Lydia Tan named one of 2023’s Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business
Abbey MRED+D lecturer Lydia Tan has been named one of the Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business by the San Francisco Business Times. As an instructor and mentor, Lydia utilizes her decades of experience in the real estate industry to guide the next generation of real estate developers using foundational principles of design, sustainability, resilience, equity and inclusion. We spoke to Lydia about her contribution to MRED+D and what influence means to her.
Why did you become involved with the MRED+D program? What have you most enjoyed about working with the program?
I have always valued the mentoring aspect of leadership, and teaching in the MRED+D program allows me to engage fully in this. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the future leaders of the industry and seeing how passionate they are about shaping the built environment through development and investment.
Can you talk a bit about your work as a leader, a community partner, and a mentor that has earned you recognition as one of the “Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business”?
I was frankly surprised to be acknowledged, as the work I am involved with has me mostly behind the scenes with a relatively low profile. That said, my main focus working with the Oakland Roots and Oakland Soul is an incredible opportunity to bring the many aspects of my work and volunteerism together in one effort: my experience as an architect, a developer, and an institutional investor, along with my many roles with community-based organizations focused on purpose and impact (BRIDGE Housing, S.H. Cowell Foundation, Housing Accelerator Fund, TNDC, Terner Center, SPUR, etc.). All of these experiences shape who I am as a person and a developer, and how I do my work.
What does influence mean to you? How have you used your decades of experience to positively influence the next generation of designers and developers who come through the MRED+D program?
I consider “influence” as a responsibility — it represents my ability to help connect people and organizations so that they expand their own networks, learn and flourish — a responsibility I embrace wholeheartedly. I am really grateful to have found a vocation through which I can constantly learn and connect — the breadth and depth of expertise that is corralled to bring a new development to fruition means that there is always something new to learn about and lots of people to learn from. I value that interconnectedness as I strongly believe it makes for better projects, grows lifelong relationships, and results in a more fulfilling work environment. I am happy to share both my perspective about lifelong learning as well as my “lessons learned” in the classroom and within the teams I work alongside.