Real estate’s sales-based, lone-wolf business culture is one that can sometimes overlook the profit potential in doing things a different way. When young professionals come to this industry, often their “onboarding” is little more than receiving a few rules and pointing them to the marketplace to sink or swim. And when the professional happens to be a woman, the process is even more foreboding. Given these impersonal norms, many in the industry have begun actively seeking mentorship opportunities as a way to develop profitable skills.
When consulting giants McKinsey and Company set out in 2015 to study the impact of gender diversity on corporate profitability, they found that companies who held on to outmoded staffing and promotion norms were leaving money on the table. McKinsey looked at 350 large public companies in North America, Latin American, and the UK and found that the companies among the top 25% in gender diversity were 15% more likely to produce better returns than comparable companies – an unexpected outcome for many in a traditionally male-dominated industry.
In the commercial real estate industry, the gold in gender diversity may have no greater symbol than a woman with the stuff in her very name. In 2007, Goldie B. Wolfe Miller, commercial broker extraordinaire and first female Vice President of Arthur Rubloff & Company, leveraged her decades of industry success to found The Goldie B. Wolfe Miller Women Leaders In Real Estate Initiative, a program dedicated to mentoring women entering a traditionally male-dominated industry.
Wolfe Miller’s vision was to put more women in the corner office by creating a mentorship program to share with candidates what she learned about making it there. Leaving Rubloff in 1989, she started her own firm and grew it from a tenant representation specialty into a juggernaut with $3 billion in transactions, reported to be the largest woman-owned commercial real estate company in the country. Along the way, invaluable experiences piled up and she wanted to share.