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A Female CEO

There has been great progress for women in business over the past 25 years, but the statistics for their achieving senior executive roles is embarrassingly low. According to Catalyst, an advocacy group that tracks women’s advancement in the workplace, women now make up 59.6% of the US labor force, but fewer than 16% of top corporate officers are female, and for minorities, the numbers are significantly lower. I suspect that the statistics for the real estate industry are more disturbing. This is why I am attracted to Business Week’s cover story from a few weeks ago about the transition at Xerox Corp., where CEO Anne Mulcahy is stepping down after successfully turning the company around, and now handing the reins over to Ursula Burns, the current president. Burns rose through Xerox the old-fashioned way from a summer engineering intern in 1980 to now become the first black female CEO of a Fortune 500 company. This is a powerful reminder that we need to make sure that the latest meltdown does not seriously set back real estate industry’s attention to making progress on the diversity front. Did you copy that?

Tony LoPinto is CEO of Equinox Partners, an executive search firm specializing in the real estate industry, and parent company of SelectLeaders. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.

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