Elisa Orlanski Ours has spent seven years as vice president of Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group’s Planning & Design department, which she founded after graduating with a master’s in architecture and four years of on-the-job experience as a construction manager. At this point, Ours has worked on more than 100 properties, notching over 6,500 residences, 1,400 kitchens, and 1,000 bathrooms on her proverbial belt.
Also mother to a four-year-old, Ours starts a typical day around 6:30 a.m., which may include back-to-back meetings with established architects (Robert A. M. Stern), up-and-coming design firms (workshop/apd), and real estate developers (Silverstein Properties). "I am never at my desk," she says, and the benefit of creating her own position is never having the same day twice. The uber-multitasker describes her role as an ever-changing combination of real estate marketing, property planning, design research, and collaborating with industry leaders and her team at Corcoran Sunshine.
Somewhere in that tightly packed day planner, she schedules time to lead real estate–focused workshops at Columbia University, her alma mater. Ours explains that there is an "innate allure to the academic commitment of teaching future generations," and the university’s Center for Urban Real Estate (CURE) program fuses architecture, construction, real estate, urban design, planning, and marketing in a manner very similar to her own career path. She’s come a long way from the days of wearing her husband’s clothes to a building site, observing that "I am seeing a lot more women in construction now, which is really refreshing. And the women who have construction backgrounds excel faster in architecture because they have more experience and a greater skill set to bring to the table."