The pandemic proved that industrial’s resurgence is more than a fad. Growing before the arrival of Covid-19, this area has since exploded, becoming the preferred destination for many investors. Women in CRE should consider it as a place to land, says Patricia Loveall, executive vice president with Kidder Mathews and incoming global president-elect of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR).
“Industrial has been very vibrant because it’s an essential service,” notes Loveall. Unlike the office sector, work typically done at industrial properties must be completed at a physical location, which means space is necessary. “It’s not like you can remotely distribute goods to businesses and homes,” Loveall adds.
Despite the recent boom in industrial brokerage, Loveall says the sector still needs to do more to attract women. “You’ll see more women in the office market,” says Loveall. “The industrial market, unfortunately, has not drawn as many women yet. Whether the solution is finding the right mentor, getting women interested, or providing the right opportunities, it’s an area of great potential growth.”
Industrial real estate also provides brokers with some flexibility that is harder to obtain in other specialties. “Utilizing technology effectively, you can conduct preliminary tours with clients without physically being on site.” Loveall says. “It’s not as good as being in person, but it’s a way to narrow the scope of what they want to look at early on in the process.” And many of the primary work requires less in the way of initial on-site visits than it once did, giving some flexibility back to brokers.
“I’m probably biased in that I do think it’s a good space in which to operate for work-life balance because of the amount of work you can do remotely,” explains Loveall. “If I was advising a young woman going into real estate, I would try to guide them into the industrial market.”
The one thing women frequently need to come around to, Loveall has found, is finding their comfort level in the male-dominated sector. “When I’ve tried to mentor young women, I’ve totally got to get them to check that uncertainty at the door,” she says. “I remind them that they know what they’re doing, and that they have every right to be there.” “Women are smart, detailed oriented and have the tools to succeed, they only need to bolster their confidence and approach the business with the same swagger as their male counterparts.”.
It’s why Loveall says that networking, education, and mentoring for women, something that can be found in abundance at SIOR and the upcoming conference in Nashville, is critical. “SIOR has a real commitment to increasing women in commercial real estate,” she adds. “We have scholarships that we offer specifically to women who want to pursue real estate careers, a leadership and mentoring group that gives younger members access to more senior brokers and their knowledge, and breakout sessions at our two global meetings that let them share and learn from each other’s challenges and experiences. I think SIOR has done a magnificent job of supporting and encouraging women.”