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Chicago Power Women: 5 Questions With Roosevelt University's Collete English Dixon

Collete English Dixon, third from left, with friends at a winery.

This limited series profiles Chicago Power Women who have helped shape cities, neighborhoods, businesses and lifestyles in the region. These women will be honored at Bisnow's Chicago Power Women event Dec. 4.

Roosevelt University established its Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate in 2002 to bring advanced real estate education to Chicago. Since then, the institute’s programs have graduated more than 325 students and have brought much-needed diversity to the industry. Sixty percent of students in the institute’s Master of Science in Real Estate and real estate MBA programs are people of color and 45% are women. Collete English Dixon is the executive director.

Bisnow: How do you describe your job to people who are not in the industry?

English Dixon: I am responsible for the operations of the real estate academic program at Roosevelt University — I am involved in everything, but I don’t teach.

Bisnow: What is the biggest business problem you have faced and how did you solve it?

English Dixon: It likely was trying to convince the investment committee at Prudential to pursue an acquisition that I believed in. I “solved” it by making sure I understood the concerns and identified strong, credible responses and options that supported my position.

Bisnow: What is one thing you think companies can do to address wage and gender inequality?

English Dixon: Companies should pay equally for equal work and recognize equal work effort and outcomes regardless of who is delivering them. Establishing objective criteria for those evaluations should help keep the subjective influences out of the process.

Bisnow: What piece of advice do you give others entering the industry?

English Dixon: Be prepared to have to be flexible; look out for all the ways your skills can be utilized and continue to learn.

Bisnow: What do you do to unwind when you’re not working?

English Dixon: Read, hang out with my husband and daughter, and listen to music either live or recorded.