(This interview originally published in our November 2016 issue of our quarterly newsletter, The Arch.)
Landmarks Illinois Board Member Anne Voshel is a Chicago-based business leader and philanthropist with a BA in Civil Engineering from University of Michigan and an MBA from University of Chicago. She owns AVA Consultants, which provides owner’s representative services for commercial real estate. Several nonprofits benefit from Anne’s leadership and generosity, including LI, where she has been a board member since 1990, not counting three mandatory sunset years. Anne has served as a committee, event and vice chair.
Landmarks Illinois: You are among Landmarks Illinois’ longest-serving board members. What drew you to this organization, and what has motivated you to stay involved for 23 years and counting?
Anne Voshel: I was originally asked to join Landmarks Illinois’ former President’s Board, but I soon found I could better serve on the “Big Board” (the Board of Directors). Also, before returning to Chicago, I lived for a few years in Houston where most everything was new. I would get nostalgic seeing the older buildings in Chicago, like the Marquette Building and the Rookery – even the bungalow homes. My professional life is focused on developing and renovating buildings, and getting involved with an organization that works to preserve our architectural heritage just resonated with me.
LI: As a respected leader in the male-dominated civil engineering field, what advice would you give women considering careers in engineering or the real estate and building industries?
AV: Ask questions, listen well, work harder than your colleagues, speak up for yourself so your superiors understand your contributions and accomplishments and make sure you enjoy what you do.
LI: You recently matched another board member’s major gift commitment with a generous $100,000 donation in support of LI’s Field Office Program via your family foundation, Van Dam Charitable Foundation. Why make such a significant investment in a program serving areas of Illinois outside Chicago?
AV: Our state is filled with wonderful history. If there isn’t a voice that speaks up, we run the risk of losing irreplaceable assets. We were able to get Chicago on good, financial footing. Now it’s time to radiate out to the rest of the state.
LI: This fall, you are co-chairing our Real Estate and Building Industries Council event – an annual program you have personally helped grow. Who should come to this event and why?
AV: This year’s event will be at Union Station and will include tours of three of the spectacularly renovated areas. This is a great networking event, so anyone in the real estate industry that wants to see a new, exciting space, while meeting developers, bankers, brokers, architects, contractors or others who enjoy seeing part of our history being restored should attend.