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Bisnow’s List of Power Women!

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By the end of 2014, Bisnow will have profiled and celebrated the top 300 commercial real estate women in DC, NY, Dallas, Atlanta, LA, Chicago, and Boston. We're proud of this nationwide initiative and want to tell you more about it.


How we did it: Bisnow’s 25 reporters and editors across the country have combed the news, bent the ears of market pros, and consulted with you (no one knows better) to find the women who have made the biggest impact. We are also deeply indebted to CREW, which has served as an invaluable partner and friend. No list is perfect, and we hope you let us know everyone we left off, but we know one thing: These ladies prove that the only way a glass ceiling exists is if they request one (for LEED points).

As part of telling their stories, we asked our power women to share their best advice to young women starting out in commercial real estate. Here’s a sampling of what we heard:

Leslie Himmel, Partner, Himmel + Meringoff


Leslie (snapped with Bisnow Power Woman and New York SuperBroker Mary Ann Tighe) owns more NYC real estate than any other female, with an office portfolio worth as much as $500M.

Advice: Vive la difference and just do it. Forget all of this gender equality. We are different. Let's figure out ways that women can outcompete the men and focus on that; raise funds for women-owned businesses. We can't fit into having to be somewhere all of the time and having obligations from our family. That means being entrepreneurial as a woman, and if at all you can, creating your own schedule.

Lucy Crow Billingsley, Partner,
Billingsley Co.


Lucy’s company holdings include 4,000 acres in master-planned development, 3,000 multifamily units, 1.5M SF of office parks and commercial buildings, over 680k SF retail storefronts, 10M SF of industrial space, and data center sites across Dallas, Houston and Chicago. She is the daughter of the legendary Trammell Crow.

Advice: Don't give your self-confidence to anyone else. Believe in yourself. Become your own billboard; when you exude confidence, people believe in you. Come on into development. The water is fine!

Sabine Gaedeke Stener, CEO, Gaedeke Group


Sabine's company portfolio features seven office towers in Dallas (including the notable 264k SF One McKinney Plaza in Uptown), three buildings in Tennessee, three in Florida (including the 234k SF Museum Tower in Miami), 1310 G St in DC, and the 365k SF 2800 Tower in Phoenix. An offshoot of Gaedeke Group is Gaedeke Energy, which provides strategic capitalization and expertise to take drilling and exploration projects to the next level.

Advice: Define yourself as a leader, not just as a woman in business. Set goals, create something, and work at making it successful. As soon as people realize you know what you're talking about, they will respect you.

Chris Akins, Managing Director,
LaSalle Investment Management


Chris lives in Chicago and has transacted $4B of real estate nationally.

Advice: Embrace your unique dealmaking style, especially as a woman. You don’t have to be the loudest one, the tallest one, or the best at golf to close.

Leslie Cohen, Principal, Samuels & Associates


An engineer by training, Leslie’s now the go-to person (from site acquisition to design, permitting, construction, and leasing) in Boston for the $160M Continuum in Allston's Barry’s Corner, the $280M Point in the Fenway, and the just completed 93-key Verb Hotel nearby.

Advice: Pull up a seat at the table; do not be shy--participate.

Deborah Ratner Salzberg, President,
Forest City Washington


Deborah oversees the massive Yards project in Capitol Riverfront with residential, retail, and office components that will total over 5.5M SF.

Advice: If you work hard and are willing to seek advice, you can learn whatever is necessary to succeed.