News at Smith

Pam Rothenberg and Chris Finlay Discuss Developing a Sustainable Social Venture on Dingman Bootstrapped

Feb 22, 2018
Entrepreneurial Spirit


The Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship produces Bootstrapped, a podcast featuring founders, investors and serial entrepreneurs. The podcast is hosted by Elana Fine, Executive Director of the Dingman Center, and Joe Bailey, Associate Research Professor at the Smith School. Each episode brings a different startup story to life with special guests offering advice and lessons learned on topics that range from fundraising and marketing to team formation and customer acquisition.

On this episode of Bootstrapped, we interviewed Pam Rothenberg, partner at Womble Bond Dickinson and member of the Dingman Center Board of Advisors, and Chris Finlay, Founder and Chairman of Shelters to Shutters and the founder and principal of Middleburg Real Estate Partners, a multifamily real estate development company. Pam became an intrapreneur within her law firm by founding the firm’s Impact Business whose mission is to “Power Commerce in the Impact Economy.”  Through the Impact Business, Pam and her colleagues work with high growth startups, stabilized Impact operating companies and legacy businesses that are all engaged in both pursuing profit and addressing endemic social challenges through their core business activities. Through this work, Pam encountered Chris and his non-profit organization, Shelters to Shutters, that partners with apartment community owners to provide full-time employment and discounted housing to the situationally homeless. In this episode, Pam and Chris discuss their backgrounds in real estate, the growing evolution of the impact economy, and how Chris is developing Shelters to Shutters into a scalable, self-sufficient nonprofit through implementing a sustainable business model that provides value for the clients it serves, as well as for the multifamily developers that partner with the organization in providing jobs and housing to its clients. Pam works closely with Chris and the Shelters to Shutters team to support the organization’s mission and objectives.

Pam Rothenberg practiced commercial real estate law at the real estate boutique law firm of David, Hagner, Kuney & Davidson PC from 1986 to 1998 when it merged into Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice (now known as Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP).  In her legal work, Pam currently practices in the areas of commercial real estate, business and entrepreneurship.  Through the firm’s Impact Business, Pam leads a team of more than 40 firm professionals who provide a complement of strategic and legal services at the cutting edge of the rapidly growing impact economy.  Pam actively supports her community and serves on a number of boards, including the Board of Directors of Shelters to Shutters.

Chris Finlay has over 25 years of experience in commercial real estate.  He is the Founder and Managing Partner of Middleburg Real Estate Partners, a fully integrated multifamily investment, development and management firm.  Over the past 10 years in this position, Mr. Finlay has executed over $1.5 Billion and 13,000 units in acquisition and development transactions. It was through Middleburg that Mr. Finlay was able to pilot and launch Shelters to Shutters. To listen to this episode and gain further insights into the startup world, subscribe to Dingman Bootstrapped on iTunes or download the episodes on the Dingman Center website.

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty master's, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.