Valbridge Women’s Council Member Spotlight: Carla Mendoza-Hansel
May 24, 2021
Date: May 24, 2021
VPA Office: Houston
I was born and raised in Peru. Long story short: My father originally wanted me to be an accountant, I tried for Industrial Engineering, steered to law, and ended up in real estate.
I guess the long version is I graduated from Law School at the University of Lima and passed the bar exam there. (No, I cannot practice law in the states. We use the Civil Law Code system so I’d barely know where to even begin with Common Law). I assisted at my family’s business for a while in tax consulting and transfer pricing services before graduating. While looking for a Master’s Degree, I stumbled upon the Masters of Real Estate at Texas A&M and after visiting the campus – I was visiting my then-boyfriend, now husband- I applied to the program as it did seem pretty interesting. I wanted something business-related, but not tax-related.
I applied to the MRE program, graduated, got a job, and after six years (give or take), here I am.
What is your title and what do you do at Valbridge?
I’m an Appraiser (I don’t know, maybe Appraiser Jr. if such thing exists). Valbridge was my first job out of the MRE program, so basically, my real estate career started here. Since the beginning, I have been involved in a variety of property types from retail, industrial, agricultural land, multifamily, office, specialty types (like a theater). I have assisted appraisers in litigation support, worked on right of way, market studies, and pretty much worked on anything that came my way.
How did you become a part of Valbridge and VWC?
Something truly helpful that came out of the Texas A&M MRE program is being in touch with professionals from different areas in real estate. Someone else’s experiences in the field is more telling than a description of your tasks. It didn’t take me long to realize I liked valuation due to always being different and the most stable out of all areas in real estate. I appreciate stability a lot. I started looking for jobs in valuation and later Michele Wood recruited me and that’s how I landed in Valbridge Houston.
What are your specialty areas?
Multifamily. I have worked on conventional, low-income, and senior housing and have experience in valuation and market studies for HUD and TDHCA.
What are some of the most interesting projects you've worked on at Valbridge?
One was a litigation support job related to residential homes affected by fault lines stigma. I didn’t even know Houston had fault lines! Here I thought I had escaped earth movement when I came to Houston...
Another really cool learning experience was a right-of-way portfolio job which was located at the Rio Grande border. Not sure how much I can talk about this one, but we went as far as to see the Rio Grande River, could see the other side of the river. A lot of stories over there!
Another one worth mentioning was appraising the Spaghetti Warehouse in Downtown Houston after it flooded during Hurricane Harvey. My shoes went out of commission that day but it was interesting to see a building after such a disaster (without being personally affected by the disaster). I call that a privilege.
What do you like most about working at Valbridge and being a member of the VWC?
About Valbridge, I like the sense of family. I know I am capable of surviving and adapting but finding a place where one is treated with respect and kindness is, in my opinion, important. I see my peers (within the U.S. and outside of it) constantly stressed. Most of my friends do not even have kids like myself but nonetheless, the mental struggle in different fields is real which is made worse when the work environment treats you as another asset. I am grateful I found a place to grow and learn from very experienced people in different fields all the while keeping a nice pace for myself. The human quality of the people I work with is outstanding.
About VWC, I appreciate the initiative and all the experience these professionals who have already gone through several years in the field have to share both professionally and personally. One day I’ll be in their shoes so it’s good to hear what they have to say and take the lessons I can learn.