“Women tend to want to ‘check all theboxes’ before taking on opportunities fornew assignments or challenges, while theirmale counterparts will jump in feet firstand do a lot of on the job learning,” Careysays. “We are extremely knowledgeable,skilled, and sometimes we just have to takemore chances and go for it.”
GETTING YOUR VOICE HEARD
It’s good advice, all the better because itwas delivered from someone who’s beenthere and done that. To kick off ourannual Women of Influence issue, weinterviewed several women in commercialreal estate, asking them for advice theymight give a newcomer to the industry orperhaps even their younger selves. This iswhat we learned.
One of the biggest challenges once you
do go for it is getting your voice heard, says
Kristi Simmons, a principal at AQUILA
Commercial. “Males tend to, by default,
have louder voices, so you are always com-
peting to get in what you need to say.”
Simmons encourages women to speak
up at every meeting. “Make sure people
understand that you are committed and
dedicated to your organization or your cli-
ent,” she says, adding that “speaking” can
simply be “providing feedback via email
when decisions are being made about your
A woman’s perspective is important and
women need to realize that, Simmons
adds. “I make a point to speak up on every
subject, in every meeting and respond to
anything I receive about big company
decisions. If you sit back and wait for oth-
ers, you will always be overlooked.”
YOUR WORK PERSONA
And don’t get sidetracked by an inner voicethat tells you that this is not your real personality. Meg Epstein, founder and CEO ofCA South, says that women can better position themselves for success by beingtougher, more honest, and by realizing thathow they act at work doesn’t necessarilyneed to be the same as how they act socially.“I’m very to-the-point but kind, and bothmen and women respond well to positiveand strong leadership. I don’t allow myselfto come across in an uncertain fashion
Covid- 19 has tested and will continue to test the mettle of every leader inthe CRE community right now. Another question we asked women in thecommunity was what, in particular, can women bring to the table as theindustry continues to grapple with this crisis? Here are excerpts fromthese discussions.
Christine Cavataio, president and COO of The Cunningham Group:During the COVID- 19 pandemic and the recovery, we will be under majorscrutiny based on how we lead and particularly how we treat our people.Being transparent, compassionate, and gracious while still doing what isneeded to keep our businesses stable is critical.
Kristi Simmons, a principal at AQUILA Commercial: Tenants needhelp now more than ever. Being a good listener and problem solver is whatour clients are needing right now. They want you to understand their painpoints and help them to find ways to solve them. You have to look at prospects long term and not just go in expecting something every time. Beinga resource to your clients without asking for anything is so important rightnow. Our company is working on content that is solely focused on whatour clients/prospects need, which helps build long term relationships.
Mindy Gronbeck, director of property management at Hawkins Cos.:Compassion and even some mothering. A lot of these small tenants arejust people that watched their dreams vanish overnight. They have no wayto pay people, no income coming in, and no way to pay their bills. They aredistraught and don’t know where to start. By giving them compassion andthe understanding that we will get through the storm together is key. At thebeginning of the Covid crisis, we held a lot of hands, talked many off a cliffand assured them that we will be there for them and help them throughthis. We did a lot of things that have never been in our job description, butin the end, I believe we will come out of it with many more tenants intactthan if we had been strictly business and by the lease. We have had to lookat every single call with a different lens and have had to adapt becauseeveryone has had different circumstances.
Trisha Miller, executive managing director of Robert A. Stanger &Co. Inc.: Women are good listeners, will generally take into account multiple opinions and will research a situation thoroughly before making adecision, which is extremely valuable in a challenging situation like whatwe are experiencing today where hundreds of millions of dollars and corporate reputations may be at stake.
Holly Neber, CEO of AEI Consultants: Every leader, regardless of gender, should do their best to lead with authenticity right now. Transparencyand communication are critical for helping teams get through the uncertainty, and leaders need to show up in a way that is true to themselves.
Women Leading in the
Age of Covid- 19