I was delighted to be asked to lead a discussion co-sponsored by ULI as part of ANREV’s inaugural ‘Women in Property’ luncheon, held in Singapore this week. Joined by Alex Crossing from CBRE Investment Partners, a fellow champion of women in business, this was a fantastic launch pad and a great opportunity to reach out to the very talented women in real estate in Singapore and across Asia.

We know the figures for women reaching the top levels in business and real estate globally aren’t reflective of the talent that enters these professions. There are so many bright, ambitious and well educated women joining the ranks but not making it to the top levels in businesses. The aim of this event was to start the discussion and reach out to those future leaders and say ‘you don’t need to do this on your own’. By forming this powerful network we are offering women the support, encouragement and opportunities for mentorship and we actively encourage women to seek greater visibility within the real estate industry.

Whilst we may joke that you stand a greater chance of becoming a CEO if you are called John or David, (or Peter if you’re in Australia) than actually being a woman, we know that these statistics reflect the big challenges faced by women as they progress their career – a distinct lack of role models at the top.

It’s hard to know where you’re heading if you can’t see a picture of what that looks like.

Younger women in the workplace need to have peers to evaluate how they manage their achievements at work and at home. Positive female role models, 5/ 10/15 years ahead, offer women a vision of how they can be when they reach that point in their business and personal lives. It offers them a mirroring view. When organisations have no senior management who are women, you will see fewer women sticking around. Culturally women often make the decision (rightly or wrongly) that their long term ambitions won’t be supported when they are in a minority in that particular firm or industry.

With this in mind, women need to put more value on networking.  ANREV events will give women a greater opportunity to meet other senior real estate professionals and grow their own profile.

So, if you don’t want to change your name to David or John, but do want professional recognition and want to maximize your potential to get the promotion you deserve, then here are some things to consider;

Take ownership of your career today.

  • Don’t give your boss the opportunity to make the decision on your behalf that domestically you won’t be able to take on greater challenges. Men are not passed over on a promotion because they have children, women are.
  • Have a career plan, never assume that management know your goals.
  • Be vocal, find your voice and be heard.
  • Be clear about how much responsibility you want and how much you can take on.
  • Get out of your comfort zone.
  • Look around you and decide where you want to be and how you want to get there. Your manager does not hold that responsibility and HR certainly don’t. Join business groups, have lunches with other senior business women. Seek out women who have the experience you are looking to gain and don’t be afraid to ask for guidance.
  • Make yourself visible within the industry. If you are a subject matter expert, let people know that. If you don’t feel confident in speaking in public, ask your firm for training.
  • If the industry doesn’t know about you, then you won’t be in a position to get noticed.
  • Don’t be lazy with your greatest asset. You!

For further coaching advice or a confidential recruitment discussion, please contact me on gemma@proj68.com