As women continue to rise to ever-greater heights of professional achievement and growth across numerous industries
and disciplines, the commercial real estate industry is experiencing increasing numbers of women in leadership roles, particularly in executive and sales positions. With this trend showing no sign
of slowing down, the recruitment,
promotion, and retention of women
in the space
is continuing to be a
key focus area for real estate companies nationwide.
A finance major, I fell into a career in
real estate finance directly out of college. In my entry role at a tax credit
syndicator, I learned the basics about the industry and found a
niche that fit my interests and skills—quickly realizing that I
preferred the tangible assets and rewards of real estate to the
more abstract nature of high finance.
One of the biggest surprises I’ve experienced thus far in my
career was the transition to a sales role when I joined Walker &
Dunlop several years ago. Their leadership felt immediately
that a selling position would suit me, even when I wasn’t so
sure myself. I followed their lead and went for it. I haven’t
looked back since.
Having already navigated a path on which many young professionals are now embarking, I have some words of advice for
the next generation of women in this business. Focus on organizations that support the growth and development of women
in the CRE space. While you don’t need to only have female
managers to succeed (I haven’t), it is critical that you are
choosing to work for a company that is dedicated to encouraging women in the field to ensure a smooth and successful path
It has also been my experience that women bring a great
number of advantages to the industry that are instrumental in
its evolution and future growth. These include:
•;A natural affinity for relationship building and collabo-
ration, which are linchpins of the real estate business.
•;Attentive listening skills, which are important in achieving customer success and satisfaction.
•;Giving credit where it is due, critical in ensuring junior
team members feel valued and engaged as they grow.
•;Compassion—knowing who may need more support, as
well as how to give it, will promote a healthy team
And last, but not least, speak up and be confident in your
ideas. As a woman it can be intimidating to make your voice
heard in a large boardroom of men, but being able to present
the work you’re doing with conviction is essential to establishing a presence for yourself and ensuring you don’t get lost in
The future is bright. There has never been a better time to
be a woman in the CRE industry. Women are occupying more
and more sales and transactional roles in key organizations,
and the flexible nature of the business lends itself to a work/
life balance that can support women who choose to have families while building a career.
The commercial real estate business is truly embracing
women in the higher ranks as opposed to the “boy’s club” of
the past. If you are willing to learn as much as you can, work
hard and speak out, the sky is the limit to the success you can
By Laura Beaton
Commercial Real Estate:
It’s a Woman’s World
Good leaders build
of this industry—and
this is what I have
been able to do by
stepping out of the box
and partnering with
someone who possesses
Laura Beaton is a vice president at Walker & Dunlop’s Boston
office. She may be contacted at at either (781) 707-9344 or
firstname.lastname@example.org; Attn: Laura Beaton. The views
expressed here are the author’s own.