Andrew Dansker

First Vice President of Finance, Dansker Capital Group at Marcus & Millichap


Andrew Dansker is the First Vice President of Finance in the Manhattan office of Marcus & Millichap Capital Corporation (MMCC). Mr. Dansker is responsible for securing commercial debt financing for an array of property types including multifamily, office, retail, and hospitality. Over the course of his career, Mr. Dansker has arranged over $1 billion in debt. He has existing relationships with both national and regional lending sources including government agency lenders, commercial banks, CMBS lenders, life insurance companies, private and public funds and bridge lenders.

Mr. Dansker has more than ten years of experience in the real estate industry. Prior to joining MMCC, he was a mortgage broker at Cooper-Horowitz Inc. He also served as the Managing Director of Matrix Realty Group, was a summer associate in the offices of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver and Jacobson LLP and worked with Intervest National Bank in New York.

Mr. Dansker earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Chicago and a Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law.

Cathy Cunningham

Finance Editor, The Commercial Observer


Cathy Cunningham is the finance editor for the Commercial Observer. Since 2016 she has been responsible for leading the publication’s commercial real estate finance coverage nationwide. Originally from Scotland, Cathy began her professional career as a CMBS reporter for Institutional Investor in New York in 2005. Post crisis, she was a mortgage analyst at Bank of Scotland before moving to CREMAC Asset Management, where she was involved in the acquisition of commercial real estate whole loans and CMBS.

Seth Pinsky

Executive Vice President, RXR Realty


Seth Pinsky is an Executive Vice President at RXR Realty, where he is leading RXR’s efforts to invest in “emerging opportunities” in the New York region. He focuses on areas with significant growth potential, particularly in the Outer Boroughs and suburban downtowns.
Prior to RXR, Pinsky was Director of Mayor Bloomberg’s Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency, which developed a $20 billion plan to protect the City from climate change impacts. Pinsky also served at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, where he was President from 2008 to 2013.
While at NYCEDC, Pinsky was lead negotiator for projects such as Yankee Stadium, Citifield, the World Trade Center, and the acquisition of Hunters Point South in Queens. Other initiatives advanced under Pinsky’s leadership were developments in Willets Point, Coney Island, Homeport in Staten Island, Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx, and the Alexandria Center for Life Sciences. Under Pinsky, NYCEDC also managed the construction of the High Line, launched the East River Ferry and announced plans for the world’s largest observation wheel in Staten Island.
In the area of economic modernization, under Pinsky, NYCEDC launched business incubators across the City and oversaw the international Applied Sciences NYC competition, which will result in a new Carnegie-Mellon program in the Navy Yard, a significant expansion of Columbia’s engineering school, and the creation of a new engineering institute in Downtown Brooklyn led by NYU. It will also result in a $2 billion engineering campus on Roosevelt Island launched by Cornell and the Technion of Israel.
Prior to NYCEDC, Pinsky was an associate at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton and a financial analyst at James D. Wolfensohn Inc. He is a graduate of Columbia College and Harvard Law School, and is an Adjunct Senior Research Scholar at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Laurie Grasso

Partner, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP


Laurie Grasso is a real estate partner at the law firm, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP and resident in the New York office. An accomplished deal maker, Laurie takes a client-focused approach to her real estate practice, often acting as in-house counsel for her clients and becoming a trusted member of their businesses. She has a long list of clients who have been with her since the beginning of her practice and appreciate her ability to adeptly and efficiently handle any type of real estate deal.

Laurie represents real estate private equity funds, companies, institutional REITs, investors and other property owners in structuring and closing real estate transactions such as acquisitions and dispositions, developments, financings, portfolio transactions, preferred equity investments, leasing and real estate joint ventures. Her work touches all asset classes, including office, multifamily, mixed-use, hospitality, retail and condominium.
She also maintains an active capital markets and fund practice, representing investors in joint venture transactions and sophisticated fund and tax structures. Laurie is also well-versed in the Opportunity Zone program and is currently helping several clients through the process of structuring and investing in qualified properties and vehicles.

Laurie is a frequent speaker and is sought after by industry publications for her professional insights. Laurie has been recognized by a number of publications and ranking guides for being a leading lawyer in real estate. Most recently, Real Estate Forum selected Laurie for induction into the “Women of Influence Hall of Fame,” recognizing her longtime contributions to the commercial real estate industry.  She is one of only four law firm partners nationally to ever be inducted into the Hall of Fame, and one of 25 women to ever be recognized.

Garrett Thelander

Managing Director, CIT Real Estate Finance Group.


Garrett Thelander recently joined the CIT Real Estate Finance Group as a Managing Director. He is responsible for the origination, underwriting, negotiation and closing of senior secured loans for high quality sponsors, with a focus on deals east of the Mississippi River.
Before CIT, Mr. Thelander served for seven years as Executive Managing Director at Cushman & Wakefield, where he was responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Capital Services division, which served as the debt placement arm of the Massey Knakal legacy investment sales platform. Mr. Thelander was responsible for the recruitment and training of an eight-person mortgage brokerage team, as well as placing transactions. Cushman & Wakefield acquired Massey Knakal on December 31, 2014.
Prior to Cushman & Wakefield, Mr. Thelander spent seven years at Anglo Irish Bank as an Executive Vice President. During his tenure at Anglo Irish Bank, Mr. Thelander was part of the executive team responsible for hiring, strategic planning, and loan origination and structuring for what started as a two-person New York office and grew into a 35-person lending team. Mr. Thelander was responsible for originating almost $5.0 billion in loans in all asset classes while at Anglo Irish Bank.
Previously, Mr. Thelander was the Director of the Mortgage Finance Group for Kimco Realty Corporation where he was responsible for the arrangement, structuring and closing of all mortgage debt for this real estate investment trust, the largest owner of neighborhood and community shopping centers in the country.
Additionally, Mr. Thelander held senior level positions at Euro Hypo Bank, Deutsche Bank (formerly Bankers Trust) and UFJ Bank (formerly Sanwa Bank). He has direct experience with borrowers, mezz lenders, A-Note holders, and special servicers of loans with major developers in all regions of the country. Some of Mr. Thelander’s relationships include; Thor Equities, The Carlyle Group, AREA Property Partners and Forest City Enterprises. In his over 25 years as a real estate lender, Mr. Thelander was directly responsible for originating and closing over$10.0 billion in loans. In addition, Mr. Thelander has significant experience in loan workouts and asset management.

Mark Willis

Senior Policy Fellow, NYU Furman Center


Mark Willis is the Senior Policy Fellow at the NYU Furman Center. Previously, Mark served two years as interim Executive Director of the NYU Furman Center following the departure of Co-Director Vicki Been to the de Blasio administration. 
Before joining the NYU Furman Center, Mark was a Visiting Scholar at the Ford Foundation, working on research related to community development and the financial services sector. Prior to his time at Ford, he spent 19 years at JPMorgan Chase overseeing its community development program, serving as Executive Vice President and Founding President of the Chase Community Development Corporation. Mark has also held positions with the City of New York in economic development, tax policy, and housing, where he was the Deputy Commissioner for Development at the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. He also worked as an urban economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. 
Mark teaches Housing and Community Development Policy at NYU’s Wagner School and speaks often on urban, housing, and community development affairs. He chairs the Program Planning Committee of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and a number of other boards involved with housing and community development. 
Mark has a B.A. in economics from Yale University, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and a Ph.D. in urban economics and industrial organization from Yale University.