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Search Firm Recruits for Real Estate Jobs in Boston

Posted on October 19, 2010

A search firm is expanding in order to recruit for real estate jobs in Boston.

Boston’s leading executive search firm for the real estate industry, Keller Augusta Partners, has created a new unit, Institutional Services Group, to focus exclusively on placement of senior executives at development and investment companies. Hillary Hatch Graves, a former Managing Director of Commonfund Realty Inc., will head the new group.

Graves, who has 15 years of experience in the financial industry and real estate, joins Keller Augusta’s President, Kate Keller, as a Principal of the new Institutional Services Group at the firm.

“The year 2009 was the worst in recent history for real estate,” said Ms. Keller. “But we’re seeing hiring again, and not just at middle and lower levels. We’re going to see a lot of moving chairs in next few quarters.”

To address an improving market, Keller Augusta’s new Institutional Services Group will focus on high-earning executives in real estate, who earn or anticipate earning above $200,000.

“Activity in the first half of this year is up 300 percent from last year,” said Ms. Keller. Although 2009 saw significantly reduced employment activity from 2008, Keller noted, the trend is in a positive direction and appears to be continuing.

Keller Augusta, a five-person firm founded in 2001, has placed real estate talent at all levels, including mid-level executive and administrative positions, but the company has not previously had a unit exclusively focused on high-earning executives.

Ms. Graves, who began her career part-time creating quarterly reports on asset allocation, capital gains, and investment performance in the mid-1990s, will track business and employment trends for Keller Augusta and oversee production of a regular on-line newsletter for clients and others in the industry.

“We placed our first development person in a long time,” said Ms. Keller. “There’s more institutional capital going back in. And people have started back-filling on the low end too, administrative assistants to junior asset managers.”

“The industry is going back into more strategic operations rather than just staying alive,” she said.

Likewise, Ms. Graves said, with a lot of good talent available after the shrinkage of the last two years, it makes sense for those hiring to look locally for new executives and other employees.

Hillary Hatch Graves raised nearly $1 billion in capital commitments while with Commonfund, which she joined in 2000, overseeing investor relations with 300 institutional investors.

Ms. Graves is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers, the National Association of Real Estate and Investment Managers, and NAIOP Massachusetts. She earned a degree in economics and finance from the University of Hartford and holds her Series 7 and 63 licenses.