LA Power Women: 5 Questions With Clear Channel Outdoor's Michele Low
This limited series profiles SoCal Power Women who have helped shape cities, neighborhoods, businesses and lifestyles in Southern California. These women will be honored at Bisnow's Los Angeles Power Women event Dec. 12.
Michele Low came to Southern California attracted by the sunshine and swaying palm trees, but found so much more: a successful career overseeing real estate for some of the top companies in the world.
As the vice president of real estate at Clear Channel Outdoor, an outdoor advertising company, Low oversees the company's leasing transactions, negotiation strategies, and landlord and community relations. She joined Clear Channel in 2018 and prior to that was an area real estate manager for McDonald's.
When it comes to diversity and women in the commercial real estate workplace, she has seen a lot of improvement.
"We still have a ways to go, but we are moving in the right direction," she said. "Today, there are more women decision-makers, revenue generators and role models in commercial real estate, which will serve to close some of these gaps and benefit the next generation."
Bisnow: Who are you and what do you do?
Low: I am a Canadian, UCLA Anderson grad, mom of two boys (ages 3 and 5), devoted wife and aspiring artist. I serve as the vice president of real estate for Clear Channel Outdoor, a publicly traded outdoor advertising company in the United States. I lead our Southern California real estate team.
Bisnow: What is the most challenging part of your job? The most rewarding?
Low: With unemployment at the lowest rate in 12 years, human capital is scarce. My biggest challenge has been to identify strong and qualified candidates who can adapt to our pace of growth. Technology is certainly helping us be more productive, but there is no substitute for quality people.
The most rewarding part of my job is working with my team. Our department faces new challenges and competing priorities daily. I enjoy helping my team overcome obstacles to achieve our objectives. I strive to make our department fun and recognize each team member’s contribution to the department’s success.
Bisnow: How have you seen companies change the way they address wage and gender inequality in recent years?
Low: Inequality of all kinds hinders our evolution. As a new generation of real estate professionals rise into management roles, we have started to see progress in wage and gender inequality. Corporations are finally accepting the fact that profits have a positive linear relationship with diversity and strong governance. We still have a ways to go, but we are moving in the right direction. Today, there are more women decision-makers, revenue generators and role models in commercial real estate, which will serve to close some of these gaps and benefit the next generation.
Bisnow: What do you enjoy most about living and doing business in Los Angeles?
Low: Like many Los Angeles transplants, I was lured by the palm trees and sunshine when I moved to the city from Canada in 2001. Almost two decades later, Los Angeles continues to promote a spirit of innovation and progress. Angelenos are fortunate to have the best climate, a talented and diverse workforce and wide range of asset types in a relatively small geographical area. The diversity makes Los Angeles one of the most attractive real estate markets in the world.
Bisnow: What are you most excited about, professionally, as we head into 2020?
Low: On May 1, 2019, Clear Channel Outdoor completed its separation from iHeart Media to become an independent, publicly traded company. I am looking forward to being a part of the company’s next chapter as Clear Channel Outdoor leads the outdoor digital space in the Los Angeles DMA.