At a Glance
Activities: Honors College, Internship, Joy Tong Women in Business
Long before she became a River Hawk, Olivia Hebert was familiar with UMass Lowell. Growing up just two blocks from North Campus on University Avenue, Hebert helped her mom, Marsha, market her residential real estate properties to students.
“We’ve been a tag team forever,” says Hebert, who decided at an early age that she wanted to follow in her mom’s footsteps and pursue a career in real estate.
But Hebert, a first-generation college student, wasn’t sure about staying so close to home at UML, especially since many of her friends from Lowell Catholic High School were going off to more expensive private universities. Affordability, along with the quality of UML and the Manning School of Business, won out in the end.
Four years later, as she prepares to graduate debt-free with a business administration degree — with concentrations in finance and marketing, minors in pre-law and history and a stole from the Honors College — Hebert knows she made the right decision.
“I’m glad I stayed,” she says. “Coming from a small, Catholic school bubble, I was exposed to a lot more at UMass Lowell than I ever thought I would be. I grew up, matured and learned.”
That growth began her freshman year, when Hebert was encouraged to join the Real Estate Network Association (RENA) by the student organization’s co-advisor, Visiting Faculty Lecturer Milissa Moynihan. Hebert was familiar with residential real estate, but the organization exposed her to the commercial real estate world for the first time.
“I had no idea what was going on at first, but I stuck with it and I was hooked,” says Hebert, who went on to become RENA president. “I had the concept of buying, selling and flipping property like you see on TV, but I had no idea about all the avenues you can take with commercial real estate.”
A “fireside chat” that RENA hosted with alumnus Jon Geanakos ’84, executive managing director at real estate firm JLL, cemented Hebert’s decision to pursue corporate real estate.
“It changed the trajectory of my career path,” says Hebert, who found a mentor in Geanakos and has accepted a capital markets summer internship at JLL following graduation.
After the internship, Hebert says she may continue for her MBA or go to law school. She chose to minor in pre-law so she could learn how to protect the real estate assets that she one day acquires.
Under Hebert’s watch, RENA won the Rising River Hawks Award from the Office of Student Activities and Leadership for its “exemplary rejuvenation and revitalization.” She has also served as co-director of Women in Finance and been a member of several other organizations, including Joy Tong Women in Business.
In addition to scholarships from the Independent Alumni Association, Hebert has been able to pay her way through school by working part-time for the real estate investment firm American Tower, and also for the Office of Research Administration.
“I’ve worked and gone to school since I was 16,” she says. “I love that about college — you can make your own schedule and max out your day. You have these gaps, and you can do what you want with them.”
And for Hebert, that’s a lot.