Prior to founding Odyssey Retail Advisors, Richard Johnson created Johnson Retail, the forerunner of Odyssey. Rich’s vast experience of both in house running a real estate department for a powerful ensemble of retail tenants and consulting for both tenants and landlords is unparalleled in the retail real estate field. His expertise has made him a sought-after consultant, guest lecturer and advisor.
Rich recently assisted Crown Acquisitions in the planning, leasing and merchandising of the retail space at the Wynn Las Vegas, wherein the span of 12 months he led the lease up of an 80,000 square foot expansion, as well as consulted for Tishman Speyer for a reimagining of the iconic Rockefeller Center. Rich has consulted for brands such as Burberry, Stella McCartney, Clarins, Away and many others, as well as owners and developers including URW, Brookfield, Madison Marquette and Ws Development.
Prior to consulting, Rich was recruited by Kering (then known as PPR), for a newly created role as head of real estate – Americas. In this role, he oversaw the group’s portfolio of real estate for North and South America, performing all site selection, market research and negotiation for the entire portfolio of brands, including Gucci, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta. In addition to retail, the role included servicing the group’s office and industrial real estate needs, and most importantly, finding savings through oversight and maintenance of the real estate portfolio.
Prior to Kering, Rich was a practicing real estate attorney and then a consultant at a boutique tenant representation firm, assisting a variety of retail clients including Vince, Lacoste, and Faconnable, throughout the US and Canada, in a wide variety of formats.
Rich is a member of the New York State Bar, with a J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law and a B.A. in History from the State University of New York at Geneseo. He is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers, has lectured at the NYU Schack Conference on Capital Markets in Real Estate and is a frequent guest lecturer on retail real estate at Fordham School of Law.
Charlie Koniver is a retail real estate specialist with 15 years experience who has helped guide some of the world’s leading luxury brands through their real estate strategy and implementation. In 2019, Charlie and Richard Johnson co-founded Odyssey Retail Advisors – a company created to specialize in retail real estate advisory services both on the landlord and tenant side of the business. The intent and focus will specifically be in the luxury, high end contemporary space. Since its inception in 2019, Odyssey Retail Advisors has added several key members in an effort to further enhance their teams experience and professionalism.
In 2014, prior to founding Odyssey, Charlie was recruited by Richemont, one of the world’s leading luxury groups, to create their first ever in house real estate department for North America. The focal point of his role was to oversee all real estate related activity on behalf of the brands in Richemont’s portfolio. Most notably, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Vacheron Constantin, Panerai, Montblanc, A. Lange & Sohne, IWC, Piaget, Alaia and Chloe. It was here where Charlie became an industry expert in North America’s most prolific high streets and shopping centers.
Leading up to his experience at Richemont, Charlie worked with Rich Johnson at Kering – another one of the worlds leading luxury groups. While at Kering, Charlie was tasked with assisting Rich in overseeing the real estate related activity for the Kering brands in North & South America. In addition to guiding the likes of Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Tomas Maier, Brioni, Girard Perregaux along with Puma & Volcom in North America, given his ability to speak fluent Spanish, Charlie successfully completed transactions on behalf of a handful of the groups brands in hyper challenging South American markets.
Prior to his luxury group experiences, Charlie worked for Thor Equities, one of New York’s leading landlord and developers. During this time, Charlie was part of the initial group that created Thor Retail Advisors, a subsidiary of Thor Equities, Inc, handling representation of leading tenants, in NYC and Nationally.
Following an NCAA soccer career and attaining his degree from American University, Charlie went on to play professionally, coincidentally in his hometown of Miami. Shortly after, he began his Real Estate career initially as a broker for Colliers International and then as a leasing representative for Equity One, Inc, a publicly traded REIT. He is also a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.
Rick Strauss is a retail real estate professional with a 33-year record of leading complex portfolios and executing deals that result in exceptional merchandising and revenue. His career includes the pre-leasing of 29 shopping centers across the US, Latin America, Europe and Asia, with a deep history in the luxury segment. His leadership has included launching and grooming the careers of over 60 real estate professionals along the way.
