On April 6th WLI Washington hosted the second installment of a three-part Gender Balance Series; a program aimed at achieving gender parity in the commercial real estate industry. This event was held at the offices of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP and showcased several women real estate leaders who have made it to the “C-Suite” in their respective firms. The panel was moderated by David Mayhood, President of The Mayhood Company and included Kathy Allgier, Executive Vice President with MRP Realty, Yolanda Cole, Senior Principal of Hickok Cole Architects, Stephanie Duncan, Chief Operating Officer at Stonebridge Carras and Leslie Ludwig, a Partner at The JBG Companies.
Each member of the panel had a different background and spoke about her own individual experience as she excelled in the real estate industry. One of the most common themes that surfaced during the discussion was that each woman experienced a tipping point in her career and took a risk in order to move forward doing what she was passionate about rather than following a pre-determined path. Another topic that was emphasized was the need to know yourself to develop your own career path most successfully. The panel also discussed the challenge of encouraging their own younger colleagues-women and men alike-to recognize their own value and ask for what they deserve.
On the topic of navigating and often male-dominated workplace, the panelists advised women to look for unnoticed opportunity and take risks. The panel agreed that women very often hold themselves back by not being as proactive as they could and expecting that they will be noticed simply by working hard.
When discussing what brought them to the C-suite, the panelists concurred that knowing the business side, not necessarily specializing in real estate, was key. Those who make it to the C-suite understand what makes the business run and what drives profit, and knowing as much as possible about the business process is a vital part of being successful in a C-suite role.
WLI Washington’s final Gender Balance Series event will be held in the next few months. Also, stay tuned for future events sponsored by WLI and open to all ULI members!