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Building Bridges
Robyn Young, Eller Finance ’98
Executive Vice President, Marketing & Communications, RED Development

By Liz Warren-Pederson

Robyn Young.  Photo courtesy Robyn Young.

Robyn Young.
Photo courtesy Robyn Young.

Robyn Young grew up in Scottsdale, but came to the UA for what she called the true college experience. “I had always followed UA sports and was attracted to the community,” she explained. “I studied business and majored in finance because I thought it would prepare me for a variety of roles.”

She joined ADP in Tucson after graduation, but moved back to Phoenix a year later and began a career with Westcor/Macerich, marketing the company’s shopping centers across metro Phoenix. “Then I moved to Los Angeles to market southern California shopping centers,” she said.

In 2004, she returned to Phoenix as her role with the company began to evolve. “Six of my nine years with Macerich, I focused on development and redevelopment projects,” she said. Young secured entitlements for the company’s assets in Arizona and in no-growth communities such as Santa Monica and Marin County. It was during this work, through her responsibility overseeing stakeholder communications for development projects in the company’s national portfolio, that she found her niche.

“My passion is building bridges and relationships with clients and different audiences,” she explained. “It’s important to begin relationship building early on, before development or redevelopment begins, and to work with all the stakeholders, from city staff and managers to neighbors to retailers. It’s all about connecting the dots between different interests.”

Young took that talent to RED Development three years ago. “The fast-paced, entrepreneurial environment appealed to me,” she said. “RED is well-respected in Phoenix and the 11 states that it operates in, and that can very much be attributed to the types of projects we develop, which encompass everything from urban mixed-use projects to lifestyle properties.”

Over the last several years, she’s experienced first-hand how business strategy shifts in response to market forces. “The whole industry was impacted by the downturn,” she said. “There was a lot of uncertainty. During the downtown, we were focused on asset management and remerchandising to bring more value to our customers. As we started to come out of the downturn, we moved into acquisition.” RED purchased over two million square feet of retail space during that time. “Now development is starting to pick back up again, and it’s been fun to be back in that environment,” she said.

It is, she said, a dynamic industry. “There are lots of shopping environments in Arizona, and it’s an industry that’s always evolving,” she said. “I always enjoy expanding my knowledge and skill set – marketing and the retail industry are changing every day.”

Young’s work has not gone unrecognized: she was recently honored as one of the Phoenix Business Journal’s Dynamic Women in Business.

“I’ve always been very driven,” she said. “As my career progresses, perhaps my finance background will come into play again. I’m fortunate to work in a culture that doesn’t put a box around how you can contribute.”

Top photo of RED Development’s downtown Phoenix Cityscape property courtesy RED Development.