Meet Paul, Operations

headshotFull Name: Paul J Kurzawa
Title: Executive Vice President - Operations, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield 

Paul Kurzawa is a real estate and entertainment executive with 25 years of international multi-asset and multi-discipline expertise in the commercial real estate and entertainment industries. He has worked for some of the most distinguished global real estate and entertainment companies in the world including The Blackstone Group, Equity Office Properties, DreamWorks Animation, Westfield Corporation, Lend Lease Corporation and Caruso. His most recent achievements include the launch of a $500 million redevelopment & repositioning project for Willis Tower in Chicago, the largest redevelopment project undertaken by The Blackstone Group anywhere in the world. Paul also launched a multi-million dollar retail development and entertainment business for DreamWorks launching two first of-its-kind location based entertainment concepts specifically developed to embrace and enhance the changing retail environment. During Paul’s tenure as Chief Operating Officer for Caruso, one of the nations most highly respected private real estate developers, he was directly involved in the development of 8500 Burton Way and The Americana at Brand mixed use developments located in Los Angeles, California. He also assumed leadership roles in the redevelopment of Westfield Century City and Westfield Valley Fair and oversaw executive management of Westfield’s west coast operations. Paul is a frequent speaker at industry conferences in the United States, Australia and China. He lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife and two children.

Share your career story. 
My career started in retail financial services (management of investment funds and superannuation products) for a large international real estate company (Lend Lease). After 2 years I moved to the retail shopping center side of the business and immediately realized a passion for real estate. Over the span of my career, I’ve held roles in management, marketing, development and leasing across multiple asset classes (retail, residential, office and hotel). I also spent three years working in the entertainment industry which has provided me a unique skill set to bring to the evolution of real estate, especially retail shopping centers.

Who/what influenced or inspired you?
My father was an executive for Wang Computers, so he was (and still is) a strong influence on my professional development. I knew I wanted to pursue a career in commercial real estate in an executive management role.

What do you love most about your job? What are its biggest challenges?
Love interacting with people, whether team members, customers, vendors, retailers – no two days are the same! As the same time, dealing with people is also one of the biggest challenges.

How did you gain entry into the industry? What was your big break?
In my second year of work, I applied to join an internal career development program that provided a unique opportunity to relocate to the USA (from Australia where I grew up). This opportunity was certainly a turning point in my career.

What are some of your hobbies and interests outside of work?
I love anything outdoors, especially hiking.
Do you have any words of advice? 
“If someone offers you a job and you don’t know if you can do it, take the job and then figure out how to do it”. – Richard Branson.