The Challenge Facing Women-Owned Business
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NEW YORK CITY-As 2012 is coming to a close, it can be beneficial to look back across the year and into some of its major events. In that vein, Jodi Pulice, founder and president of JRT Realty Group Inc., sat down with GlobeSt.com to discuss One WTC post-Sandy (JRT was on the building’s leasing team), current local leasing trends, and her experiences as a woman-owned business in New York City.
What exactly about One WTC helped it withstand the effects of Sandy?
Pulice: Most new construction is being built to withstand the changing elements and at the same time be sustainable. Certainly the fact that the power never went down at One World Trade Center during storm speaks volumes and as a result, construction quickly resumed on the entire site in a brisk fashion.
Where do you see leasing trends going next in Manhattan and why?
Pulice: Leasing is already switching downtown to the Financial District because it is one of the few areas in the city where there is new commercial construction. Companies today are seeking environments in which they can operate as efficiently as possible, and the new buildings offer sustainable design, in conjunction with infrastructures that support enhanced technology needs and provide so many other benefits. They are also safer and better able to withstand the elements, as was clearly demonstrated during Hurricane Sandy. Finally, the World Trade Center transportation hub will be a game changer. Not only will it connect multiple transit lines, it will do so in a way that combines functionality with uplifting public space. A Downtown address will soon be like a recruitment poster.
How has the City enabled woman-owned businesses such as yours to succeed?
Pulice: In addition to government mandates at the federal, state and municipal levels, the current administration has been actively supportive of diversity. There is an open-mindedness that has enabled and encouraged women- and minority-owned businesses to participate in greater opportunities. The City has actually created a platform that levels the playing field. But let me make this perfectly clear, we don’t get the jobs simply because we are women or minorities; when we do get them it’s because we can get the jobs done well and often surpass the expected standards.
In what way can women can gain more prominence in the commercial real estate industry? How can we see a better balance in the boardroom?
Pulice: It never ceases to amaze me that while so many of the biggest producers in our industry are women, less than 3% sit on boards or in C-Suites. But as someone who has been in the business for nearly three decades, I do see growth, along with room for improvement. On a national level, there are more women executives today in many different sectors, and that number increases exponentially every year. Women in commercial real estate are doing better now than ever before and we must continue to aim for the top in order to achieve it.
What is next for JRT Realty? How will the company close out the year, and what do you have in the pipeline for 2013?
Pulice: I would like to work even more closely with Cushman & Wakefield, which is the only national commercial real estate firm to have a strategic partnership with an M/WBE company. We plan to a continue expanding our offices in New York and Long Beach. Also on the agenda for 2013, will be an effort to create more strategic partnerships with companies in different segments of the industry, as well as develop new opportunities with minority and women-owned business enterprises.
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