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Bisnow Celebrates CRE Women In The Bay Area

From CEOs to company founders, Bay Area women have made strides within the commercial real estate industry. Bisnow honored 40 female leaders from all aspects of commercial real estate during this year’s Bay Area Power Women event.

Bisnow's Bay Area Power Women 2017

Several Bisnow Power Women shared their experiences with a sold-out crowd of more than 300 friends, supporters and sponsors in San Francisco on Wednesday. Allen Matkins real estate attorney Elizabeth Clark said her path benefited greatly by working closely with mentors and peers, including The Swig Co. executive vice president and director of asset management Deborah Boyer, also a Bisnow Power Woman.

Allen Matkins' Elizabeth Clark and Ingrid Zettler

“We should pursue our vision. Find collaborators that share our vision. Listen to and ask for advice. Accept advice and give introductions. When people give the same advice, be persistent and make it happen,” Clark said.

Iron Construction/Titanium's Claudia Folzman, Bozzuto partner Jennifer Anderson, HGA Lisa Macaluso, Iron Construction's Stephanie Pence and Transwestern vice president Anna Mcquillan Rose

Iron Construction chief operating officer and Titanium CEO Claudia Folzman said we need to demystify the idea of leadership.

“We have to not think about being a trailblazer, but being a leader,” she said.

There will always be a trailblazer, but people who come after can forge leadership roles, too.

She said being a leader starts with getting involved and being a joiner. She joined many organizations as a college student and continues to join various professional organizations today.

San Francisco supervisor Jane Kim

San Francisco supervisor Jane Kim said it is important to stay involved in the community. While it is important to remain active against resistance to change, particularly against the empowerment of women, women also should recognize they can make a difference in their communities at the same time. She said for true equality in the workplace, men also should be encouraged to take parental leave.

Pinterest program manager Sarah Schutzberger, head of workplace operations Julija Costantino, head of workplace Jen Nguyen, PinChef Danielle Summers, executive chef Polly Sang, project manager Bonnie Bibra and operations manager Quynh Do

Pinterest head of workplace Jen Nguyen said in the workplace, ageism is sometimes more of an issue than gender.

“Experience equals credibility,” she said. “I have 20 years of experience, but I’m still catching up.”

Nguyen said Pinterest is working on increasing diversity in the workplace not only among women and men, but also socioeconomic diversity. She said about 5% to 8% of people working in tech, such as the culinary, janitorial and security teams, do not have tech skills, but are vital to the company. These workers do not often receive equal pay and benefits. This year, Pinterest moved toward offering similar benefits to these workers.

SSL partner Jodi Fedor, Kwan Henmi founder and chairman Sylvia Kwan and Tannerhecht Architecture senior designer and project manager Carla Dal Mas

Kwan Henmi founder and chairman Sylvia Kwan said she learned quite a bit after agreeing to merge with DLR Group — the merger went into effect June 1. Despite some initial resistance to a merger, Kwan said she is really excited about the merger opening up many opportunities for Kwan, her firm and her employees. Kwan said the merger worked because DLR will allow her firm to continue doing the same work, shared a similar culture and is employee-owned, a process she was just beginning to start with her own firm.

She said sometimes you have to be open to new things because it can often lead to something better than expected.

“What may seem like something that you need to fight, maybe don’t fight it so hard,” Kwan said. “Accept it for a little bit and check it out and be sure to always confirm your sources.”

Check out more Bay Area Power Women and supporters below.

Thornton Tomasetti senior vice president Lynn Simon, ESD vice president and director of San Francisco office Aliza Skolnik, mechanical engineer Isaac Kendall, electrical engineer Nina Townley and mechanical engineer Mike Pascual
Sares Regis Group chief operating officer Ginger Bryant and RIM Architects managing principal and CREW SF board member Michelle Jones
SVN | QAV & Associates managing director Deborah Quok, co-founder and managing director Catherine House and co-founder and managing director Ann-Margaret Vann
Iron Construction/Titanium's Claudia Folzman, Dan Neber, husband of AEI Consultants CEO Holly Neber, Holly Neber and American Institute of Steel Construction structural steel specialist Kristy Davis
Webcor managing director Amanda Gillespe, Johnson Controls strategic owner account manager Sarah Muzquiz and Webcor senior project manager Allison Bernard