By Joanne Podell; Executive Vice Chairman, Retail Services
It’s no secret that our business has historically been dominated by men. But at this stage of the game, commercial real estate should not and cannot be monolithic.
Before I became a retail broker, I was a retailer with no experience in brokerage. It was very clear that to prove myself I needed to work twice as hard as my male colleagues; be more knowledgable and more focused than the men. They had the shared social experiences and I had a desk and a computer and frankly, no social relationships at all.
I wasn’t going to the bar with them, wasn’t attending sports events, and didn’t have a husband to socialize with the “wives”. No matter, last year I was tremendously honored to be recognized as Cushman & Wakefield’s top global producer (male or female – there should be no difference).
I’m not shy about confronting the obstacles stacked against women in this industry; after all, I’ve faced them myself. I didn’t have a traditional journey into real estate, and the support of trusted colleagues was instrumental in guiding me to the path I’m now forging. And that’s why I’m committed to serving as a mentor not only to the women on my team, but throughout our firm and across our service lines. I’m also incredibly proud of the work Cushman & Wakefield’s Women’s Integrated Network (WIN) is doing to empower, support, train, and retain talented women within our organization. We are now 1,685 members strong with 35 chapters, and I believe WIN represents an important step forward for equal opportunity not only within our firm, but in the industry as a whole.
At the end of the day, clients value service above all else. They want someone to put their needs first, to take the time to understand their business, and to work tirelessly to help achieve their goals. Women bring a certain measure of empathy, determination, and grit to this business that makes us uniquely positioned to help our clients and get things done. While much work remains to be done, I remain hopeful about the future for women in commercial real estate, and I’m honored to work alongside some of best in the business.
To view Joanne Podell’s Video Interview from “Live at RECon 2017!” CLICK HERE.
Joanne Podell is an Executive Vice Chairman, Retail Services based in Cushman & Wakefield’s New York City office. She was named 2016’s global top producer for the company and was recently honored at YWLN (Young Women’s Leadership Network)’s (Em)Power Breakfast 2017.