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Leading By Example: Bisnow Honors Women In CRE At Dec. 14 Award Celebration


In an extensive report conducted by Bisnow in 2017, 22 women shared their unique perspectives on working in commercial real estate. Their testimonials ranged from, “It’s great!” to the industry being a “boys club” to acknowledging the importance of setting an example for other women.

While these perspectives may differ, one thing is clear: The industry still has more work to do when it comes to ensuring that women are equally represented, especially in executive roles. A 2020 Commercial Real Estate Women Network study found that while women account for 36.7% of the CRE workforce, they represent just 9% of the industry's C-suites.

NFP Senior Vice President Kate McLaughlin said that having women’s perspectives present in top positions is beneficial for a company’s long-term growth and success.

“If you surround yourself with people who look like you, act like you and talk like you, you’re not going to get the breadth of innovation and diversity that’s going to propel you to the next level,” McLaughlin said. “The key is to surround yourself with people who are different from you and help you think differently so that you get the best of both worlds.” 

She said that events such as Bisnow’s Women Leading Real Estate Award Celebration and Cocktail showcase women who are leading by example and recognize their achievements. She will be in attendance at the Dec. 14 event and moderating the panel This is a Woman’s World: DMV Real Estate Outlook.

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McLaughlin sat down with Bisnow to talk about the importance of recognizing women for their accomplishments in CRE and shared NFP’s intentional steps to include more women in executive roles.

Bisnow: What attracted you to Bisnow’s DMV Women Leading Real Estate Award event? What are you looking forward to most about moderating the panel?

McLaughlin: I moderated a panel last year for the same event, and it was incredible. Meeting other women who are leaders in the commercial real estate industry was spectacular. I loved hearing their stories and, more importantly, hearing about their accomplishments. I was really grateful and thankful to be a part of it. 

The industry that I've been a part of for the last 20 years, the financial services industry, is very similar to that of commercial real estate, where it's still very heavily dominated by men. Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging are a big focus in both commercial real estate as well as in financial services. 

There needs to be thoughtful intention in saying, “We need to be better, and we need to do more.” It’s incumbent upon women to ask, but at the same time, it’s also incumbent for leadership to realize that spotlighting and highlighting the achievements of women is something that will be beneficial all around.

As someone who has been in the industry for a long time, seeing the progress and the movement forward has been tremendous, and the women on this panel are great examples of uplifting and inspiring women to achieve leadership. I’m really excited to be a part of it.

Bisnow: How does NFP help to uplift women and ensure they are pursuing leadership roles?

McLaughlin: NFP is a global organization, and advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, DEIB, is something we have put strong emphasis on. We view DEIB as a business imperative, critical to our growth and success and our collective ability to serve the needs of clients.

Pam Wheeler, NFP’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, with engagement and support of our executive leadership team, including Chairman and CEO Doug Hammond, has done tremendous things to advance systems and cultures of DEIB. Her efforts are focused on ensuring DEIB permeates every aspect of our business, empowering all employees and stakeholders to succeed.

As part of NFP’s Atlantic region, led by Ethan Foxman, I am proud to play an active role in our DEIB efforts. Ethan’s core executive leadership team consists mostly of women. We have male counterparts, but predominantly the business line leaders are women. Our contributions and impact have earned us the positions that we have, and Ethan trusts our opinions and thoughts and our processes to help lead the region.

Under my management, we have a whole team of producers, including many high-performing women. All our producers are segmented into cohorts of small-group working sessions. In the Atlantic region, we spotlight the credentials of high-performing women in our industry and have a whole cohort dedicated to that. We work toward bringing in a culture of intention. The more we continue to showcase these women, the more impactful it’s going to be for the next generations coming through the ranks.

Bisnow: How can commercial real estate events that highlight women's achievements be impactful for the industry and women in commercial real estate?

McLaughlin: The event is all about giving exposure to women who are leading through their everyday work and getting to highlight their achievements. I think the more that we can do that, the more that we can have them stand out. The more that we can give them the kudos that they deserve, the more impactful these types of events and networking events will be. I think it's great that Bisnow is choosing to highlight women in the industry because I think it's so important to do.

This article was produced in collaboration between NFP and Studio B. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

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