Member Spotlight
Q&A with Natasha Das

January 26, 2018
Written by: CREW-St. Louis
Natasha Das
Tax Credit Finance Attorney
Stinson Leonard Street LLP

Natasha is a tax credit finance attorney at Stinson Leonard Street LLP. She counsels investors, community development entities, nonprofit organizations and developers in all aspects of financing tax credit transactions, including helping clients navigate transactions that generate state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits and state and federal new markets tax credits. Before joining the firm, she was the Associate General Counsel and Investment Analyst at The Koman Group.

Natasha has been involved in financing, disposition/acquisition, and leasing transactions totaling over $1.2 billion.
Q:         When did you decide to get into the commercial real estate industry? Was it always your focus?
 
A:         No, it was not always my focus. When I was little, I sometimes visited my mom for lunch at Regional Medical Center, where she worked at the time. I remember my babysitter and I driving to meet her and noticing the differences and inequalities in the built environment. At that age, I couldn’t really understand why there was such a difference in such a short amount of space, but the desire to address it stuck with me, as did the belief that the built environment can have a true impact on so many aspects of life. It wasn’t until my junior year in college that I realized the path forward. I decided to attend law school to get a background in property, contracts and public policy. It was my hope to use that background to effectuate change and help our community. 
 
Q:         What are some of the things you love about your job?
 
A:         I love the relationships. Not only do we have a wonderful group of attorneys at the firm, but our Tax Credit Group is very tight-knit. Further, we have great relationships with our clients, and we view them as our partners, which makes deals run much more smoothly (and adds some fun to them!). My group takes pride in figuring out how to create effective results efficiently; that mindset is sometimes lost in the legal field. I’m proud to be part of a group that truly places the client’s interest first and tries to figure out the best and most cost-effective way to get them the results they want. The relationships make those tasks much easier.
 
I also love that each day is different and I’m always learning something new, whether that is a deal-specific nuance or a new way to manage a deal. It keeps me on my toes!
 
Q:         What is your CREW-St. Louis origin? When did you join? Why did you become a member?
 
A:         I joined CREW-St. Louis in 2013 at the suggestion of my former boss. I had just graduated from my master’s program and wanted to find a way to meaningfully network. I met with a few members to determine if it would be a good fit for me, and I quickly realized there’s no organization like CREW-St. Louis. It provides its members with an opportunity to network and stay on top of industry trends, while also encouraging genuine, lasting relationships.
 
Q:         What was the first CREW-St. Louis event you attended and what were your impressions?
 
A:         I believe it was a New Member Welcome Breakfast at Cassidy Turley, which is now Cushman & Wakefield. I still remember the women who attended and how they knew who I was, where I worked and were already eager to help me advance my career. You really can’t ask for more than people who are truly interested in helping you grow!
 
Q:         Please name a few of the projects you’ve been involved in, specifically in the St. Louis area that you are proud of.
 
A:         Most of my current work is on a national level, but one tax credit deal I was very excited to be a part of is the development of the River City Industrial Park. On New Market Tax Credit deals, you get to see the “feel-good” benefits of the development enumerated in a certain agreement. That document is always my favorite because, no matter how many deals you do, it forces you to zoom out and see the big picture, again. Getting that opportunity to see the big picture on a deal in our own backyard was very rewarding.
 
            Another deal that I’m proud of is the CityPlace sale.  As a young attorney, it’s rare to be responsible for so many pieces of such a large deal, but I’m fortunate that my former boss delegated the tasks he did. I learned a lot about real estate, the law and how to work toward “real-world” solutions through that process.
 
Q:         What other associations or volunteer activities are you involved with?
 
A:         I currently serve in the following roles:
  • CREW-St. Louis Director
  • Gateway to Change Founder
  • St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, Business Retention & Expansion Committee Member
  • Visitation Academy Advancement Committee Member, Strategic Planning Task Force Member
  • ULI-St. Louis Member
  • Focus St. Louis Member (Spring 2017 Class of Emerging Leaders)
 
Q:         What else would you like your fellow CREW-St. Louis members to know about you?
 
A:         I am truly passionate about giving back to our community. Earlier this year, I started a non-profit organization called Gateway to Change. The purpose of Gateway to Change is to use existing networks and fundraising opportunities to save non-profits the time and expense associated with fundraising, with the hope that those networks can learn about our community, the non-profits that do work within our area and the issues that face our region. St. Louis is such a charitable city, but I sometimes fear that the glitz and the glamour associated with fundraising can hide the actual mission. Being able to educate people about the issues that underrepresented nonprofits in our area are trying to tackle, while still providing them with some glitz and glamour, will hopefully lead to more people being deliberately empathetic.