A Leader with Beliefs | Christine McHugh

Christine McHugh

Managing Principal

Christine McHugh, the Managing Principal of White Strand Development, believes Sustainability, Community, and Innovation are the building blocks which align best with her company’s culture. “Tomorrow belongs to those shaping today’’.

Sustainability is fundamental because it ensures resources are used in a way that preserves them for future generations. According to a report by the World Economic Forum, sustainability is crucial for corporate strategy because it can help meet evolving investor pressure, consumer demand, and regulatory requirements. 90% of executives believe sustainability is essential, but only 60% of organizations have sustainability strategies. Embedding sustainability in strategy is vital to attracting top talent, reducing costs, and boosting profits.

A strong Community demonstrates the firm’s commitment to its people, this ultimately delivers both growth and social impact, which creates a sense of belonging and shared purpose. Communities foster strong relationships between companies, their employees and where & how they do business.

White Strand Development believes compromise cannot undermine your values, if you cannot do good and do well, you should walk away from that opportunity!

Innovation is essential because it helps to drive progress and create new opportunities. According to a survey, millennials are 5.3 times more likely to stay with an employer when they have a solid connection to their employer’s purpose. By fostering a culture of innovation, Christine has created a sense of purpose and belonging among employees, which has led to greater job satisfaction and retention. Real Estate Technology transformation is about a new mindset, one that values a culture of innovation and is centered around creating benefits to our clients.

Christine believes in “achieving commercial success in ways that honor ethical values and respect people, community, and the natural environment”. Christine’s firm, White Strand Development, is driving progress, creating new opportunities, and ensuring that resources are used in a way that preserves them for future generations.

Building A Bright Future

“PropTech is the future, better data will help us make better decisions”. In the past few years, Christine’s firm has concentrated on Energy Reduction (decarbonization), and Air Quality, (COVID-19 pandemic and the Canadian wildfires). Her team’s focus has pivoted to building PropTech standards to support ESG reporting in the built environment. “I’ve welcomed the opportunity to join the 2023/2024 NYC ASHREA Board of Directors. As part of my work on this board, I’m researching opportunities to use Property Technology to develop a framework around mapping, early detection, and forecasting building systems/factors associated with Legionella,” she says proudly. Planning sustainable infrastructure will be the industry cornerstone for the future of renovation as well as new buildings.

In addition, Christine believes a firm’s values are the foundation that builds respect, communication, integrity, and excellence which enriches the workplace environment and strengthens relationships with employees as well as clients.

I urge my team to develop their professional growth. I recommend that, “Wherever the road leads, be open to change and push yourself to work on projects that broaden your boundaries/abilities – Take chances,” she adds. “I also advise them to be lifelong learners, to think of themselves as their own brand and above all, work for someone they respect.

Professionally, there are many goals Christine is looking to achieve, specifically around the use of real-time data analytics in areas of risk, i.e., leak detection, security, and power, as well as water/air sensors. For the days to come, Christine—on her Board of Directors work— will continue to establish strategy/policy around Energy, and Health & Wellness through her expertise in Real Estate and Innovation.

Christine is also an advocate for advanced economic equality and workforce development. She is on the Ambassadors Counsil for Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW), a NYC nonprofit training union tradeswoman to achieve economic independence and a secure future for themselves and their families”. The NEW programs offer support for women who are facing adversity in life.These women continue to prove that a strong work ethic and hard work does pay off.

Being Flexible & Adaptable

Being adaptable is Christine’s crucial trait. It has enabled Christine to navigate through uncertain and complex environments, manage change, seize opportunities, mitigate risks, and ultimately lead organizations to achieve their goals. Christine understands that change is inevitable and can efficiently adjust to changing circumstances; hence, she is resilient enough to withstand the unexpected and challenging situations these shifts may bring. Flexibility encourages new ways of thinking, and Christine holds the emotional knowledge required to learn from mistakes and handle them with poise. She is open to and responds well to feedback, stays composed under pressure, and has a diverse leadership style.

“I started my firm looking to drive untapped industry opportunities within data analytics within the built environment. As a leader, I look to partner with organizations whose mission, vision, and values align with that of my firm. When you see things differently, you can be the difference,” says Christine. “I place a strong focus on collaboration and building of teams, expanding skill sets and encouraging them to push themselves. We motivate and welcome input from their group, gathering different perspectives before coming to a decision. I find this style lends itself to strong team participation and ultimately to greater transformation and growth.”

Looking back on women in architecture and design, there have been brave industry pioneers such as Louise Blanchard Bethune (Architect), Eileen Gray (Furniture and Design), and Beatrix Farrand (Landscape Architecture). These are women I have drawn inspiration from and who have influenced me deeply.”

Throughout her career, Christine has been fortunate enough to work with several extremely dynamic women: Susan Hayes, Ritu Vij, Sasha Durcan, Catherine Moss, Sheri Best, Laura Bush, Natalie Kovac, Catherine Sanso, Wendy Hall, and Diane Maniscalco-Rodenburg to name a few. “I have been tremendously blessed to these women in my life, they have helped shape my career in ways that I could not have foreseen and for that, I am forever grateful,” explains Christine.

My team at White Strand Development is researching the use of PropTech for mapping, monitoring, and early detection alerts for legionella. There are disruptive technologies being developed that focus on prevention, which is incredible. With innovation, the future is a brave new world, one of social responsibility and advocacy. My firm looks forward to a future in commercial real estate which leverages data and analytics to develop a healthier and more energy efficient working environment.

" PropTech is the future, better data will help us make better decisions "

Christine McHugh

Managing Principal

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