Cassidy Turley's Mcdonough
who is optimistic
for continued Boston growth.

BOSTON-The commerical real estate industry has faced many changes over the years, and the best news is that it has yet to finish adapting. More women, for instance, should be taking on prominent roles and new technologies are creeping into everyday industry interactions. Cassidy Turley’s senior vice president Linda McDonough spoke with about her views regarding women in the field, and the ever-increasing importance and prominence of social media. Want to follow her on Twitter? Check out @CassidyTurleyMA for her insight on the Boston market and more. 

1.  How do you think commercial real estate firms can benefit from using social media and how have you used it as part of your job?

Social media is a great tool for commercial real estate experts to promote their knowledge and experience and position their firms as industry thought leaders by sharing relevant industry information.  Another benefit of using social media is that it allows firms to strengthen their relationships with existing clients and prospects by showcasing the firm’s expertise and engaging in meaningful dialogue.  At Cassidy Turley, I have spearheaded the use of a variety of social media platforms for the Boston office, including Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs, all of which have helped us build brand awareness and drive business leads. By utilizing these tools, we have positioned Cassidy Turley Boston as a CRE expert and developed key relationships with current and prospective clients, industry leaders and influential professionals. Social media has also made it easier for us to keep our clients informed about the CRE market within and outside of Boston, as it’s a great way to share local and national real estate news and trends.

2. How are commercial real estate firms primarily communicating information, deals, etc. these days and what new developments have you seen?

Commercial real estate firms are typically slow in adopting new technologies.  However, during the past year, I have seen more and more firms combining traditional public relations with social media strategies to maximize their reach and share deals and media placements across a variety of channels, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogging Google+ and YouTube. This allows firms to take these initial media hits and turn them into conversations with clients and external audiences, fostering a level of communication and engagement that would not be possible with just traditional media. 

3. As a woman in the industry, how easy or difficult is it for other women to move ahead with their careers? How has this changed over time?

I believe women are making great strides in their commercial real estate careers today because there are a higher number of senior female executives who can take younger women under their wings and mentor them.  When I started working in commercial real estate 15 years ago, this was not the case. Today there are many more opportunities for women to succeed not only in the brokerage role but in marketing, lending and development as well.  Cassidy Turley has embraced a forward thinking approach to providing opportunities for women in the workplace through sponsorships such as The CREW Network Bridging the C-Suite Gap: Executive-Level Mentoring Program, which helps women fill more leadership roles within the company.

4. In what ways do you think that commercial real estate could welcome a wider range of women into roles with significant responsibilities?

In addition to having senior female executives serve as mentors for young women in the industry, we need to make more of an effort to reach out to young women in universities across the country, regardless of their major, and encouraging them to consider real estate as a career field. We cannot cultivate female leaders without first providing them with the solid foundation of education and training that they need to shine in this industry. If more young women decide early in their college careers that they want to enter commercial real estate, they will have time to hone the theoretical and practical skills they need to succeed. Once these young women move into leadership roles, they can mentor the next generation of leaders, allowing the cycle to continue year after year.  

5. How do you expect that the industry will shift going in to 2013? What would you say is your New Year’s “wish list” for commercial real estate?

Boston is one of the fastest growing commercial real estate markets in the country, and we’re hoping it will continue to grow in 2013. As talks about the fiscal cliff continue, it’s hard to know what the future holds for real estate, but Boston seems to be in a good place. Construction spending is on the rise here, so more building projects could mean an increase in the number of commercial properties available, which is always good news for us.  My New Year’s “wish list” would include two items. First, I would like to see Boston’s commercial real estate market continuing to grow and leading the way for the national real estate recovery. Second, I hope Boston’s commercial real estate market will continue attracting the top-tier tenants it has during the past several years. With the high rents and low vacancies we are seeing in areas like East Cambridge and in certain exits along Route 128, it seems that the demand for space is as strong as ever, and I hope it continues to strengthen in the New Year.