CHICAGO-Beth Machen, 2013 president of IREM has observed and learned a great deal during her tenure in the commercial real estate industry. As such, we asked her to share her views on how women can work their way to the top in this field, but also what skills they should acquire to do so in the most advantageous way possible. Machen feels for women, this includes using their nurturing skills in a positive way, and taking the natural drive to competition to a healthy place. As for younger women starting out, finding a great mentor is the best way to be guided through this, Machen says, and they should learn as much as they possibly can. 

Check out Part I here from yesterday and keep your Women in CRE nominations coming.

4. GlobeSt: How do you think women can continue to succeed in this industry and what initiatives have IREM been planning to showcase talented women?

By nature, women will continue to succeed in our industry because we are competitive and natural problem solvers.  While we are detail oriented, we still can see the big picture and focus on the bottom line.  We love challenges, and that is what real estate management is all about.  Give us a problem-child property, and we will turn it into a shining-star property.  If you don’t believe it, just stand back and watch! 

As for IREM, we have long nurtured women, of course, giving those who take our courses and earn the credentials we confer the skills sets they need to be successful.  And, as referenced earlier, IREM for the first time recently identified, via a nomination process, 72 women from the U.S. and abroad who are changing the face of the real estate management profession through innovation, mentoring, community service, leadership and other laudable initiatives. The women identified range from senior officers of global real estate firms to self-employed entrepreneurs to site managers of single properties who are prized for the great work they do.

A follow-up initiative will occur at IREM’s upcoming Leadership and Legislative Summit, one of its two big annual meetings, coming up in Washington from April 6 to 10, where one of the most highly anticipated programs is a panel that I will moderate – featuring four of the 72 honorees identified — that will key off on the growing numbers and impact of women in real estate management and what it takes to achieve success.

I also should note that over the past decade, four of IREM’s presidents have been women – present company included – and one more is on the ladder to become president in 2015.

5. Globest: What advice would you give to a woman starting out in the field in order for her to be a success?

First and foremost, prepare yourself to succeed.  Educate yourselfand then continue to study and learn throughout your career.  It is critical to stay on top of industry changes, trends and best practices that will enable you to remain relevant and serve your clients well.  And speaking from personal experience, I can attest to the fact that IREM is a wonderful career partner — whether you sign up for just one course or webinar, become an associate member, or decide to pursue one of the professional credentials we confer.  I’m proud to say that, according to independent research, our CPM® designation is viewed as the most highly valued in our industry sector.  

Second, find a mentor who is successful and well respected within the business to coach and assist you throughout your career.  Seasoned professionals like me love to pass on what we have learned and to help boost careers through knowledge or introductions to others we know within the industry.

Another critical piece of advice: Find your passion within the real estate management industry.  Apart from being a well-rounded generalist, there’s sustainability, technology and many other niches in which you can specialize.  My most passionate advice: If you find your passion, there will never be a bad day at work, only a challenging one.  And real estate management professionals love overcoming challenges!