By: Bethany Clark, Senior Managing Director
During the past several years, the prevalence of women in commercial real estate has started, albeit slowly, to rise. Historically, women entering the commercial real estate sector tended to focus on retail and office specialties, but now they are leading the way in even the most traditionally male-dominated sectors – including industrial. With the explosion of eCommerce and the industrial market, companies are able to recruit more women to the industry.
In Atlanta, Cushman & Wakefield’s industrial team contains the most women of any brokerage firm in the city. At the helm of tenant representation is Lisa Pittman, the only woman leader of an industrial brokerage team in the Atlanta market. She stepped into the role of Atlanta lead last year after working her way up through the company, where she started as a Research Associate. Along with Tara Healy (Agency Leasing), Courtney Oldenburg and Helen Cauthen (tenant representation), the four women are paving the way for women in industrial in Atlanta.
“More women are wanting to get into commercial real estate as a whole and are trying to figure out which avenue to take,” Pittman said. “By working to create a good gender ratio, it will help bring even more women to the commercial real estate industry; not just to the industrial market, but to the industry as a whole.”
Because an engineering background is a common stepping stone into the industrial sector, markets like Atlanta that have top universities like the Georgia Institute of Technology should experience an influx of qualified women.
While there has historically been a lack of female role models in the industrial sector, as well as the logistics/supply chain industry, and that’s starting to change. Healy points to development firms in Atlanta, several of which have women in senior positions including Lisa Ward, Senior Vice President and Managing Director for Core5 Industrial Partners, Amy Curry, Senior Vice President at Hillwood, as well as Cassie Hanavich, Senior Leasing Manager at Prologis. Hanavich began her career in Industrial Agency Leasing at Cushman & Wakefield.
“Now that there are more women in leadership positions that we can point to, women have role models to follow,” Healy said. “We have a responsibility as women in industrial to show them that the sector has a lot to offer and why we are attracted to this industry. Personally, I like the different facets of manufacturing and distribution and learning varying business operations.”
Overall, both Pittman and Healy are positive about the future of women in the industry.
“Companies are more aware of gender diversity today, and the more women who get into the commercial real estate industry, the more our networks will grow,” Pittman said. “We have the most women on our industrial team because it started with me and Tara and then we were able to recruit more women. Now it will be even easier to recruit more.”
Bethany Clark is the Managing Director of Strategy & Operations for Cushman & Wakefield’s Logistics & Industrial Services group for the Americas. She provides strategic and operational oversight for the Industrial service line at C&W, supporting the performance of the company’s nearly 840 brokerage professionals in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Ms. Clark partners closely with C&W Marketing, Research, Consulting and other professionals to provide Industrial Brokers with supply chain insights, business development support, thought leadership and research publications, and other client support tools.