Julie Chase, owner and founder of Chase Communications in San Francisco, has a lucky last name. She had worked in real estate for many years before she joined a public relations firm owned by a woman who happened to have her same last name. The firm, Lori Chase and Co., specialized in real estate.
"We are completely unrelated but I ran with it and it opened a lot of doors for me," Chase recalls. "It gave me the opportunity to go out there and start building business for her. Inadvertently, I had quite a lot of credibility because of the last name."
Chase stayed with the firm for two years before deciding to go it alone, opening shop on her own with no staff members and only one client in tow. After a few weeks, she landed a second client and then she felt "emboldened enough to hire an employee." This was 1997. Flash forward to 2006 and Chase Communications is working to open a second office in Washington, D.C., has a mixture of 10 employees and represents clients in real estate, health care, education, finance, retail, education and hospitality.
"I felt that we all learned a lot oflessons after the Internet boom and bust and for me one of the lessons was that you have to stay diversified," Chase said. She has kept her place in the real estate communications world but health care is her second largest area of expertise.
"I get a lot of satisfaction working within health care because you’re really reaching out to getting a drug or device to people who need it," she said. "It’s more personally satisfying to improve health care per se. It also gives me the opportunity to have real estate, which is very local and personal, and health care, which is very global. I like having those roots knowing that on a global scale, you can have impact."
Chase represents housing developments at One Rincon Hill in the South of Market neighborhood. This project, she says, has been challenging due to the community and government involvement.
"A lot of the city is divided in their opinion in terms of what constitutes market rate and affordable housing," she said. "There’re other challenges with design and parking and understanding what will be the best development neighborhood by neighborhood."