Rick joined Odyssey in 2020 as the Managing Partner of Odyssey’s landlord advisory business, wherein he oversees all activities related to our developer clients. Odyssey is rapidly growing the reach of the Landlord work with project visioning, merchandising and marketing strategies, as well as the day to day execution of deals.
Prior to joining Odyssey Retail Advisors, he was the Executive Vice President of Leasing for The Howard Hughes Corporation, where he lead the company’s retail leasing efforts across the US. Mr. Strauss directed the execution of leases from the Seaport District, New York City to Ward Village in Hawaii. Mr. Strauss successfully diversified the commercial core of the portfolio, continuously seeking out and acquiring world renowned tenants creating uniquely desirable shopping destinations.
Mr. Strauss’s successful track record includes time at the Westfield Corporation, having managed leasing for the Eastern half of the US portfolio and all luxury leasing throughout their worldwide portfolio. Rick worked on projects including Westfield World Trade Center, Garden State Plaza, Valley Fair, Century City and the pre-development of Westfield Milano.
The largest and arguably most impactful portion of Rick’s career was at The Taubman Company and their portfolio of super regional shopping centers for twenty years, bringing luxury pre-leasing to an entirely new level. At the Crystals at City Center in Las Vegas, he successfully pre-leased space to dozens of luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Hermes, Christian Dior, and many, many others. In addition and concurrently to his work in the US, Rick was integral in creating luxury shopping venues globally including Studio City, Macau China; IFC Mall, Seoul South Korea and The Mall of San Juan, Puerto Rico. He is an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.
Prior to joining Odyssey Retail Advisors, Daniel focused on tenant and landlord leasing representation for GLA Real Estate. Daniel represented the Atlanta Braves in their $1.3B mixed-use, ground up development The Battery Atlanta, and helped secure deals with Silverspot Cinema, Punch Bowl Social, The VOID, Ph’east Asian Food Hall, Pepper Boxing, Mizzen+Main, and others, in addition to helping Garden & Gun Magazine and Mizuno with their initial retail launch of the Mizuno Experience Center and the Garden & Gun Club. Daniel also consulted with Acadia Realty Trust’s leasing and acquisitions teams to create value in their nationwide urban high street portfolio in Manhattan, Brooklyn, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington DC, Boston, and Savannah.
Prior to GLA Real Estate, Daniel worked for Michael Kors. As the company grew from 40 to 400+ global retail locations, Daniel’s role evolved as he implemented multiple large-scale projects, lead change management initiatives, and guided cross-functional partnerships across multiple business units in the North American, European, and Japanese offices. This role required Daniel to partner with executive teams to evaluate and improve the full value chain during the company’s accelerated growth cycle as a private and public organization. Large-scale projects were implemented in the merchandising, planning, allocations, web, omnichannel, distribution center, logistics, and information technology areas. Previously, he had worked in a planning and allocation role for all in-house and licensed product categories within the runway, full price, and outlet divisions for the American and European offices.
Daniel is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers and has a B.S. in Psychology and B.A. in Business Administration from Furman University and has attended the Consortium Institute of Management and Business Analysis in Italy.
Erika Schanke is a commercial real estate professional with a 20-year history developing global relationships and implementing strategic planning solutions for multinational companies. Erika has a unique breadth of cross functional experience including transaction management, financial planning and analysis, promotional marketing, portfolio optimization, and implementing change management.
Prior to joining Odyssey Retail Advisors she held various positions over 13 years within Cushman & Wakefield. In her last role as Managing Director Retail Services she provided strategic direction for the global retail platform while leading cross-border initiatives for the Americas, driving multi-market account growth across the firm. As point person for business development, Erika was instrumental in cross-service line collaboration and led the retail strategic partnerships furthering omnichannel opportunities and focus on digitally native brands.
