Elisa Konik is a Managing Director with Cushman & Wakefield’s Brokerage Services team in Oakland. She specializes in helping tenants design and execute real estate strategies within the Bay Area and globally across diverse portfolios and occupier/investor requirements. Elisa currently serves as National Chair of Cushman & Wakefield’s Emerging Technology Practice Group and is an executive board member of the firm’s Tenant Advisory Group. Elisa’s tenant advisory practice focuses on emerging industries, bio-tech and unique flex/office requirements. She has been with Cushman & Wakefield for 12 years and prior to brokerage spent several years in the firms’ Global Business Consulting and Corporate Services practice lines. Throughout her career at Cushman & Wakefield she has designed several award-winning Best Practices and won the firm’s Rising Star award in 2012. With her talent, career success and commitment to community, Elisa has also been a recipient of Real Estate Forum’s Women to Watch NextGen award. She is a proud mom, Berkeley resident and active member of her community. Join us as we get to hear and learn more from Elisa as our celebration of Women’s History Month continues:
Are there any myths or stereotypes when it comes to the CRE industry that you feel are untrue or need to be tuned out when it comes to a person’s gender?
Before I became a working mom, I rarely looked at my professional life with a gender lens. I credit that to some phenomenal role models, including Todd Schwartz of Cushman & Wakefield, who only inspired me to keep doing good work, and never set limitations for what I could pursue or strive for. Gender was just never part of the equation.
Now, as a working mom, I will admit, there are some challenges to be faced in the CRE industry, particularly in brokerage. As a broker your time is money and every day you need to consider what becomes a priority. It has been a balancing act, one I’m still learning. I do think we need to push our industry as a whole to rethink paternity leave policy, but I’m confident that this will evolve over time, especially as more women grow into positions of leadership.
How would you say that Cushman & Wakefield has helped in the advancement of women in the industry, yourself included?
Since we love to slap generational labels on the millennial class, I will gladly admit to being part of that demographic. Millennials are known for being ambitious but focused on maintaining a good balance of work/play in their life. Particularly in the Bay Area, it is not uncommon for millennials to switch jobs every 2-3 years in search of greener pastures. I’m proud to say I’ve been at C&W for 12 years, practically right out of college, and I think that is only possible in a firm where advancement is not just a perceived opportunity but one that shows true appreciation for good work. C&W leadership has been incredibly supportive of my career over the years and has encouraged me to explore new roles over time to help satisfy my curiosity and evolving interests.
What are some of the attributes it requires to be successful in your role? What are some of your strongest attributes that help define who you are?
Self-motivation and endless curiosity are highly rewarded in our industry. In my opinion, the only true limits are self-imposed.
What are some of your favorite enjoyable hobbies outside the office? And which ones do you find help balance or propel you forward as a professional? How or why?
Music definitely soothes my soul! The Dead, Phish, String Cheese… when I moved out to the Bay (with C&W a few years ago), I thankfully landed in Dead territory, so we stay busy.
Is there anything else noteworthy about yourself, your role or the CRE industry that those listening might take away from this interview?
Real estate can be an inspiring profession—you can help with important roles such as building communities, revitalizing a district, or even nurturing a start-up’s workplace culture, and much more. It is a field where you can be fiercely independent or collaborative through partnership. I think women are given just as many opportunities as men to succeed; success in our industry, with clients as diverse as we are, comes from celebrating our differences as much as our similarities.
Story by Joshua Deale, Senior Communications Specialist