Written by: Sormeh Konjkav
On the morning of May 31st, a few of the women at Waypoint attended a Bisnow San Francisco event: Power Women 2017. The event was put on to bring together women in commercial real estate and commemorate industry leaders. After a breakfast networking session, attendees sat down to listen to a sequence of motivational speeches, stories, and interview-style sessions. It was great to see such a variety of attendees – 25-year-olds and 65-year-olds, females and males. Yes, males! A power women event doesn’t mean you have to be a woman to attend. It’s not only important to vocalize struggles and successes of the female workforce to men, but equally as important to gain insights and perspectives from men.
Natasha Watts, Client Success Manager at Waypoint, briefly summarizes the event:
“It is always inspiring to be around such proactive women leaders in commercial real estate who have already made such an impact on advancing women in the workplace. Most of the speaker anecdotes began with either an amusing gender bias or pay gap story, and ended with powerful messages of strength and the overcoming of challenges as the parity gap slowly improves.”
Speakers at the event included Jen Nguyen, Head of Workplace at Pinterest, who amongst other topics touched on the unintentional bias against women, as well as Elizabeth Clark, Real Estate Attorney at Allen Matkins, who soared her way as a leader in real estate law from New York to the Virgin Islands to California.
Jane Kim, San Francisco Supervisor, told a story about her relentlessness to pass the Fair Chance Act, removing barriers to employment and stable housing for Californians with criminal records, which later resulted in personal appreciations by community members and proof that sticking to your beliefs and climbing over the nay-sayers pays off. Supervisor Kim also discussed parenting parity in the workplace, in which expecting fathers should take paternity leave. Acceptance of women in the workplace is stronger than ever, however their expected responsibilities in the household have remained fairly stagnant. Paternal leave is a great way to promote shared responsibilities of work and parenting efforts.
The last speaker of the morning, Claudia Folzman, Co-founder and COO of Iron Construction, Inc. and Titanium, gave the crowd some sound pieces of dos and don’ts, such as: do plan, but don’t worry about planning every detail and accomplishing them all before taking an opportunity; don’t be so thin-skinned (get over criticism and energy-wasting conflict), and do take recognition for your skills and successes.
Proving the event’s impact, Waypoint’s CEO Diane Vrkic stated:
“Women are slowly and steadily breaking through to the upper ranks of real estate companies. The women honored are true leaders in their willingness and openness to sharing their stories and providing guidance and advice to the younger generations.”
As a small woman-owned business, Waypoint sees every day that women can do anything. It’s an equal playing field and everyone should be able to utilize their skills to the fullest regardless of their gender. It’s great to see others in the commercial real estate industry actively pursuing these goals and to see men joining the movement towards an equal workforce. Thanks to Bisnow San Francisco for putting on an empowering event!