economy and people for the award-winning San Francisco Business Times. She also co-produces and co-hosts the Structures Podcast on Bay Area real estate. Throughout her career as a reporter, Blanca has focused on covering business topics such as retail, workplace, consumer issues and the economy for a variety of other newspapers including The Seattle Times, Contra Costa Times (now East Bay Times) and The Baltimore Sun. A native of Washington state, Blanca earned her bachelor’s from Vanderbilt University in Nashville and a master’s from Mills College in Oakland. 



Catherine House
Co-Founder and Managing Director, SVN | QAV Associates

Catherine E. House, FRICSCCIM is one of the Co-Founders and Managing Directors of SVN | QAV & Associates, the San Francisco arm of SVN International (formerly Sperry Van Ness). She Chairs the National Medical Office Product Council of the 1,500+ brokerage firm SVN. As Chair she is responsible for coordinating healthcare related commercial real estate activities across SVN and is particularly known for her experience in selling medical office buildings, medical condominiums and neighborhood commercial buildings throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. She is also a frequent industry speaker on the San Francisco commercial real estate marketplace.

In 2010, San Francisco Business Times named her one of the ?Most Influential Women in Business in the Bay Area?. In 2017 she was named a Commercial Real Estate Power Woman by BISNOW & Allen Matkins. Catherine?s career in commercial real estate began in 1993 in London, England where she graduated as a Chartered Surveyor and worked for CBRE in London until she was recruited to this country in 2001. Much of her success in the real estate field can be attributed to her early years of training as a Chartered Surveyor as well as her subsequent designation as a CCIM, conferred upon commercial real estate leaders with a proven record of success in the field as well as mastery of financial, market, and investment analysis. At SVN she is one of the top producing brokers, ranked in the top 10% of over 1,500 brokers+ in 250+ offices nationally every year since she joined.

  • CCIM Designee (Certified Commercial Investment Member). Conferred upon commercial real estate leaders with a proven record of success in the field as well as mastery of financial, market, and investment analysis
  • Fellow of the international RICS (and the Past Chair of Northern California RICS)
  • Named a "Power Woman" in Commercial Real Estate in 2017 by Allen Matkins & Bisnow
  • Named ?Most Influential Women in Business in the Bay Area? in 2010 by the San Francisco Business Times
  • Past President of CREW SF (Commercial Real Estate Women San Francisco) 2010
  • On the Board of Directors of the San Francisco British American Business Council
  • Member of ULI (Urban Land Institute), SPUR (San Francisco Planning & Urban Research), and Belden Club
  • She has a real estate degree (BSc. Hons.) in commercial real estate from South Bank University, London, England and an RICS Diploma.

Cathy Bregenzer
Principal, Gensler

Cathy is a Firmwide Financial Services Firms Practice Area Leader. As Principal and Client Relationship Leader in the firm’s San Francisco office, she also heads a team focused on global design and delivery for some of the world’s best-known multinational companies. Cathy’s Gensler career began in Washington, D.C., more than 25 years ago. Before settling with her family in the Bay Area, she also spent time establishing the Detroit and Baltimore offices. She has been recognized with awards from the AIA, IIDA, Building Design & Construction, and the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International, which noted her success as a team leader with their Building Team of the Year award. A Registered Architect, Cathy earned a Bachelor’s from the University of California, Berkeley.


Marilyn Specht
Sustainability Consultant, Integral Group

Marilyn Specht is a Sustainability Consultant at Integral Group, a global deep green engineering firm specializing in creating the world's most high performing buildings and communities that respect and enrich the earth.

In this capacity, Marilyn brings her years of experience working on a variety of green building projects to guide teams through LEED, LBC, NZE, WELL Certifications, and more.

She is a LEED AP (ND and O+M), LFA, WELL AP, EcoDistricts AP, and serves on the USGBC LEED Location & Planning Technical Advisory Group.


Frances Choun
Frances is an established leader in the construction industry, with over 30 years of experience in the AEC industry.  Her tenure with McCarthy Building Companies, the second largest general contractor in California, spanned 20 years. Formerly, serving as principal and VP of business development for the SF Bay Area region, she helped secure landmark projects, like the new Stanford Hospital, Kaiser Permanente’s Oakland Medical Center and myriad structures on University of California college campuses.
Frances launched her career in Architecture, where she developed an interest in the construction side of the industry. Frances applied her business acumen and ability to lead and influence to local organization chapters. She served as president of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREWSF) and Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center, and served on the board of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).



Event Sponsors
Platinum Sponsors

Event Partners

Media Partner


Event Location
One Kearny, 23 Geary Street
Suite 900
San Francisco, CA 94108
Date/Time Information

Thursday October 12th, 2017

5.30 - 8.30


5.30 - 6.00 Registration & Networking

6.00 - 7.15 Panel Discussion + QA

7.15 - 8.00 Post Event Networking

Contact Information
Sam Powell (415) 296 8645
$35 - BABC Members
$50 - Non Members
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