If you’ve ever watched “Yellowstone,” or any other Taylor Sheridan series, you know the importance land has to the shows’ plots and characters. Rachelle Strole, owner and partner of Capital Asset Management, serves as a real-life example of what happens when land makes its mark in your heart. “I was born in Montana and grew up in South Dakota. Both sides of my family are big farmers,” she says. “I think you just have a thing for land — a kind of reverence for dirt and land. I think people where I grew up just look at it differently.”
Although Strole’s adventures eventually took her from the North to the Southwest, her love of the land has remained. And so has an equally engrained work ethos, also acquired at a young age.
“My dad built hotels,” Strole explains. “[My family] built them and they owned them. And so, as a kid, I traveled a lot with my dad.”
Strole chuckles, recalling her first job at age 14. “[My dad] was sweet enough to make sure that my first job was cleaning rooms in a convention center.”
Since then, Strole has worked her way from various hospitality jobs and graduating college to a successful career as a lender to founding Capital Asset Management (CAM), a full-service commercial real estate firm focusing on the development and management of commercial ventures.
When asked if her ultimate goal was to establish a full-service CRE firm, Strole laughs again, saying, “It was not by choice. I didn’t wake up one day and go, ‘oh, let’s throw everything under one roof.’”
In fact, CAM was ultimately born out of necessity. “I was a lender and a government underwriter for years and years,” she says. “We were positioned to be the first asset manager for the first FDIC structured sale portfolio. When banks got shut down, we ended up with this portfolio in 2009 — $780 million worth of commercial real estate assets.”
The portfolio, Strole describes, was an ensemble of “dogs, cats, car washes, dirt, storage centers and things that were half constructed and some that shouldn’t have been constructed.
“And working on that with the government and our partners,” she notes, “just had to be done under one roof.”
Today, Strole still — happily — works with dogs, cats, car washes, dirt and storage centers (among other commercial projects), but in what she describes as a significantly more “controlled” way. “The only thing I haven’t built yet is a medical office building,” she says, “and now we’re playing with doing that.”
Outside of work, Strole spends time with her husband, two children and collection of pets (including a saltwater eel). But, when quizzed on how balance enters her world, Strole is brutally honest. “There is no such thing as balance,” she says. “I think you have to accept that. I think that women especially, feel pressured to make everything perfect and feel at peace and it’s just not real. It’s not reality. So just accept it. Do what you can do and do the best you can do each day.”
And as for the next generations of women developers, CRE professionals and lovers of the land, Strole suggests this: “Work hard. Be kind. Work harder. Tell the truth.”