Erika’s retail leasing experience includes representation of over 1 million square feet of urban and suburban developments, and specialty leasing of the Cohen Design Center’s portfolio in N.Y., L.A., South Florida and Houston. She has also worked with multiple retail and restaurant tenants on site selection, portfolio restructuring, and dispositions. In recent years she has assisted numerous retailers on their market entry to North America as well as U.S. retailer’s expansion abroad, including Primark, Nike, MUJI, Canada Goose, Richemont, Tiffany & Co. and Abercrombie & Fitch.
Prior to C&W, Erika spent five years at IPG’s McCann Erickson Advertising and Momentum Promotional Marketing companies within Mergers & Acquisitions; And she began her professional career as a Series 7 licensed trader at Merrill Lynch in their private client group.
Erika is a licensed real estate salesperson in New York and Georgia, a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and is actively involved with Junior Achievement. She received her B.S in Marketing with a minor in Finance from Florida Atlantic University.
Jaclyn Gottesman is a project leasing specialist with over nine years of experience in the industry. Throughout her career, Jaclyn has leased, pre-leased, and merchandised notable developments and redevelopments across the country.
Prior to joining Odyssey Retail Advisors, Jaclyn was a Director of Leasing at WS Development where she focused on Boston Seaport, a 7.6 million square foot mixed use development. In addition to her permanent leasing responsibilities, Jaclyn oversaw the leasing of The Current, Seaport’s rotating pop up village.
Before joining WS Development, Jaclyn worked at the Howard Hughes Corporation where she lead the retail leasing for Seaport District NYC and 110 N. Wacker Drive in Chicago. Jaclyn introduced new tenants to the market at the Seaport District including Malibu Farm and SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker. At 110 N. Wacker Drive, Jaclyn completed a 17,600 square foot restaurant lease with Gibsons Restaurant Group and ThinkFoodGroup’s Bazaar Meat as a joint venture.
Prior to her time at Howard Hughes, Jaclyn joined Westfield where she pre-leased the $1 billion redevelopment of Westfield Century City. During her time at Westfield, Jaclyn did over 35 new deals; 24 of them signed leases with Westfield for the first time.
Jaclyn began her real estate career at Taubman, where she spent three years learning leasing and center merchandising at properties including Beverly Center, The Gardens on El Paseo & El Paseo Village, and Westfarms Mall.
Jaclyn is a licensed real estate salesperson in Michigan and a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). She’s in the process of getting her associate brokers license in New York. Jaclyn graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Linguistics.
Prior to joining Odyssey Retail Advisors, Gabriel focused on Tenant Representation at Crown Retail Services. During his tenure at Crown, Gabriel successfully represented Inditex’s Bershka in their first ever U.S store in SoHo, Daniel Crémieux at Hudson Yards, Christian Louboutin in New York and Toronto, as well as A Bathing Ape in their national expansion efforts.
Having grown up in Paris, France, Gabriel’s biculturalism has proven to be an asset in advising European retailers wishing to enter the North American retail landscape.
Prior to working at Crown, Gabriel worked alongside the developers of the Marin Country Mart in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he was exposed to the development facet of the industry. Gabriel has also worked in various roles at Christian Louboutin in their New York City and Paris corporate offices, assisting in Press, Wholesale and Retail Operations.
Armed with first hand understanding of a luxury retailer’s needs, Gabriel has joined Odyssey to further assist global brands with their retail leasing endeavors.
Estefania grew up in Mexico and moved to the United States when she was 7 years old, where she was then raised in La Jolla, California. She has previous experience working for the Witkoff Group, the Westfield Corporation and Entravision Communications.
Prior to joining Odyssey Retail Advisors, Estefania was living in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico managing all operations and creative direction for Mexican swimwear brand Diosa Mar, including the opening of their first flagship store.
Before living abroad, Estefania worked for the Witkoff Group. Estefania’s role was Executive Assistant/ Chief of Staff to both President & CIO, and EVP of Acquisitions.
Estefania’s real estate path began at Westfield World Trade Center. She was executive coordinator to EVP of Leasing. She played a major role assisting in the World Trade Center and Fulton development projects from conception to opening day.
