Meet Baillie Yip
Baillie oversees acquisitions, fundraising, and corporate finance for Rafi Properties’ portfolio in Hong Kong and the United States. Rafi is a Boston-based real estate development company focusing on value-add opportunities in residential, office, and industrial sectors. One of its key investments include an approximately 300,000 square feet flex tech portfolio in Somerville, MA.
Baillie has almost a decade of real estate investing experience. Prior to Rafi, she worked at Goldman Sachs and Gaw Capital Partners. Baillie received a Bachelor of Science degree in Operations Research and a Master of Real Estate Development degree at Columbia University in New York.
Q: How did you get your start in Commercial Real Estate Development and what drew you to this field of work?
A: I started my career in the equity research division at an investment bank. At first, I was analyzing publicly listed real estate companies and crunching numbers all day. But I knew I wanted to learn more about real estate because I had always enjoyed interior design. I started going to open houses for fun to look at different design and explore new neighborhoods. My weekend hobby organically turned into a side hustle where I was actively buying, renovating, and selling apartments. I realized that my hobby was bringing me more joy and satisfaction than having a prestigious finance job. Soon after, I decided to quit my banking role and make the switch to commercial real estate development.
Q: What does it mean to you to be a woman in CRE Development?
A: In the beginning of my career, I was always very conscious that I was the only woman in the room. Over the years, I learned to focus less on our differences and more on how my uniqueness can contribute to my team. I started to leverage my strengths as a woman in negotiation and execution. I realized that I can be an important asset by utilizing my soft skills in a heated negotiation. In execution, I tend to focus more on the details. Being a woman and having these different traits perfectly complement my team, which is predominantly male.
Q: What would you say to young professionals coming up in the industry?
A: Be authentic. You will get different comments and criticism on how you should behave as a woman throughout your career. Do not try to change who you are and instead focus on being the best at what you do. Your work and authenticity will shine through.