Nadine Watt is president of Watt Cos., a 70-year-old real estate firm in Santa Monica that was founded by her grandfather, Ray Watt. The 106-employee operation has developed homes for more than 100,000 families, built more than 8 million square feet of office space and developed more than 50 shopping centers. It’s also developed three hotels and six master-planned communities.

When she became president in 2011, Watt led a reorganization that expanded the company’s range of business to acquisitions, real estate development and entrepreneurial joint ventures to lessen its exposure to the volatile retail market. Her company won Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award for the Los Angeles area.

“[My grandfather] always taught me to treat everyone with respect. He always looked everyone in the eye and said hello, and he asked them questions. He knew a little bit about everyone from his janitors to presidents. The last thing he ever said to me was, ‘Do your homework.’”

Read the full article: Nadine Watt tried to avoid the family business. Now she helps run it. (Los Angeles Times)