CREFC Names Lisa Pendergast 2021 Woman of the Year

January 11, 2022

Woman of the Year – Lisa Pendergast

Lisa Pendergast is the Executive Director of CREFC, previously serving as the 2010/2011 President, and is a former member of CREFC’s Board of Governors for over nine years. As Executive Director, Ms. Pendergast provides analysis and commentary on commercial real estate credit fundamentals and relative value within the private-label and agency CMBS and structured-product markets.

With more than 25 years of industry experience in the structured-finance markets, Lisa has been a top-ranked research analyst in the highly competitive Institutional Investor All-American Fixed-Income Research Team survey in the CMBS category. She has published several articles and reports on various aspects of the CMBS markets that appear in industry handbooks and academic journals, and is often quoted in the financial press on commercial real estate debt-related issues.

Prior to CREFC, Ms. Pendergast was with Jefferies LLC, as a Managing Director and Head of CMBS Strategy and Risk in the Fixed Income Division’s MBS/ABS/CMBS Group. Before joining Jefferies, Ms. Pendergast was a Managing Director in the Fixed-Income Strategies Group at the Royal Bank of Scotland, where she worked for eight years. Early on in her career, Ms. Pendergast focused on the residential MBS marketplace as a research analyst at Prudential Securities, authoring reports on various securitization structures and mortgage-related bond analyses, such as option-adjusted spreads.

Founders Award – Jan Sternin

Jan Sternin currently serves on the Commercial Real Estate Finance Council Board of Governors. She also serves as Senior Vice President and Managing Director at Berkadia where she is responsible for business development across the servicing platform as well as industry relations. Prior to joining Berkadia, she was responsible for business development, marketing and communications for Situs. Additionally, Ms. Sternin also served as Senior Vice President of Commercial and Multifamily for the Mortgage Bankers Association and CEO of MISMO, the MBA’s technology initiative for creating uniform data standards for the real estate finance community.

Previously, Ms. Sternin held the position of Senior Vice President at Midland Loan Services, responsible for marketing and sales activities and has worked with numerous governmental agencies including the Resolution Trust Corporation, Office of Thrift Supervision, Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation, and the Federal Home Loan Bank System

Founders Award – Eric Hillenbrand

Eric Hillenbrand, whose career in CMBS investment spanned key roles at Frist Chicago, BankOne & JPMorgan Chase, was very integral in the early days of CREFC, which in its infancy stage was called the Commercial Real Estate Secondary Market and Securitization Association (the “CSSA”). Eric was a Founding Governor and a member of the Strategic Planning Committee from 2000 to 2001, a member of the Executive Committee from 2002 to 2003, a Board member from 2002 to 2005, and served on a number of other CREFC committees and initiatives, typical of his commitment to the industry and this Association.

Most notably, very early in CREFC’s history, Eric was a highly vocal and passionate advocate for more CMBS information to be distributed to investors, and more standardization of that information. He was an early proponent of the “CSSA 100”, envisioned to be one hundred fields of common, and commonly defined, information to be distributed via CMBS remittance reports. While he often said that “100 fields would not be enough”, he felt that at least “they would be a start”.

The industry owes a debt of gratitude to his vision, which was a precursor to the eventual Investor Reporting Package, a still-evolving and widely regarded information format that is a hallmark of the CMBS industry. The IRP has undoubtedly helped attract more investors to the sector, confident that there consistently will be a great deal of standardized information provided on CMBS, which better enables comparisons of bonds and informed investment decisions.

Sadly, on February 23, 2021, we lost Eric to COVID. Gratefully, his enormous influence on our sector remains and continues. In recognition of his business leadership, his contributions to best practices in transparency and professionalism, and his impact building the CMBS Industry, CREFC hereby posthumously awards Eric Hillenbrand the CREFC Founder’s Award. Eric’s son, Jeremy Hillenbrand, was going to attend the conference to accept this award on this Father’s behalf, but current conditions precluded his travel. On behalf of Eric’s entire, large, loving family, we accept this well-deserved award for them and for Eric Hillenbrand.

The CRE Finance Council (CREFC) is the trade association for the commercial real estate finance industry with member firms including balance sheet and securitized lenders, loan and bond investors, private equity firms, servicers and rating agencies, among others. CREFC promotes liquidity, transparency, and efficiency in the commercial real estate finance markets, and acts as a legislative and regulatory advocate for the industry, playing a vital role in setting market standards and best practices, and providing education for market participants.


Morgan McGinnis

The Commercial Real Estate Finance Council (CREFC) today at its annual January Conference in Miami, announced Lisa Pendergast as the winner of the second annual Woman of the Year Award. Additionally, Jan Sternin, Eric Hillenbrand and Brian Furlong were named as recipients of the 2021 Founders Award.

The information provided herein is general in nature and for educational purposes only. CRE Finance Council makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, validity, usefulness, or suitability of the information provided. The information should not be relied upon or interpreted as legal, financial, tax, accounting, investment, commercial or other advice, and CRE Finance Council disclaims all liability for any such reliance. © 2021 CRE Finance Council. All rights reserved.

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