As one of the youngest African American women in Commercial Real Estate (CRE), I take the task of encouraging and leading more minorities and women into the industry as one of great importance. While I understand there are many barriers of entry some of which are fueled by race, gender, and age, I don’t want to place all the blame there. Over time we have discouraged ourselves and others from engaging in the transactional/brokerage side of commercial real estate. We fear the unknown and because we don’t often see people who look like us in this trillion dollar industry we tend to stay far away from it.
The reality is Yes, commercial real estate is challenging… but isn’t that the case with anything you’ve never tried or studied before? This is not an industry so complex that its impossible to get into. It is one that requires hard work, dedication, relationships, and continuous education…And to be quite frank, its one that with the right support and guidance ANYONE can master!
I believe the disparity in the participation of women and minorities in CRE can be attributed to the lack of successful familiar examples, exposure, fear, miseducation, and of course, unfortunately, some discrimination. The only way this industry will expand in diversity is if those of us who have been granted the opportunity to participate reach back, encourage and educate!
To date, according to the United States Department of labor, there are 106,000 commercial real estate professionals of which 21.9% (23,214) are women and 9.4% (9,964) are African American. Unfortunately, this does give an accurate depiction of the number of minorities and women who are involved in the brokerage of CRE, but I think it’s safe to say its significantly lower than the numbers given here. These statistics MUST CHANGE!
It is my goal to not only rewrite the narrative surrounding CRE, but also change the face of commercial real estate as you know it!