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Womanpower in Real Estate: What does it take to BE a woman in the real estate industry?

January 12, 2023

Womanpower in Real Estate: What does it take to BE a woman in the real estate industry?

March marks Women’s History Month as well as International Women’s Day – both of which celebrate the many remarkable achievements of women past and present.
Every day, remarkable women are breaking down barriers and making strides in the real estate industry. We talked to six inspiring women to find out how they do it.
From the UK, France, Italy, and Luxemburg, each of them has a different story to tell, and yet they all have a lot in common. Looking back at their professional development, they share their personal experience in which confidence, resilience, vulnerability, presence, and connection have been key to their success.

In this article, they share the biggest lessons they have learnt in their careers, and their advice to other women entering the industry. We hope that their testimony will inspire you to follow your intuition and believe in your talents.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in your career?

Pauline Diminutto 600x600px
Pauline Diminutto, Senior Vice President Commercial Real Estate, Marathon MCAP, UK

“Do not try to do business like a man but be ready to speak up.”

Women have qualities that are essential to succeed in real estate. We tend to be more organised, more collaborative, and better at compromising than some of our male counterparts. However, you should not be scared to speak your mind. It is because women apprehend things differently than men that we can contribute so much to the industry.

“We are not defined by our setbacks, but how we handle them and what we do next.”

To be successful, I have learnt that you need to be resilient and to never give up. We all have setbacks during our career. It could be that a project you’ve worked on for months gets cancelled, that your sales pitch didn’t work, or even that you lost your job.

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Melissa Baltus, Investment Director, ECE Real Estate Partners, UK
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Anne-Catherine Hellmann, Associée, Serris Reim, France

“I have learnt to not be discouraged when I fail. On the contrary, I take advantage to learn more in the process.”

Real estate is a very competitive industry. You have to be persistent and resilient. Communication is also an essential part of our job, and should always be honest, respectful, and assertive.

“An important lesson I learnt is how valuable connections with other people are.”

For me networking is essential. Whether it’s with a colleague, a friend or a family member, each relationship I build with another person adds another beam of support to what I’m building for myself.

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Monica Pedrini, Head of Project & Construction Management, Colliers, Italy
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Buyanzaya Batbileg, Head of Investment, Threestones Capital, Luxemburg

“As simple as it may seem, I have learnt to value common sense and objectivity, which help facilitate the human relations in the workplace.”

People you work with contribute a lot to the quality of your work life. I make this an important factor in making any career related decisions.

“I’ve learnt the importance of being surrounded by people who believe in you.”

It all starts with finding a job that always makes you enthusiastic and proud of what you’re doing. Establish your primary goals and set yourself a realistic timeline to achieve them.

Womanpower in Real Estate
Mihaela Sommer, Development Manager, Colliers Property Project & Development, Italy

What advice would you give other women entering the real estate industry?

Pauline Diminutto, Senior Vice President Commercial Real Estate, Marathon MCAP, UK:

Start networking early, be humble and ask questions. It is never too early to start networking, but it is just as important to ask questions and to learn from others, be it from the facility manager in one of the buildings you manage, or the CEO of a company.

Melissa Mc Coy, Investment Partner, ECE Real Estate Partners, UK:

It is important to stay flexible. When a great job opportunity arises, you need to have the courage to change in order to get ahead.

At the beginning of your career, your goal should be to learn new skills by listening, observing and through constructive criticism. The real estate sector is very complex, and you will need different skillsets to achieve your objectives. You can achieve anything as long as you play your strengths right and constantly work on your weaknesses.

Women are just as capable and able to complete tasks and work under pressure as men. Be confident in your abilities and ask for responsibilities, interesting projects, and chances to prove yourself. It is also very important to ask for recognition, promotions and salary increases.

Anne-Catherine Hellmann, Associée, Serris Reims, France:

Be confident, believe in your skills, in yourself, never stop learning. Above all, surround yourself with positive people and mentors to lean on. Find people who encourage you, trust you, and help you fully express yourself so you can live your passion.

Monica Pedrini, Head of Project & Construction Management, Colliers Italy:

The real power is the presence. Networking means building connections with other professionals, and it is important to grow your reputation, increase visibility, and improve business growth. Stay connected with your network, and regularly participate in networking events.

Mihaela Sommer, Development Manager, Colliers Property Project & Development, Italy:

The real estate industry is very broad and requires different areas of expertise: engineering, legal, management and so on. It is also continuously changing, so I think that networking, learning, and staying flexible are the key factors for a professional growth. But what’s more important is to find a sector that suits your personality. It’s not strictly related to your education background. It’s more about your soft skills, inclinations, mindset and, why not, your weaknesses.

Buyanzaya Batbileg, Head of Investment, Threestones Capital, Luxemburg:

Embrace your femininity and authenticity. Do not hesitate to speak up and assert your view, when you are 99% confident that you have a point. Constantly developing yourself professionally and personally and being prepared for any important occasions help build confidence, that many young female professionals may lack at the beginning of their career.

If you like this article, listen to more inspiring women in real estate as they share their stories in our Women in Real Estate Webinar on March 8th.  

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