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Houston Power Women: Meet The Richland Cos. CEO Edna Meyer-Nelson

Edna Meyer-Nelson and Beau
Edna Meyer-Nelson and Beau

Bisnow's first-ever Houston Power Women event is just around the corner. In the lead-up to the big day, we'll be highlighting the event's honorees. First up is The Richland Cos. founder and CEO Edna Meyer-Nelson

A graduate of Southern Methodist University with postgraduate degrees from the University of Houston and the University of Colorado, Nelson started her professional career in banking, working her way up as a commercial loan officer and vice president of several large banks in Houston. Nelson used her expertise to launch The Richland Cos., which has purchased, operated and managed over 4M SF of commercial real estate valued in excess of $425M since its formation in 1993. 

Bisnow: Who was the first person to teach you how to be business savvy?

Meyer-Nelson: I’m lucky, I’ve had so many mentors and they have each taught me so many things. My business partner, Suzanne Klein, who taught me to be proactive and to take chances. My dear friend Marti Shlenker who taught me how to walk in a room, take the room over and be able to stay in the room. My grandfather, Edward Eugene Meyer, who planted the real estate seeds in my mind from a very young age and taught me so many things about owning property. Harold Blackshear, who taught me everything I know about banking and finance. And my millennial employees that teach me something new every day. 

Bisnow: What is the biggest challenge for the next generation of women?

Meyer-Nelson: The door is wide open for the next generation of women in the workforce as long as they show confidence, demonstrate their understanding of the business and express their desire to develop long-term relationships. All of these qualities are paramount in any industry because people seek relationships with knowledgeable and confident people. 

Bisnow: What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?

Meyer-Nelson: Woman tend to sometimes get in their own way. They need to reveal that they have the knowledge, show their tenacity and never back down. This confidence can make them extremely successful. They also need to learn to listen as you gain more knowledge and come across as more intelligent. Be tenacious, but know when to act and when to wait; patience can be their best ally. 

Bisnow: What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?

Meyer-Nelson: Be diligent and lead by example, be willing to do anything you ask of someone else. Invest in your employees by mentoring them, making time for them and ensuring they have a vested interest in the company. Put the right people in the right position and give them the tools they need to succeed. When your employees prosper, the company thrives.

Bisnow: What are the most important decisions you make as a leader of your organization?

Meyer-Nelson: Putting the right people in the right position.