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Most Influential Women of San Diego County for 2020

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Serena Patterson

Patterson, senior associate at Colliers International, says her career success has been "the path not usually taken."

After earning a bachelor's degree in communications from San Diego State University, the San Diego native started out doing analytics for the CoStar Group, which benefitted her writing skills.

"I really liked the research aspect of it," she said. "It was a great place to cut your teeth."

Since joining Colliers in 2005, Patterson has seen a rebirth of sorts in downtown San Diego, with Petco Park starting the trend.

One of her roles is educating developers on San Diego's best urban neighborhoods. Patterson said it comes down to building a sense of community so "you don't have to drive over to the next city to get a good cup of coffee."

She also deals with specialty restaurant and retail leasing.

Some recent success stories include The Shift, a ground-floor retail property located in an East Village apartment complex; Cesarina restaurant in Point Loma; and the Vans store in the Gaslamp Quarter.

"Before, if you wanted a good restaurant, there were just a few options," she said. "Now, there are so many."

Educating clients on neighborhood dynamics presents challenges because "it's not just numbers," she said.

Patterson said she enjoys working with first-time tenants. "For every (group) you meet, it's amazing to see who can make their business concept succeed," she explained. "One tenant can change the whole dynamic of the whole entire street."

Patterson, a married mother of two, spends time with her family hiking, camping and at the beach.

— Karen Weil