VOL. 119 | NO. 66 | Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Women Looking to Make Mark in Commercial Real Estate
Women Making Mark in Commercial Real Estate
The Daily News
When a homebuyer looks to a Realtor for help
in finding the perfect house, more often than not, that Realtor will be a
But when it comes to commercial real estate, its a mans
Nationally, more than 50 percent of all residential Realtors
are women, according to the National Association of Realtors. But in commercial
real estate, that percentage is much smaller.
Changing work force. One
exception to the rule is the Memphis office of CRESA Partners, where a majority
of employees are women. And there are talented women throughout the field of
commercial real estate.
But there is room for more.
The whole world is changing. Demographics, work force the
decision makers are changing, said Mary Singer, president of CRESA Partners
and co-founder of Commercial Realty Group, a woman-owned commercial real estate
house. With all of those changes, a lot of what were seeing is that in any
industry, be it the legal field or health care field or banking field, if
youre willing to do what it takes to be the decision-maker at the top, then
its going to work. A lot of the opportunity comes at having the conviction for
what you want to do. If you have the conviction, it has nothing to do with
being male or female. It has to do with getting all of the education that you
can get and then understanding what it takes to be the expert at the table.
Memphis market. Kathy
Pampuro, a vice president of office real estate with
Boyle Investment Co., has been working in the Memphis commercial real estate scene
for 20 years.
Ive never had anyone treat me but with the utmost
respect, she said. Its all about trying to be the best you can for whoever
your client is Ive been very fortunate in my career to have worked with some
really fine and knowledgeable people who have allowed me the leeway to learn
and do it my way and find what works for me.
Jill Schmitt, a broker with CRESA, enjoys the challenges
that come with working in a male-dominated profession.
Weve never shied away from a challenge, and I love working
with these guys, Schmitt said. I think being a woman is almost a benefit
these days. Its an edge, like I can distinguish myself.
She does find herself at a disadvantage in some deals,
A lot of our deals are done on the golf course, and Im
realizing I need to learn how to play golf, she said. There is some business
Im not going to get because Im not going to go out and play golf. But then, there
is tons of business out there that needs to be done that Im very willing to do
that has nothing to do with making deals on the golf course.
A lack of women in the profession could be helped through greater awareness,
said Carma Jude, an affiliate broker with CRESA.
I think not as many women are aware of the opportunities in
commercial real estate, she said. There are tons of female residential agents
and very successful residential agents. The commercial side of it just seems
to have, even for men, a smaller group of practitioners. It seems to be more of
a barrier to entry for anyone. And I think not as many women know the
possibilities. There are a lot more women in the property management side of it
now. Still not as many in the brokerage side, but there are more today than
probably five to seven years ago.
New psychology. Singer
said there is a changing mindset in the world of commercial real estate.
Where all of us are going as we start to move forward, its
really changing psychology in regard to how were working with one another,
she said. There were some traditional things back in the 80s when I started
things, but the new psychology and the new work force is the way Jill and Carma are working at things, and thats being able to react
The younger generation, theyre so much bolder in knowing what
they want and what they have to do to get there than even my generation, and
definitely a totally different mindset than what we saw with our mothers. They
have the ability to do more with less time than anything Ive ever seen. They
Working moms. Technology
has played a role in opening the profession to workers who cant devote their
full attention to the office.
I think Im in the perfect field for being able to raise a
child and work, said Schmitt, who leaves work mid-afternoon to pick up her young
son. He naps in the afternoon, so thats when I get to sit down and do a lot
of computer work. I dont do cold calling in the afternoon, but its mostly due
diligence making sure my deals are working the right way.
Its a lot of research, figuring out the companies youre
going after and making sure you know what they do before you walk into their
office and give them a sales pitch.