Not enough women are leading in CRE, here’s how to change that
Professional development — is it a passing trend tied to phonetically intelligent buzzwords like “wheelhouse” and “bandwidth?” Or, is it a growing necessity in a competitive and rising job market? Although it is rather nice rolling off the tongue, professional development is by no means to be underestimated. It has become a vital traction component for employment acquisition and upward mobility. So coveted is professional development to local commercial real estate professionals, that AZCREW recently established a committee for the sole purpose of its perpetuation.
“Professional development was identified as an area of need when we conducted our strategic planning in 2015,” says Alisa Timm, director of management services for Lincoln Property Company and chair of AZCREW’s Professional Development committee. “We recognized that this was a particularly important factor to add value to our membership, so we made it a top priority.”
Important indeed. According to a recent NREI story published in March, women in commercial real estate are seeking and filling in more roles in higher-level positions like senior vice president and managing director (since 2005). These positions are competitive among all genders, making professional development all the more lucrative as not simply a resume booster, but a requirement for women in commercial real estate.
Still in its infancy, the AZCREW Professional Development Committee has decided to test the waters by conducting two major half-day workshops this year. The first, in late September, will feature keynote Marsha Petrie Sue, author and expert on leadership, communication and personal development.
“In this seminar she’ll focus on how to deal with other people, particularly difficult personalities in the workplace,” Timm says, “and will speak to how to position yourself for growth and upward movement.”
In November, the AZCREW Professional Development Committee has arranged for Savills Studley Chief Economist Heidi Learner to conduct a session involving development from start to finish.
“We are women from many different disciplines within commercial real estate,” Timm says, “It will be interesting to see how we work together as providers within the development process from dirt to profit and all the layers in between.”
CREW statistics continue to reflect that regardless of their discipline or positioning within commercial real estate, women are feeling a higher level of career satisfaction and perceived success. In 2015, 76 percent of women reported an increase in career gratification, an increase from 71 percent in 2005.
On a local level, Timm and her professional development counterparts believe that holding strong to AZCREW’s strategic plan and boosting support and mentorship will continue to raise job satisfaction and career advancement.
“I have a real passion for giving back to not only support younger women,” Timm says, “but also to mid-career individuals and those mature in their careers. We are all constant learners.”
As AZCREW’s professional development efforts move forward, the committee will continue to assess what their members are looking for.
“We want to know some of the challenges they face in their careers,” Timm says, “and we’d like to offer information and education specifically directed to them.”