Erin Stafford Awarded CREFC’s Woman of Distinction Award and Brian Olasov Receives Founders Award

June 11, 2024

Award Winners Announced at CREFC’s Annual June Conference

NEW YORK, June 11, 2024 – The CRE Finance Council (CREFC) announced today that Erin Stafford is this year’s recipient of its Woman of Distinction Award and Brian Olasov is the recipient of its 2024 Founders Award. CREFC made the announcements at its Annual Conference in New York City.

CREFC’s Woman of Distinction Award: The Woman of Distinction Award recognizes women professionals in commercial real estate (CRE) finance who, through their engagement in CREFC and the CRE finance industry broadly, demonstrate outstanding leadership skills, and advocate for a more inclusive industry. Ms. Stafford is a Managing Director and head of North American commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) ratings activity at Morningstar DBRS.

A CREFC member since 2000, Ms. Stafford has over 20 years of experience in the CRE finance industry. Prior to joining Morningstar DBRS where she co-founded its CMBS team and helped build its market presence, Ms. Stafford focused on monitoring ratings of existing CMBS transactions at Fitch Ratings. She is an Advisory Board Member of the Women’s Network and is active in the Mentorship Program. Ms. Stafford has also served as Chair of the Servicers Forum and as a co-Chair of the Post Securitization committee, where she supported enhancements to CREFC’s Investor Reporting Package™.

“I am honored to have received this award and feel very privileged to be considered in the ranks of talented women professionals recognized by CREFC in previous years. It has truly been a gift for me to participate in CREFC’s Women’s Network as it has so much to offer in terms of mentoring, networking, and professional development for women in our industry,” said Ms. Stafford.

“Erin has demonstrated a deep and long-term commitment to CREFC’s membership and the greater CRE finance industry,” said Lisa Pendergast, Executive Director, CREFC. “For over two decades, she has supported CREFC and its members, sharing her knowledge and valued perspective at numerous CREFC events while mentoring the next generation of CRE finance professionals. We are thankful for her work on our Investor Reporting Package™ and salute her for her efforts to lift the next generation of women leaders.”

To read about previous winners click here.

CREFC’s Founders Award: CREFC’s Founders Award is bestowed on an industry professional who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and offered significant contributions to the betterment of CREFC and the commercial real estate finance industry. Established in 2006, recipients of this award have engaged in innovative and creative business practices and industry activities that have successfully enhanced the CRE market and improved debt liquidity to a key component of the U.S. economy.

As Executive Director - Financial Services Consulting at Carlton Fields, Brian Olasov’s career in commercial real estate finance spans over three decades. He is sought out by the industry for his deep knowledge of commercial real estate finance topics such as valuation issues, commercial mortgage loan servicing, and banking and lending regulations. Mr. Olasov has served as Chair of CREFC’s National Policy Committee, co-Chair of the International Committee, Chair of the Risk Retention Task Force, and was a Member of the Audit Committee and a founding member of CREFC’s European chapter. He has served on the Board of Governors and the Executive Committee for multiple terms and has been a member of CREFC since its inception in 1994.

“CREFC stands out among trade associations in terms of effort-in translating into results-out. The impact of CREFC on the overall commercial real estate finance industry has been profound and beneficial,” said Mr. Olasov. “Remembering the contributions of past Founders Award recipients and then receiving this recognition humbles me. I want to thank my lifelong friends in the industry and the CREFC board for naming me this year’s recipient.”

“We want to thank Brian for his dedication to CREFC and our industry. For some three decades Brian has helped market participants understand some of the most complex aspects of the commercial real estate finance market,” said Ms. Pendergast. “CREFC, and the greater CRE finance community, continue to benefit from Brian’s extensive knowledge of the market and his ongoing education of young commercial real estate professionals.”

Mr. Olasov has lectured at the graduate real estate and business programs of Georgia State University, Emory University School of Law, Columbia University, Georgetown University, Ohio State University, NYU Stern School of Business, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is an adjunct professor at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, where he focuses on real estate finance and capital markets. CREFC frequently calls on Mr. Olasov to teach various educational programs. He has edited and co-authored chapters in the CMBS E-Primer published by CREFC, the Westlaw text Mortgage and Asset-Backed Securities Litigation Handbook, and contributed to UCLA Law School’s Real Estate Finance Update for 2024.


Aleksandrs Rozens
Senior Director, Communications
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. © 2024 CRE Finance Council. All rights reserved.

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