Our Team

Karen Backus

Principal & Co-Founder, New York Office

Affiliations & Achievements
Vice Chair for the Urban Land Institute’s University Development & Innovation Council (UDIC)
Member of the Board of Directors of the Corbin Hill Food Project
Bachelor Degree in Letters and History, magna cum laude, from Wesleyan University
Masters of Business Administrationfrom Yale University
Licensed Real Estate Broker in New York State
A veteran consultant and Co-Founder of U3 Advisors, Karen serves as a strategic advisor and resource to her many clients, projects, and colleagues.

With deep expertise in real estate development and strategy, Karen excels at helping clients do the thinking and analysis needed to find the right pathway forward for their institution.  Having served as lead project manager to Cornell University for the planning and development of Cornell Tech on Manhattan’s Roosevelt Island, as well as to Columbia University during the planning phase of its Manhattanville campus, Karen is also experienced in helping clients execute their vision.  Karen is currently advising on a major mixed-use development project for Atlanta Housing, a new bioscience development project for Rice University, and a variety of campus expansion initiatives for Furman University and the American Musical & Dramatic Academy.

Prior to co-founding U3 Advisors in 2014, Karen launched K. Backus & Associates in 1998, developing a unique and successful real estate consulting practice focused on serving universities and nonprofits.  She also served as Vice President, Retail Development, for Forest City Ratner Companies and managed a variety of major projects and transactions at the New York City Economic Development Corporation over the course of a decade.  An enthusiastic traveler, Karen also loves gardening and spending time with her husband in Fire Island.

Karen earned a BA in Letters and History, magna cum laude, from Wesleyan University and an MBA from Yale University.  She is a licensed Real Estate Broker in New York State.  Karen is also on the Board of Directors of the Corbin Hill Food Project and serves as Vice Chair for the Urban Land Institute’s University Development & Innovation Council.

Affiliations & Achievements
Vice Chair for the Urban Land Institute’s University Development & Innovation Council (UDIC)
Member of the Board of Directors of the Corbin Hill Food Project
Bachelor Degree in Letters and History, magna cum laude, from Wesleyan University
Masters of Business Administrationfrom Yale University
Licensed Real Estate Broker in New York State

All Staff
CEO
Omar Blaik
Omar Blaik
Managing Director
Alex Feldman
Alex Feldman
Managing Director & CFO
Jaime Flaherty
Jaime Flaherty
Managing Director
George Smith
George Smith
Managing Director
Todd Stern
Todd Stern
Senior Advisor
Janne Corneil
Janne Corneil
Senior Advisor
Tom Lussenhop
Tom Lussenhop
Vice President
Eric Anderson
Eric Anderson
Vice President
Shea O’Neill
Shea O’Neill
Vice President
Maurie Smith
Maurie Smith
Senior Associate
Stephany Lin
Stephany Lin
Senior Associate
Natalie Sutherland
Natalie Sutherland
Senior Associate
Tatianna Swenda
Tatianna Swenda
Senior Associate
Antonina Simeti
Antonina Simeti
Associate
Andrew Fix
Andrew Fix
Associate
Donald Taylor-Patterson
Donald Taylor-Patterson
Associate
Kelsey Padgham
Kelsey Padgham
Senior Analyst
Gillian Tiley
Gillian Tiley
Urban Designer
Beko Liu
Beko Liu
Analyst
Shannon Griffin
Shannon Griffin
Financial Controller
Tracy Moskowitz
Tracy Moskowitz
Chief of Staff
Jennifer Mitchell
Jennifer Mitchell
Director, Civic Commons
Bridget Marquis
Bridget Marquis
Expansion Manager, Civic Commons
Amanda Miller
Amanda Miller