Ten Minutes with Tara Stacom
A leading commercial-real-estate agent
Photo by Douglas Foulke
Tara Stacom serves as a vice chairman at Cushman & Wakefield, where she has handled more than 40 million square feet of commercial real estate and has won countless awards including the Henry Rice Award for the leasing of One World Trade Center. She is consistently ranked as one of the firm’s top-producing brokers and was number one worldwide in 2004. She and her husband Arthur Diedrick have a home in Morris.
Both your parents were successful brokers at Cushman & Wakefield. Was there pressure to enter real estate?
Well, I got my real-estate license at 16. My mother walked two of my siblings and me into the real-estate class in Greenwich, where we were living. The teacher explained to my mother that she couldn’t bring her kids to class. She proudly exclaimed, “Oh, I’m not taking the class. They are.”
Did you believe it was your calling?
I always thought I would go into broadcasting. Then when I graduated with a degree in finance my dream was to work on Wall Street. But it was the 1980 recession and there were no jobs. So I took a sales job at HBO. When my division was shut down, my father encouraged me to try real estate. I went to work at Cushman & Wakefield, and 35 years later I am still there. The entrepreneurial aspect of real estate was right for me.
One of your sisters is at Cushman & Wakefield. Are you at all competitive?
Darcy’s world is the selling of buildings. I am on the leasing side but will represent a client who has space to sell.
Of all the deals you’ve brokered, which one means the most to you?
The Condé Nast lease at One World Trade Center has been a labor of love for me and one of the most significant deals of my career. It has brought the focus back to downtown and turned everybody’s perspective around.
What excites you most about your job?
My clients rely on my expertise and how best to manage their real-estate port-folios. I love the art of negotiation. I love a deal. Planning the strategy keeps me passionate and energized every day.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
My father said: Ask yourself a thousand and one questions before you meet a new client and anticipate each and every question and know all the answers. Do a lot of work and research. Put yourself in the mind of the client. That makes you feel so confident when you walk into that room.
How did you and Arthur meet?
By sheer circumstance; it was definitely not a setup. I was working on a charity event and the committee decided I should be the one to try to entice Arthur to become involved. He did, and a week later he asked if I would go out with him. We’ve been together almost 25 years.
What is life in Morris like for you?
I would stay home all the time, but Arthur is very social, and we entertain a lot on Saturday nights. I do love the outdoors—biking, hiking, playing golf, working in the garden. It’s the perfect antidote to my professional life.