Real Estate Forum’s Women of Influence recognition honors women in commercial real estate whose achievements have helped shape and evolve the industry. This year, Cushman & Wakefield’s Alison Beddard, Senior Director in Salt Lake City and Global President of CREW Network; Sherry Cushman, Executive Managing Director in Washington, DC, and leader of Cushman & Wakefield’s Legal Sector Advisory Group; and Marla Maloney, President, Asset Services, Americas, were recognized as Women of Influence and for all they have accomplished. We spoke with them about the various challenges they’ve faced, personally and professionally; biggest wins; and advice for women entering the industry.
Describe an accomplishment or win from early in your career that stands out now as a defining moment? What about an early challenge?
Sherry: For me the achievement and the challenge are the same story. After transitioning to brokerage with Studley, in my first year I was brought on for a pitch to Morgan Lewis, with whom I had developed a relationship during my time as a designer. Not only did we win that business, but the deal was named Transaction of the Year. But in a cruel introduction to the reality of commission payments, the construction of the space was not completed until six years later, and it wasn’t until then that I received the $4.5 million commission. That’s a long time to wait for a paycheck.
Alison: In 2012 I was hired to represent the University of Utah in their search for a new medical campus. We helped close on a 120,000 SF office space on a 14-acre site that suited their needs perfectly. Because this first deal worked out so well for them, they later hired me to find another 170,000 SF office space for University of Utah Healthcare, which will provide a tremendous service to the community, as well.
My biggest challenge was a personal one. I went through a divorce in 2008, leaving behind a million-dollar lifestyle, and had to start all over. I learned so much from this experience though. I’ve learned to be fearless, to take the reins and put all of myself into everything. I learned so much about myself through that, and discovered a strength I didn’t realize that I had.
Marla: When I worked for a much smaller company at a satellite office with just six employees, I was pursuing a multi-building opportunity in San Francisco with a significant institutional client. We were considerably outmatched by our competition. During the presentation, the client had lots of challenging questions, but I had done my homework and knew the client’s business. I was able to keep my composure and confidently answer them. The client called the next day to inform me that we’d won the business. I was proud of how our team delivered a superior presentation to win the assignment against several larger companies.
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