Fordham Law alumna Christie Houlihan ’11 was featured in a Real Estate Weekly article about her professional success.
A licensed attorney with a diverse legal background as well as experience working on Capitol Hill, she wears a number of hats at her family company, but her main focus is on the firm’s mortgage brokerage business. Last year alone, she helped the company close $700 million in new loan origination.
Houlihan is also the first woman in her family to join firm the firm since it was founded in 1891.
“When I was growing up, everyone I saw working in the real estate industry, including my family members, was a man,” she said. “I always knew it was what I wanted to do one day, but as a little kid I wasn’t able to visualize myself doing it because I didn’t see any other women doing it, and I always thought, up until I came back a couple years ago, that it would be literally me and bunch of guys. And it still is.”
Coming out of high school, Houlihan wanted to be a doctor, so she enrolled in a pre-med program at Northwestern University.
“I realized, over many hours in the library trying to memorize biology and calculus, that I was more interested in the policy behind medicine than the science itself,” she said.
This first pivot led her to Northwestern’s social policy program. From there, she landed an internship in Washington, D.C. working for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, which she parlayed into a prominent position in Hillary Clinton’s 2006 senate re-election campaign.
Working for the former First Lady and future presidential candidate forced Houlihan to be at the top of her game at the very beginning of her career. Getting to learn from Clinton and the numerous women she employed proved to be a highly influential experience for Houlihan as an aspiring businesswoman.
“She was my first employer out of college and the majority of her senior staff at the time were women,” Houlihan said. “For me, coming right out of college, to be surrounded by the best of the best, in their specific areas was really formative; I really looked up to every single one of these women and I tried to take as much as I could from them: how they acted as leaders, how they even dressed in the workplace — the same goes for the Senator herself — that has carried me through.”
After the campaign, Houlihan took a job in Congress, working for the House Committee on Energy & Commerce. While there, she was able to work on securing health care for children, something she is passionate about.
She then returned to New York to attend law school at Fordham University. During her first year, she worked for Houlihan-Parnes by day and took classes at night. Though this stint proved to be educational, giving her hands-on experience working in real estate during the 2008 financial crisis, she left the company after a year and a half to devote her full attention to the law.