Student Showcase: Kristen Ede

Kristen Ede, GPLLM graduate

As a senior vice president at Bentall Kennedy and co-Portfolio Manager of the firm’s Prime Canadian Property Fund, Kristen Ede is responsible for a diverse real estate portfolio worth about $5 billion. Essentially, it’s her job to generate alpha in the portfolio and decide which buildings, and in which sectors to buy or sell. “It’s kind of like monopoly to be honest,” she says. “We buy and trade buildings to have the optimal mix in the portfolio to maximize returns.”

Over a commercial real estate career spanning more than two decades, Ede has successfully maximized her own professional returns --- assuming increasingly influential roles at industry giants including Trizec Properties, Kimco Realty and Harbour Equity Capital. Along the way, she earned an MBA and obtained two certificates from Harvard’s executive management program. In 2016 she capped that impressive list of achievements with an LLM from U of T. “There are legal aspects in virtually everything we do,” Ede says. “I felt that a better understanding of those aspects would always be helpful, especially at the level of a masters degree from a top ranked law school from U of T.”

The program bolstered her confidence and gave her an added layer of legitimacy when dealing with legal issues at work, she says. It challenged her intellectually and sharpened skills that weren’t regularly put to use in her corporate world. “I had to write essays every week for a year, on subjects that I hadn’t been exposed to before. It was something different from the ordinary for me.” Ede also acquired some very practical tools she hopes to use in the future. “I’ve been told that because of the corporate governance and related classes in the program, when I go to sit on boards more formally than I do now, I won’t have to take separate courses to be qualified.”

But beyond the hefty professional advantages, Ede says the program gave her something she literally would not have found anywhere else. A top-notch, engaged and interesting faculty, combined with a cohort of students so smart and diverse that conversations during and after class were unlike anything she’d ever experienced. “It was literally like being a part of a mini  United Nations. When there are people from Saudi Arabia, and Libya and Russia and Venezuela sharing their opinions, from their perspectives, that was probably by far the most appealing part to me.”