How to Invest in Your Passions with President & Founder of Citrine Investment Group Lynn Jerath

Lynn Jerath is the President & Founder of Citrine Investment Group, a real estate investment company that is dedicated to positively impacting communities and empowering the people they serve. 

Here is what Lynn had to say when we asked her about investing in your passions: 

GenHERation®: What is entrepreneurial real estate investment?

Lynn Jerath: Buying a townhouse, home, or condo and renting it out to other people can be an investment. An entrepreneurial real estate investment is more formalized and creative. We have investors looking for unique opportunities in our sector to create value for stakeholders and the community at large. For example, this could be buying a building, renovating it, and bringing in creative tenants to take over the space. Overall, entrepreneurial real estate investment is about taking it to the next level and thinking outside the box. 

GenHERation®: What is the most important soft skill and hard skill needed to succeed in the finance industry? 

Jerath: An important soft skill from an investor’s lens is being able to predict what is going to happen next at the right time with the right conviction, and then deciding how much to invest. I would summarize this as judgment. What is your judgment call? Your judgment gets better with learning, experience, and expertise. Every day is different. You do not need to be one thing in finance. You can be on the marketing side of finance. Or, the tech side of finance. You can find where you fit. As an investor, quantitative analysis, having an affinity for numbers, and liking math is important. Logical thinking is important as well. Meaning, you have the ability to look at words and create plans and structure.

GenHERation®: As someone who has held leadership positions across different companies, what is the best way to get selected or noticed for opportunities when you are one of many employees at an organization?

Jerath: Working the hardest is not the answer. Work does not always speak for itself. While it is important to work hard, you have to know yourself and be able to promote yourself. It is important to find the balance between working hard and promoting yourself. Be able to vocalize, “I did research, here is this work.” Find your passion points, communicate what you are interested in, and share what value you can bring to the table. I encourage you to do your job and then do the job of the person more senior to you to show you are rising to the occasion. Keeping a “kudos file” will also make it easier to track your accomplishments and promote yourself. 

GenHERation®: You are extremely involved with your alma mater, so what advice do you have for connecting with those in your alumni community after you graduate from college? 

Jerath: This is everyone’s individual choice. Most universities make it easy to stay involved. One of the best ways to do so is to seek out alumni relations at your university. You can sign up for events, donate whatever you can afford, or volunteer. There are online alumni databases as well. I encourage you to connect with other alumni in the city you live in or are visiting. Just start somewhere and the relationship and involvement can grow from there. 

GenHERation®: Philanthropy is an important part of your life, so what actions can individuals take to be more philanthropic in their daily lives?

Jerath: My passions rest in education, poverty alleviation through opportunities, and the arts. These are three things I like to highlight in my philanthropy. When you engage in your community, you grow a network by getting involved and meeting others outside of your industry. Philanthropy is all about connecting with the right people. What is important to you? What drives you? Philanthropy can simply be community engagement or donating food to the food bank. It does not need to be a big part of your life. Think about what you like, name it, and it can grow and shift if you want it to. Most people care and want to get involved, but they do not know where to start. 

GenHERation®: What do you know now that you wish you knew the day you graduated from college?

Jerath: I wish I knew that I mattered and had already earned my place. I thought I had to prove that I was worthy of earning my degree. I would stop asking myself, “Can I make it?” Instead, I would tell myself, “I already made it.”

Lynn Jerath is the President & Founder of Citrine Investment Group, a real estate investment company that is dedicated to positively impacting communities and empowering the people they serve. Lynn has over 25 years of experience in institutional and entrepreneurial real estate investment and runs her own private equity and advisory firm. During her career, Lynn has completed $10 billion in transactions of various forms, including complex joint ventures with operating partners, direct purchases and sales of real estate, public market transactions, mezzanine investments, and other highly structured transactions. Through her widespread work in real estate and over twenty years of philanthropic engagement, Lynn has realized the extent to which racial segregation exists not just geographically but also in capital availability. Part of her vision is improving the situations of people living in the country’s most profoundly disinvested communities. 

Lynn’s firm, Citrine Investment Group, is actively investing in real estate, including adaptive reuse, value add, land entitlement, and opportunistic transactions. Lynn raised a $50M opportunity zone fund in 2019 for an Indianapolis real estate group, previously ran an absolute return, value oriented long/short hedge fund focused on publicly traded real estate and related sectors, and has also owned and operated hotels. Prior to founding Citrine, Lynn spent seven years as a Senior Vice President and partner at GEM Realty Capital, a real estate securities and private equity firm. Prior to GEM, Lynn was a Vice President at The Carlyle Group and worked at Goldman Sachs (The Whitehall Funds). 

Lynn is on the Advisory Board of Sundance Bay, a Utah based real estate investment company. Previously, she served on the board of Lotus Bancorp for 10 years until its sale in 2015. She is the Chair of the Urban Development and Mixed Use Purple Council and a member of the ULI Health Leaders Initiative within the Urban Land Institute. 

She is a Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania, member of the University of Pennsylvania’s Endowment Investment Board, Advisory Board member of Penn’s Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, member of the Trustees Council of Penn Women, and has endowed an undergraduate scholarship. She graduated magna cum laude from Wharton in 1995. 

Lynn is also a member of the Economic Club of Chicago, and on the non-profit boards of the National Poetry Foundation, Chicago Furniture Bank, and Embarc Chicago. She lives in Lincoln Park with her husband, Kunal, son, Avi, and dog, Riley. Her oldest son, Amar, is currently a sophomore at the Wharton School.

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