Women are gaining notoriety in the world of real estate. Many women have been in the sector for decades and have become leading figures, reshaping their businesses in the process. Here are the women making waves in the real estate industry today.
Sadie Morgan is an English designer and founder of DRMM architects. Morgan is among the most influential contemporary architects and has championed women in the sector. Since the formation of her firm, Morgan has maintained a gender-balanced workforce. Morgan is the chair of the Independent Design Panel for High Speed Two (HS2). In 2013, she became the youngest ever president of the Architectural Association School of Architecture. Morgan has enjoyed a 21-year career in the built environment. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from the London South Bank University in 2016. Morgan has received a number of other awards, including New Londoner of the Year Award in 2017. Her achievements so far are nothing short of phenomenal.
As the managing director of DCAM, a privately-held specialist real estate investment advisor, Elakterna Advdonina has become a leading figure in the sector. She was instrumental in establishing the business in 2012 and DCAM has grown into one of Europe’s leading logistics and real estate businesses. Previously, Avdonina worked with ING Real Estate in the Netherlands and before that, she was employed at GVA Sawyer in Moscow. She also works with several charities. Avdonina was voted as one of Bisnow’s fifty-one most influential women in UK real estate.
Barba Knoflach’s career in European real estate spans almost two decades. Knoflach is currently Global Head of Investment Management at BNP Paribas Real Estate, a position she has held since 2015. She was previously CEO of SEB Asset Management and before that, she worked for Deutsche Bank. Knoflach is a member of the Executive Board of ZIA and of the University Advisory Board for REAI at Harvard University. Knoflach is one of the female pioneers in the industry. Her contributions were recognised on a grand scale when she was voted as the Most Influential Real Estate Woman of the Decade at the PropertyEU Deal of the Decade Awards ceremony held in London last year.
Mary Ann Tighe
Staying on top of a brokerage firm for any amount of time is a difficult business. But Mary Ann Tighe has become a grounder-breaker in commercial brokerage. Mary Ann has been the CEO of CBRE’s New York Tri-State Region since 2002. It’s the world largest commercial real estate services firm. Mary Ann began her career in the TV industry, becoming Vice President at American Broadcasting Company Video Enterprises. She transitioned into real estate in the mid-1980s with no prior real estate experience. Yet, she climbed the ladder and went onto help champion some of the greatest projects in New York City’s recent history. These include the revitalisation of Times Square and the expansion of Midtown’s central business district. Mary Ann has enjoyed a prestigious career spanning more than three decades. She was the first woman to receive the Urban Leadership Award and is an eight-time winner of REBNY’s Deal of the Year Award for ingenious brokerage.
Trish Barrigan is co-founder and managing partner of Benson Elliot. Barrigan launched the company in 2004 alongside Marc Mogull. Independent and small and medium-sized private equity firms are becoming a rare breed in European real estate. It’s a testament to Barrigan and Mogull that their company continues to survive and thrive. Barrigan stands out in the male-dominated private equity. One of her most significant recent deals was the sale of a 700-unit residential and mixed-use development in Berlin. She secured planning consent in just 18 months and put in place a construction contract. Barrigan continues to be a key player for Benson Elliot and in the world of real estate.
The real estate industry has some of the most talented, influential and dynamic women in the world. However, there are still not enough women in top jobs in real estate. Only 14% of speakers at European real estate events are female. A new organisation is trying to address this issue. But the above exemplars of influential women show what success can look like. With an increasing number of women taking centre stage in the sector, it will encourage more women to pursue a career in real estate.
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