Chicago Power Women: 5 Questions With The Goldie Initiative's Goldie Wolfe Miller
This limited series profiles Power Women who have helped shape cities, neighborhoods, businesses and lifestyles in the cities where they work. These women will be honored at Bisnow's Chicago Power Women event Dec. 4.
Goldie Wolfe Miller once ran the largest woman-owned commercial brokerage in the U.S., but she also wanted to help other women in commercial real estate achieve their goals. After selling that company, Wolfe Miller launched The Goldie Initiative. It began as a scholarship program for graduate students at Roosevelt University’s Marshall Bennett Institute of Commercial Real Estate, but Wolfe Miller has expanded it into a comprehensive scholarship, mentorship and leadership program. The profession is still heavily male-dominated, but every year, Wolfe Miller helps bring in more women that now have the skills and confidence to succeed.
Bisnow: How do you describe your job to people who are not in the industry?
Wolfe Miller: My current job is threefold:
1. I am president of Millbrook Corporate Real Estate Services, which does consulting in real estate.
2. Millbrook Properties buys office buildings and specializes in owning, leasing and management.
3. I am the founder and chair of the board of The Goldie B. Wolfe Miller Women Leaders in Real Estate Initiative. The mission of The Goldie Initiative is to prepare women for senior leadership roles in all sectors of commercial real estate. It provides scholarship support for graduate study, mentorship and networking opportunities to women. Since 2007, The Goldie Initiative has graduated almost 100 women from nine universities. It has cultivated talented women into future leaders by creating a professional community of women with extraordinary academic and leadership potential.
Bisnow: What is the biggest business problem you have faced and how did you solve it?
Wolfe Miller: When I owned Goldie B. Wolfe and Co., I was looking to restructure the company due to incredible growth into 40 states. Some people are good at running companies, some people are better at doing deals. It’s a different skill set to manage brokers than to do deals. Instead of restructuring, I chose from one of two amazing offers to sell to New York Stock Exchange companies instead of restructuring. By selling, the restructuring could happen and we could provide our clients a high-quality experience that combined tenant representation along with a range of services offered by four or five other divisions.
Bisnow: What is one thing you think companies can do to address wage and gender inequality?
Wolfe Miller: Change their culture and attitude: treat people based on merit. If someone is outstanding — male or female — pay them for success. It’s like making deals; commissions are based totally on performance.
Bisnow: What piece of advice do you give others entering the industry?
Wolfe Miller: Keep your mind open to opportunities. Look at Stan Ross’s book “The Inside Track for Careers in Real Estate,” published by ULI, for the opportunities available. See what your strengths are and go there.
Have a passion for your career — don’t just have the attitude that “this is a job.” It’s a life.
Bisnow: What do you do to unwind when you’re not working?
Wolfe Miller: Play golf.