Talya Nevo-Hacohen, chief investment officer of real estate investment trust Sabra Health Care REIT, has grown the Irvine-based real estate investment trust into one of the largest publicly traded companies in Orange County.
Today Sabra (Nasdaq: SBRA) counts more than $6 billion in healthcare assets across 611 investments in skilled nursing and post-acute care facilities and specialty hospitals.
The $2.8 billion-valued firm, the 12th largest publicly listed company in the county at press time, has succeeded through the establishment of a supportive culture and a creative and resourceful reputation, she said.
“We’ve always been very supportive of our operators,” said Nevo-Hacohen, who was one of six honored at the Business Journal’s annual Women in Business Awards on Oct. 28 (see stories, pages 1, 6 and 8).
“That’s part of our culture and it comes from our leadership team, many of whom spent their careers on the operating side of healthcare.”
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Sabra spun out of Irvine-based nursing home operator Sun Healthcare Group Inc. (now owned by Genesis HealthCare) in 2010.
CEO Rick Matros previously served as CEO of Sun Healthcare, while CFO Harold Andrews Jr. counts ties to operators CareMeridian LLC and Regency Health Services Inc.
At the time of the spinoff, Nevo-Hacohen, a former architect and vice president at Goldman Sachs, was on the hunt for her next career move after three years with Irvine-based HCP Inc., another public REIT where she was recruited to act as “the face to the Street.” HCP now uses the name Healthpeak Properties Inc.
Nevo-Hacohen had all but given up on finding work in OC and was ready to accept a position in Los Angeles.
Then one morning she opened her daily newsletter from the Business Journal and spotted an article about Sun Healthcare and its planned creation of Sabra.
“I thought, I don’t know this company and they are right down the street. How is this possible?” Nevo-Hacohen told Lynn Jochim, chief operating officer of FivePoint Holdings LLC, at the virtual Women in Business event. “And boy, I wonder if they want anybody to work at their REIT?”
Nevo-Hacohen dialed into an investor conference call cited in the Business Journal article and called a couple of analysts on Wall Street that covered Sun. One of her analyst friends from her days on Wall Street gave her the direct dial for Matros.
“I told him ‘you should either hire me or put me on your board,’” Nevo-Hacohen said with a smile. “He hired me.”
As the fourth member of Sabra, Nevo-Hacohen prioritized building a “reputation of being creative, smart, accessible and easy to work with.”
Sabra has provided unique resources to its healthcare operating partners in the past, such as access to business intelligence insights through data analytics platform PointRight.
It has continued to support its clients amid the pandemic through a number of creative avenues.
“We’ve been focusing a lot of our resources on understanding what is happening in our portfolio,” said Nevo-Hacohen.
In April, the company helped procure thermometers and used its own channels to connect operating partners with personal protective equipment suppliers.
It also made sure clients understood how to access stimulus funds and other resources and pointed its partners to webinars or trusted consultants to lend a hand.
As an organization, “we’ve also been tracking information at a far more granular level than we ever have before,” she said.
“It benefits us because we have a better understanding of what’s happening, but it also means we become a window into those industries for the investors who invest in Sabra and don’t have a lot of data points they can access in the public market for senior housing and skilled nursing facilities. That education is very well-received.”
In addition to building a culture that is supportive of its partners, Sabra prides itself on a tight-knit culture internally.
“I feel very strongly about mentoring within our organization and beyond that as well,” said Nevo-Hacohen.
The first person Nevo-Hacohen hired at Sabra left their position recently, after nearly 10 years with the organization, she said.
In addition to her work life, Nevo-Hacohen enjoys her charitable work as a trustee of the South Coast Repertory—“an incredible treasure of tremendous talent,” she said—and is on the board of the Jewish Community Foundation of Orange County.