Erin Stafford Honored with Prestigious Award in CRE Finance


Erin Stafford, Managing Director and head of North American commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) ratings activity at Morningstar DBRS, has been recognized with the Woman of Distinction Award by the CRE Finance Council (CREFC). This prestigious award is given to women professionals in the commercial real estate (CRE) finance industry who demonstrate exceptional leadership skills and advocate for a more inclusive industry.

With over 20 years of experience in the CRE finance industry, Stafford has made significant contributions to the industry. Prior to joining Morningstar DBRS, she co-founded its CMBS team and played a crucial role in building its market presence. Stafford has also been actively involved in CREFC, serving as an Advisory Board Member of the Women’s Network and participating in the Mentorship Program. In addition, she has served as Chair of the Servicers Forum and as a co-Chair of the Post Securitization committee, where she contributed to enhancements in CREFC’s Investor Reporting Package™.

Expressing her gratitude upon receiving the award, Stafford said, “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.”

Lisa Pendergast, Executive Director of CREFC, praised Stafford’s commitment to the organization and the industry, stating, “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.”

In a separate recognition, Brian Olasov, Executive Director of Financial Services Consulting at Carlton Fields, was awarded the 2024 Founders Award by CREFC. This award acknowledges industry professionals who have shown outstanding leadership and made significant contributions to CREFC and the commercial real estate finance sector.

Olasov, with a career spanning over three decades, is highly regarded for his extensive knowledge of commercial real estate finance. He has held various leadership roles within CREFC, including Chair of the National Policy Committee and co-Chair of the International Committee. Olasov’s impact on the industry has been profound, and he has played a pivotal role in enhancing the commercial real estate market and improving debt liquidity.

Expressing his gratitude, Olasov said, “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.”

Both recipients have made remarkable contributions to the CRE finance industry and have positively influenced the next generation of professionals through their leadership and dedication. CREFC continues to play a crucial role in promoting liquidity, transparency, and efficiency in commercial real estate finance markets.

While the article highlights the recognition and accomplishments of Erin Stafford and Brian Olasov in the CRE finance industry, there are several additional facts and current market trends that can be added to provide a more comprehensive discussion.

One current market trend in commercial real estate finance is the increasing use of technology and data analytics. With advancements in technology, lenders and investors are able to gather and analyze vast amounts of data to make more informed decisions. This includes evaluating property performance, assessing risks, and predicting market trends. The use of technology and data analytics has led to improved efficiencies and more accurate risk assessments in the CRE finance industry.

Another trend is the growing importance of sustainability and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations in commercial real estate. Investors and lenders are increasingly looking for sustainable and socially responsible projects to finance. This includes properties that prioritize energy efficiency, reduce carbon footprint, and promote social equity. Incorporating ESG considerations not only aligns with global sustainability goals but also provides long-term economic benefits through lower operating costs and increased tenant demand.

Forecasting the future of the CRE finance industry, there are both advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side, the recovery of the global economy and low interest rates are expected to support the growth of commercial real estate investments. As the economy rebounds, demand for office, retail, and industrial spaces is likely to increase, presenting opportunities for lenders and investors.

However, there are also challenges and controversies associated with the subject. One key challenge is the potential for a market downturn or economic recession. Rising interest rates, geopolitical tensions, and unforeseen events such as natural disasters or pandemics can impact the stability of the CRE finance market. Lenders and investors need to be prepared for potential market fluctuations and have risk mitigation strategies in place.

Additionally, there is ongoing controversy surrounding the impact of speculative investments and oversupply in certain real estate markets. Oversupply of properties, particularly in the retail sector, can lead to vacancy and reduced rental rates, affecting the profitability of investments. Balancing supply and demand dynamics is essential for sustained growth and stability in the industry.

To stay updated on the latest news and developments in the CRE finance industry, individuals can visit the official website of CREFC at CREFC provides resources, research, and industry insights to its members, promoting transparency and best practices in commercial real estate finance.