In today’s Four on Friday, we talk with Holly Hughes, CEO of Real Estate Management Services and of Colliers Facility Solutions for Colliers International in Atlanta. Holly discusses her duties at the company, talks about how she got into commercial real estate and details the primary challenges facing women in the industry today.

Many thanks to Holly for her time.

HughesGive us an overview of your duties at Colliers International.

Hughes: I lead Real Estate Management Services for the Atlanta office of Colliers International. The company provides property management services to a wide variety of institutional clients and commercial real estate investors. We currently oversee a 35 million-square-foot portfolio of office, retail, industrial and medical-office space for our clients. Additionally, I also lead Colliers Facility Solutions, which provides facility management, project management, construction management and maintenance services to corporate clients that own and occupy real estate.

What made you pursue a career in commercial real estate?

Hughes: By circumstance, I was working in commercial real estate while pursuing my undergraduate degree in the evenings. Throughout that four-year process, I was fortunate enough to have several different roles, providing me a wide variety of experience and exposure to the different facets of commercial real estate. I then went on to pursue an MBA and while in that program, I realized commercial real estate was the right field for me. It offered me the perfect balance of finance, strategy, problem-solving, creativity and relationship-building.

Bisnow recently named you to its Atlanta Power Women in Commercial Real Estate listing, and you're also active in CREW, an organization dedicated to advancing the achievements of women in commercial real estate. What do you consider the primary challenges facing women in the industry today?

Hughes: I am seeing more women enter the commercial real estate industry and more women at decision-making levels, which is great! Achieving true balance continues to be a challenge for some women in real estate, but I am a firm believer that balance is possible as long as you stay true to your priorities and are deliberate about your commitments.

When you're not at the office, how do you like to spend your time?

Hughes: When I am not in the office, I am typically with my family – my husband and three amazing children (ages 3, 8 and 11). We are either on the football field, at a dance recital, a birthday party, or we are in the mountains camping, hiking and canoeing! My life at home is just as busy as my life at work, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!