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As More Women Enter CRE, Juggling Work-Life Balance Is Key To Success

In her more than three-decade career, Allen Matkins environmental and real estate lawyer Pam Andes remembers having to juggle conference calls with one of her daughters on a baby front pack. 

On some days, she was on calls with clients while on the sideline of a football field and watching her girls cheerlead. 

Steadfast Cos.' Ella Shaw Neyland, CBRE's Sharon Kline, Orange County Board of Supervisors' Lisa Bartlett, Duke Realty's Nancy Shultz and Allen Matkins' Morgan Medlin at Bisnow's Orange County Power Women event at the Irvine Marriott in Irvine

There were times she pulled all-nighters while taking care of a sick child.

Those were tough and challenging days, juggling work and family life, but being able to manage those tasks has helped her become a stronger person for her family and her company, she said. 

"It's all about the balancing," Andes said at Bisnow's Orange County Power Women event at the Irvine Marriott in Irvine. "I have built a relationship with my clients and my colleagues. They knew I was going to be available and be there for them. So they accommodated my schedule and I accommodated theirs."

Now, her two girls are grown. And Andes, who has worked at Allen Matkins since 1988, is helping and mentoring other young women — and men — on the similar challenges they are facing so they can prosper and succeed. 

As more women enter the high-pressure world of commercial real estate, panelists said now more than ever these professional women need to focus on work but also find time for themselves, family, loved ones or a hobby.

"You don't want to burn yourself out," Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett said. 

About 200 people attended the annual Bisnow event that honors women that work in the commercial real estate field in Orange County.

During the morning event, panelists discussed the importance of sponsoring women, supporting diversity — and not just gender, but supporting and honing a woman's career, and never feeling intimidated — even if you are the only woman in a room full of males.

"Be curious, dig deeper and don't take things at face value," CBRE Executive Vice President Sharon Kline said.

The awardees of Bisnow's Orange County Power Women 2019 at the Irvine Marriott in Irvine

For women, one of the biggest challenges is child care and balancing work with family.

Though men experience some of the same challenges as women when it comes to raising a child, there is something different about being a mother, Steadfast Cos. President Ella Shaw Neyland said.

Women want to take care of and make sure their child is taken care of, Neyland said. 

"There's a maternal instinct that kicks in," Neyland said. 

Many of the panelists also discussed the importance of taking care of oneself. Meditate, do yoga, read, volunteer at your kids' school, anything that can keep your mind off work, panelists said. 

For women, it is easy to get caught up and focus solely on work, Bartlett said.  

"You have to find that balance," Bartlett said. "You do what you can — get a facial, get a massage, go out with your friends and family ... finding what works for you.

"Find that work-life balance," she added. "If you don't find that balance in life, you'll go stir-crazy and stress yourself out. Find that relief valve."

After the event, Eman Bermani said listening to her colleagues about their trials and tribulations in the commercial real estate industry was not only inspiring but motivating. 

Bermani, an architect at Newport Beach-based HPI Architecture, came out of the Irvine Marriott hotel beaming after listening to the personal stories told by many of the panelists. 

"I feel more motivated," Bermani said after the event held Wednesday. "I feel like I'm on the right track ... Sometimes you doubt and question yourself, 'Am I doing the right thing?' I think by empowering others, you empower yourself. I'm motivated by this."

Check out a photo slideshow of the event here:

Orange County Power Women 2019