By: Kim Bucklew
Since its inception in 2011, ULI’s Women Leadership Initiative (WLI) has been on a mission to increase the visibility of women leaders throughout the real estate industry. A ULI survey of its membership revealed only 25 percent were women and of those women only 14 percent were CEOs. A clear gender gap exists when we talk about women in leadership across all industries, real estate is no exception. Something has to change and change is good.
Atlanta’s WLI for 2018 is designed to inspire women by showcasing speakers that have figured out how to break into the elite C-Suite, become their own boss, and lead.
One goal of this year’s convenings was to highlight extraordinary women representing diverse backgrounds, experience, and geographies. This forum is open for women to share their career paths, challenges, and lessons learned along the way. Not all of them are necessarily in real estate and development but all the same principles apply.
In January, WLI was lucky to have renowned Atlanta chef, Anne Quatrano speak to our group. Anne is not only a celebrated chef but also a James Beard Winner and someone who could only be described as personifying the wisdom of life. Anne is extremely generous and humble, yet also steadfast in her values. Among the group, Anne shared many philosophies she’s learned about life, one of which is to constantly welcome change. Worrying about what might come is a waste of energy. Instead, Anne explained that throughout life, change is not only inevitable, but accepting the shifts are what has made her stronger. While staying true to her core values, Anne has learned the art of adaptation. This has kept her strong and consistent in her business philosophy without stifling the creativity in what she does with her food and restaurants. Anne uses change to cultivate growth.
In fact, change is a chance to explore new possibilities, make new friends, learn new skills and grow better, stronger, kinder, worldlier. Change is or should never be perceived as a failure; change simply means there is something more out there that must be learned. Which is Anne’s second philosophy — never stop learning! Anne uses every opportunity to continue to grow, both personally and professionally and that is part of what she feels makes her successful. Applying new inspirations, strategies and originality to her restaurants keep Anne innovative and unique. Anne tries to constantly surround herself with people that are different than her so that, as a team, everyone learns from each other. Having a diverse team allows ideas and creativity to sprout and Anne embraces other’s ideas to help foster change.
There is a lot going on in our world today and no matter the politics or business, there is a transformation that is slowly working through our society. It is essential for strong relationships amongst senior leaders to be cultivated along with an inclusive culture to change the perception of the role of women in the industry. For ULI Atlanta’s WLI, we embrace the change and the possibilities that are the future.
ULI’s Women’s Leadership Initiative was created to:
- Promote the advancement of women, throughout their careers, as leaders in the real estate industry.
- Increase the number of women who serve in leadership positions in the real estate industry and in ULI.
- Increase the visibility of women leaders in the real estate industry and in ULI.
- Increase the number of women who are active ULI Full members, and support the development of young women members as leaders in ULI and in their professions.
If you would like to join us for our next WLI event, please check the list of upcoming events here.
By: Kim Bucklew, Chair, Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) and Managing Director, Alliance Residential Company
This post also appears in the April 2, 2018 edition of the Saporta Report.