Last week, four of our attorneys attended the annual CREW Network Convention in Miami Beach, Florida. In today’s Four on Friday, we present one photo of those attendees — Chelsea Dennis, Lori Kilberg (who is president-elect of CREW), Laura Kurlander and Diane Lidz — at the show, plus the take of three of the attendees on the state of women in commercial real estate.
After attending the recent CREW Convention, where do you think women in the industry have made the most progress and what remains their biggest challenge?
Kilberg: Women have made great inroads into middle- and upper-middle management, but are still greatly underrepresented at the C-suite level. CREW’s industry research cites risk-taking as one of our main challenges, which is why the theme of our convention was “The Rewards of Risk.” All of our keynote speakers — Katty Kay, Steve Forbes and Hillary Clinton — focused on risk-taking, leadership training and mentoring/sponsorship as the ways to achieve parity, not to mention that having women better represented at executive and board levels has been proven to improve results and the bottom lines of those companies.
Kurlander: Women in law are moving up the ranks in the commercial real estate arena. Many retailers and developers have female attorneys on staff and in high-level positions, although women of color are not well represented. Commercial real estate is still a male-dominated field. However, we are definitely seeing improvement in the ranks, although less so in the leadership positions or C-suite jobs.
Lidz: The inspiring group of women I met at the CREW convention provided a clear indication of the sheer number of talented women in leadership positions in commercial real estate. Of course we continue to have the challenge of trying to “have it all,” particularly a rewarding career while balancing family responsibilities. I continue to believe that, particularly for women, you can have it all, but not necessarily at the same time.