Position: Chief executive and founding principal, Coldwell Banker Commercial Capitol Realty Services of Vienna, a full-service commercial real estate services firm.

Career highlights: Executive vice president, ownership services, eastern region, Insignia/ESG; executive director, Washington office, Insignia; managing director, Washington region, CB Richard Ellis; managing director, asset services, CB Richard Ellis; senior property manager, Cabot, Cabot & Forbes; director, health care division, Marriott Corp.

Age: 44

Education: BS, management, National-Louis University.

Personal: Lives in Warrenton with wife, Tina, and their son, Justin, 17.

How did you get to where you are today? It's only fair to say that I got my work ethic from my parents. Both were in significant positions throughout my childhood and had lots of responsibilities. As a result, they had to work very hard to maintain a family environment that was conducive to a feeling of belonging and the establishment of values. Watching how they went about their lives instilled in me the desire and drive to want to work hard and do well.

My first real career position was with Marriott. I was with their health care division for eight years. My responsibilities included oversight of the clinical and operational aspects of the nutrition program. . . . I learned that the marriage between a successful business model and how you treat the people around you is the key to a successful enterprise. I was offered an opportunity to enter the real estate business as a property manager. I really didn't know anything about the business. So when I was presented with the opportunity, I did research to find out what it was really about.

Once I accepted the position, I jumped in with both feet. . . . I took courses, got an industry designation RPA [real property administrator] through BOMA [Building Owners and Managers Association]. . . .

I had two mentors. One, Jack Evans, was my immediate supervisor. He was very patient and understanding that I had a limited knowledge of the industry and he provided me the time necessary for me to get up to speed. What I really learned from him was to never stop learning. Always leave yourself open to the possibility that there is a different way of doing something that would make it more effective. Second, Eric Johnson of CB Richard Ellis. He saw in me what I may not have been able to see in myself. He gave me every opportunity to really take that giant step forward in my career and take on responsibility that I may have not felt that I was prepared for. . . .

Moving out of property management and taking the job as managing director of CB Richard Ellis was where I went from being responsible only for the property management aspect of the business to being responsible for all of the services we provided throughout the organization. And that process allowed me to have a complete view of the industry and how each of the different services in the industry impact the client or the end-user. . . .

This is an industry where I always find myself learning something. There is always a new or more effective way. Be a sponge. Soak up as much knowledge and information as you can and that will engage you in discussion and continue to teach you more as you go forward.

-- Judith Mbuya