Joelle Denham: Transforming Business Operations through Strategic Technology Integration

Joelle Denham, CFO, The Bulfinch Companies

BOSTON- Joelle Denham is the first-ever Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of The Bulfinch Companies, Inc., and oversees the Greater Boston real estate investment firm’s overseeing accounting, performance measurement and reporting for retail, multifamily, office and industrial/development accounts worth $4.3 Billion in property value. Since joining Bulfinch, she has led the strategic planning and redevelopment of Bulfinch’s financial reporting team and business planning for the firm’s portfolio of more than $3.6 billion in assets.

Photo: Cambridge Discovery Park, Cambridge, MA – © Aerial Boston

As CFO, Denham guides strategic planning and development of Bulfinch’s financial reporting and business planning as well as play a hands-on role in the day-to-day accounting process, working closely with Bulfinch ownership and the accounting and financial reporting team. As a member of Bulfinch’s Senior Leadership Team, Denham serves as a strong female role model and as a mentor to young professionals. She is a member of several of Bulfinch’s committees, including the Investment Committee, Valuation Committee, Asset Management Committee and Technology Committee (where she was selected as the Co-chair).

In her new role as Co-Chair of the Technology Committee, she directs the evaluation and implementation of new technology integrations. Ms. Denham successfully helped lead the implementation of Yardi, a property management software that has transformed Bulfinch’s business operations while supporting the company’s commitment to environmental responsibility through paperless operations. The Yardi launch allowed Bulfinch to conduct business as usual with a distributed workforce during the pandemic, which played a key role in Bulfinch’s being honored with the Robert S. Swain Award at the 2021 REFA Gala.

Photo: 117 Kendrick Street, Needham, MA – © Robert Benson Photography

Denham has over 20 years of experience, previously serving as VP of AEW Capital Management L.P. where she participated in AEW’s Real Estate Technology Counsel and as a judge for the Chris Kazantis Real Estate Challenge Board. She received the AEW Distinguished Service Award in 2020 and 2014 in recognition of exceptional work and great attitude. Ms. Denham is deeply committed to giving back to her profession and community. She is an active participant on the REFA Programs Committee, recently completed the KPMG Executive Leadership Institute for Women and serves as a judge for Suffolk University’s ENT 101 Business Foundations Course. Outside the workplace, she sits on the Board of The Half Percent Project and volunteers at the Little Paws Dachshund Rescue and Sophia Grace Foundation.

The Bulfinch Companies, Inc. is a third-generation, entrepreneurial, value-added real estate investment firm specializing in the development, acquisition, management, and repositioning of commercial properties in Greater Boston. With over than $3.3 Billion in assets, Bulfinch has built a reputation for identifying opportunities and creating valuable and coveted properties across many industries. The firm’s disciplined approach, entrepreneurial mindset, depth of experience and focus on meeting the needs of both their tenants and the community have produced an enviable track record and roster of tenants and investors for over 86 years.

Boston Real Estate Times asked Joelle Denham a few questions as a part of our coverage of the 2022 Outstanding Women in Real Estate Awards.

Boston Real Estate Times: How has real estate changed your life?

Joelle Denham: I have always loved numbers from an early age and knew that I would end up attending a college with a business focus. Immediately after graduating from Bentley University, I joined the real estate group at Arthur Andersen. It was there that I found my first interest in real estate and established my background in public accounting. That experience, coupled with my choice to later pursue a career in the private sector, has allowed for a successful 20-year career in the real estate industry and involvement in the Real Estate Finance Association’s program committee.

BRET: In your experience, how has the industry changed in recent years as far as technology, markets and demands are concerned?

JD: The pandemic has significantly impacted the CRE industry and changed the way in which we operate and do business. These impacts have accelerated the adoption of new technology in order to operate more efficiently.

I have had the pleasure of overseeing the implementation of several new software platforms over the last few years, such as Yardi, that are transforming the way Bulfinch does business and helping to create efficiencies to streamline productivity.

Serving as Co-chair for our Technology Committee at Bulfinch, my proudest moment has been the successful implementation of Yardi, a property management software that has transformed the efficiency of our business and how we operate. One of the benefits Yardi has provided is accelerating our efforts towards becoming completely paperless, particularly for payables, which supports Bulfinch mission and commitment to environmental and sustainable responsibility. Yardi has also been a critical tool during the pandemic, allowing our team to conduct business as usual with a distributed workforce.

Environment, social, and corporate governance will also continue to be a major focus for companies, particularly with the implementation of new technologies providing the ability to track and evaluate more data.

Finally, the need to create diverse, equitable and inclusive environments for all is the foundation of the future of development. At Bulfinch, I am proud to be part of a team that is committed to meeting the needs of all of our stakeholders – our team, tenants, investors, partners and the community.





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