Estefania’s work experience also includes time at Entravision Communications. She worked as an executive sales coordinator and collaborated with on- air talent, appearing in local and national commercials for major television networks such as Univision and Telemundo. In addition, recording voiceovers for utmost national and international brands.
In addition to real estate, Estefania has a passion for creative writing and spirituality. She has been published for major online publications and worked as copyeditor and creative copywriter for a major Random House author. She spends her free time travelling to Mexico. There in the jungle, you can find Estefania participating in sweat lodges deep in prayer.
Estefania is bilingual in English and Spanish. She holds a B.S. in Print Journalism with a minor in Political Science from the University of Miami.
As a nationally recognized leader in the field of retail real-estate and place-making, Liz McLay is known for her balance of creativity and strategy. Her breadth of experience leading the leasing for Mall or America and Brookfield Midwest has given her a broad platform of experience in bringing together landlords and tenants to create sustainable projects where people gather to work, learn, laugh, shop and dine. Caring for the future of our environment and retail landscape, Liz is an advisor and broker to mission-based ventures.
As the SVP of Real Estate Leasing at Mall of America, Liz McLay led the team that developed and leased the largest (5.6 MM SF) collection of luxury, flagship, and first-to-market retailers in the nation, generating over $1B in sales, 42MM visitors annually and connecting thousands of brands.
Previously, as the Vice President, Retail Leasing at Brookfield Properties, she drove the strategic re-positioning of 1.3M SF of urban, street-front retail assets and over $80MM in redevelopment capital across a tri-state region of Denver, Los Angeles and Minneapolis.
Liz’s mission is to create connections, building holistic retail environments known for their contribution to communities and return on investment.
Liz sits on the Board of the University of Minnesota’s College of Design and Retail Merchandising Program, is a Mentor/Advisor to the Carlson School of Business, MN CUP finalists and is Secretary of the Board for NASA Challenger Space Center of MN.
Liz holds a Bachelor and Masters of Science from Cornell University, School of Hotel Administration.
Vice President, Street Retail
Max Talpalar joins Odyssey Retail Advisors from a senior leasing position with Unibail Rodamco Westfield. Prior, he had a successful tenure at Sinvin Real Estate after starting his career as a real estate attorney.
At Unibail Rodamco Westfield Max was a perennial top tier dealmaker. He was the leading dealmaker at the company’s most profitable asset while simultaneously handling national accounts. Notably, he had particular success with European brands new to the US market, including signing the first US deals for several in the portfolio. Max won Westfield’s 2018 Deal of the Year award out of over 1,000 signed leases.
Max’s real estate career began at Georgetown Law where he earned a Juris Doctor cum laude with a focus on land use and historic preservation. He spent time as a real estate attorney at Paul Hastings in LA and at Duval & Stachenfeld in NYC, where he worked on investment bank Angelo Gordon’s real estate deals.
After leaving the law firm world behind, Max joined Sinvin Real Estate in SoHo, where he worked on both landlord and tenant assignments. Some of his most notable deals were SoHo locations for Moschino, Sonos, and Google, as well as Flatiron and Greenwich Village locations for well known restaurants Cosme, Atla, and Claudette. Through his leasing efforts Max galvanized historic facade renovations at both 131 Greene Street and 24 Fifth Avenue in New York.
Max is a member of the New York State Bar, the International Council of Shopping Centers, and the Congress for the New Urbanism. He holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. in Business from the University of Florida.
Kate Lazarski is a commercial real estate leasing professional with a speciality in business development. Over the last six years, she has excelled by building trust and relationships with her clients.
Kate started her career at Bedrock, Detroit’s largest landlord and development company, where she held various positions since 2015. Working with both emerging and established local and national brands, she helped curate a mix of retail and restaurant tenants within the urban core of Detroit. Kate is energized by discovering “the next best thing,” which fueled her to explore multichannel retailers for various landlord projects.
Kate is a licensed real estate salesperson in Michigan, a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), and sits on the board of the ICSC Next-Gen committee. She received her B.S in Communication with a minor in PR from Oakland University.