The Leader Magazine

JUN 2018

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change won't be quick. That said, I do see many more women taking leadership positions around me." In fact, a model of diversity often has a trickle- down effect. Fulbright says, "It starts with the leader and is supported tremendously by the culture of the organization." Muir-Sands backs this sentiment by adding, "Within Unilever, I feel proud to say that diversity and inclusion are part of a compelling vision set by the CEO and leadership. Initiatives are prioritized, the culture is inclusive, we track and measure our targets, and we tailor and target initiatives for local impact. A good example of this would be our flexible talent strategy in India, offering short-term, flexible contracts aimed at women wanting to re- enter the workforce after maternity leave, and the marketing of it has been focused accordingly. It's important to support women at this time." Women in the built environment With things changing and evolving in the CRE profession, how does this translate to the built environment? The answers are eye-opening, inspiring and sometimes juxtaposed. Muir-Sands outlines a recent initiative at Unilever, saying, "We are proud to announce that we have just supported Saudi Arabia's first-ever group of female blue-collar workers' start on a production line by creating the first fully facilitated area in Binzagr Unilever Factory for shop-floor women. This is a groundbreaking step for Unilever in Saudi Arabia, given the cultural and regulation restrictions that the country used to have prior to Saudi Vision 2030 that was announced in 2016." Mamwa describes the need for the workplace to accommodate the lifecycle of a woman and her natural seasons – including the decision to have and to raise a family. Further, she adds that women play a pivotal role in defining the built environments needed to support these life cycles. She says, "I think the struggle is men don't have the cycles that women do. Women in real estate have a role to play, in the built environment, to support other women. Men wouldn't be able to think through what a nursing mother would need in the workplace or what an expectant mother would require during her nine months of pregnancy. And, it is important for women in real estate to be able to bring on board the empathy that's required to design this built environment and to support women through their life cycles." Co-working spaces address such issues head- on. The Wing, a women's only co-working space based in New York, is putting women's needs first. The AllBright, a similar venture based in London, is a "Member's Club for Working Women" inspired by the Bloomsbury-based author Virginia Woolf's assertion that women must have a room of their own. Of such endeavors, Laden says, "A co-working space exclusively for women is a great concept that can provide a safe and beautiful atmosphere. This also can have a huge impact on creating more opportunities for women by hiring them for roles that men may have predominately held." On the flip side, Mao asks, "But what is the benefit? My personal view is that I think it is always good when women and men can work together." Echoing Mao's words, Fulbright adds, "Space is a facilitator for collaboration (or lack thereof). It can enhance or slow the promotion of culture. But that applies to everyone, not just women." Go forth and prosper Regardless of where they stand on various issues, most of the women agree on one thing – if they had a chance to start their careers over again, they would not change much, if anything at all. The majority say they are content with how their careers have evolved. A common exception is the desire to have worked abroad or to have sought out learning and education at an earlier age. And advice for other women just starting out in their careers? "Believe in yourself. Find and nurture your confidence," says Fulbright. "We don't trust ourselves, and so we dismiss opportunities. Stop doing that. Go for it." Mao advocates for women and men alike "getting out of the office – visiting the market, visiting the buildings, meeting the developers, meeting the brokers, meeting the tenants, and meeting your competitors – to understand as much as you can to gain insight into the world of real estate." Says Muir-Sands, "Be authentic in your style and realistic in the goals you set for yourself. I often liken my life to juggling balls and have to be prepared at times to drop the odd ball impacting either work or home life – but the key is to not beat yourself when this happens. It's life and it happens to everyone." Kaiser offers some practical advice: "Be willing to take on the boring, tactical actions. Be willing to roll up your sleeves. Be willing to vacuum the carpet and move a box. You never know who you will meet. You never know what you will learn." And most simply but powerfully stated by Akbari, "Don't give up." the leader June 2018 21 Based in Atlanta, Erin Ganaway is content writer for CoreNet Global. Diversity worth celebrating and building CoreNet Global is comprised of the most diverse and interesting group of people with whom I've ever had the pleasure of working – both internally with staff and externally with the membership at large. That's why a public declaration of our dedication to diversity and inclusion is long overdue. Diversity, in all its many forms, is intrinsic to our strategic priorities and is at the very core of what the association is all about. So I'm pleased to report that the Board of Directors formalized this with an addition to our Core Values with the following statement: "CoreNet Global values and cultivates diversity and inclusion in its membership, programs, and all endeavors." Still, we have much work to do to grow a diverse talent pipeline and promote the advancement of women and minorities, in particular, into senior leadership roles within corporate real estate. In this issue of the LEADER, we bring to you the stories of women who have excelled in a profession where they are notably underrepresented. Their candid stories are equal parts enlightening and inspiring. They remind us of what dynamic career potential can exist, and share the winding and varied paths that got them there. Encouraging diversity through mentorship Take advantage of the CoreNet Global MentorMatch program and get paired with a mentor or mentee who shares similar interests. Benefit from a valuable networking opportunity that supports your career – and champion greater diversity in the corporate real estate profession. Sign up today for this free member benefit at corenetglobal.org. Angela Cain CEO, CoreNet Global

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