EVP and Head of PNC Real Estate, PNC Financial Services Group

Some might think the World War I poster that Diana Reid has hanging in her office is chilling.

It shows an airplane that has crashed into the ocean while a lone survivor waits to be rescued, along with the message, "Warning: Consider the possible consequences if you are careless in your work."

But the poster resonates with Reid because it reminds her of the importance of the strong work ethic that her parents helped instill in her. It also underscores for her the need to communicate clearly — but also compassionately — with employees.

"Each colleague is doing the best they can at that moment, and intentional communications can help you both actually do better," Reid said.

Doing better is what Reid is always aiming for and that approach to her work is serving her well. Her business has posted double-digit commercial real estate loan growth for four consecutive years.

One new strategy helping spur growth this past year can be attributed to astute observations of the housing market.

In response to an undersupply of affordable housing, Reid took a contrarian approach to a sector many fear is getting overheated. She opted to put more emphasis on multifamily commercial real estate financing as competitors pulled back in the second half of 2015. The result was nearly $1 billion in loan volume with strong credit quality.

Her strategy included an expanded warehouse program for multifamily lenders and an affordable housing preservation fund, among other components. "The boom in multifamily housing means that affordable housing is at risk of being bought by investors and turned into market rate high-end housing," Reid said. "The design and implementation of a new affordable housing preservation fund created an innovative investment for clients and supported affordable housing investors by keeping affordable housing units for families in the communities served by PNC."

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