This Q&A series celebrates Women’s History Month and the dynamic and inspiring women of Colliers, who discuss advice, accomplishments, the importance of inclusivity and more.
What advice would you give to women new to the commercial real estate industry?
Conduct research and learn as much as you can about the asset, seller, buyer or neighborhood that you are focusing on. For a while, you will need to prove yourself to others. Once industry professionals recognize how well prepared and knowledgeable you are, they will seek your advice. It’s hard work, but you must stay on top of things. Also, never walk into a meeting believing you are unqualified just because you are new to the CRE industry. Instead, project confidence and a desire to learn from the pros in the industry. Be humble but hungry for knowledge!
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Being the first CRE broker to discover the amazing potential of downtown Miami at a time when nobody would touch it because of the amount of abandoned properties there were. At the height of the recession, I walked downtown streets to get to know the property owners, their tenants, the buildings’ zoning and developable rights, etc. People were telling me I was crazy and wasting my time learning everything about downtown Miami. Around 2014, I was able to get the attention of an investor who had experience going into neglected neighborhoods and turning them into hot districts. This investor began acquiring a significant number of buildings of historic value and a year later, investors from all over the world started contacting me about assets to buy downtown. Suddenly, I became known as the Queen of Downtown Miami. I am extremely proud of my persistence and for not giving up when people were mocking me for pursuing my passion: bringing life to South Florida’s urban cores.
Who is a woman you greatly admire and why?
I admire the late Zaha Hadid, the first female recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, because she was bold in her design and statements. Existing in a man’s world, she was not meek—rather the opposite.
How have you helped to foster an inclusive environment here at Colliers?
I like to mentor female brokers and help them launch their careers in CRE. Since this industry is male-dominated, it can be intimidating at first. I am their cheerleader. I help them develop strategies and try to include them in meetings with current and prospective clients. I am a strong believer that you are as good as your team, so I want to make sure those who choose to join me in the Urban Core division feel welcomed, appreciated and, most importantly, have the support required to be successful in this arena.
What inspires you?
My clients. Many of them are visionaries—people who dare to enter new markets because they believe they can make a difference. They constantly remind me that being a pioneer is not an easy task and challenges often appear that you need to overcome. But if you remain true to your vision, you can and will succeed.