Roundtable Offers Advice on Career Advancement

On the opening night of the 2013 CREW Network Convention & Marketplace, Diane Paddison led a roundtable discussion on what women—and others—should do to improve their ability to advance in the industry.
Diane Paddison

Diane Paddison

By Suzann D. Silverman, Editorial Director

The opening night of the 2013 CREW Network Convention & Marketplace featured the organization’s first-ever, invitation-only Commercial Real Estate Roundtable for Women. Cassidy Turley chief strategy officer Diane Paddison led the two-hour discussion with 12 other leading industry women, providing insights into how women—and others—can get themselves noticed, win respect and advance in the industry. They also addressed the need to address attrition in the industry because too many women leave to start families and are not encouraged to return.

That situation could be alleviated, according to Jackson-Shaw president & CEO Michele Wheeler, through a few efforts: Be accessible, give advice and counsel, and advocate for them, she advised. Noted Paddison: “We need to learn a lot more about flexibility.”

Advice to women striving to advance ran the gamut from differences between how women and men tend to manage their own careers to basic business advice. Among the panel’s observations:

  • It’s really not about you; it’s about the client.
  • You need to really understand the system and what gets rewarded.
  • Women need to have confidence in their own abilities and should not be afraid to ask for what they want.
  • Women need to appreciate their own unique strengths and not lose sight of them while striving to be more like their male colleagues.
  • Take a seat at the table; don’t sit at the back of the room.
  • Reach out to an objective party for insight into what your strengths really are. They probably won’t be what you think they are.
  • Believe in yourself, and people will believe in you.
  • Give your business to other women whenever reasonably possible.
  • Find not just a mentor but a sponsor who will support you and help you advance. And strive to sponsor others.

The panel also examined concerns and opportunities on the horizon. They listed among the biggest: cyberthreats, Obamacare’s still to-be-determined impact on healthcare real estate, the aging demographic and data indicating women are the primary decision makers in purchases across most categories; and e-commerce.

Participants included:

Ginger Bryant, COO, Sares Regis Group

Collete English Dixon, principal, Prudential Real Estate Investors

Patricia Gibson, president & CEO, Hunt Realty Investments

Nancy Goodson, COO, HFF

Greta Guggenheim, founder & chief investment officer, Ladder Capital

Deborah McAneny, director, HFF

Mary McCarthy, senior managing director for the capital markets, Hines

Jane Snoddy Smith, partner, Norton Rose Fulbright

Lorna Telfer, executive vice president of legal affairs & corporate secretary, Ivanhoe Cambridge

Sally French Tyler, executive vice president, First American Title Insurance Co., and division presient of centralized businesses

Michele Wheeler, president & CEO, Jackson-Shaw

Susan Hill, senior managing director, HFF