Women in Leadership: Case Studies of Executive Women in Commercial Real Estate

Study looks at career paths, risk-taking, networking and mentoring among highly successful executive women.

While some professions have a clearly defined path to success, there’s no roadmap to follow in commercial real estate, and even more so if you’re woman. In CREW Network's 2014 research paper, two factors – networking and the involvement of mentors and sponsors -- were found to have a significant impact in moving women up the ranks. At the same time, despite their achievements, the study revealed that even very successful women have difficulty taking risks and devoting the necessary time to network effectively.

“Women in Leadership: Case Studies of Executive Women in Commercial Real Estate” features interviews with 10 highly successful women from various segments of the industry about their career paths, as well as their thoughts on risk-taking, networking, mentors and sponsors, and the future of women in the profession. The diverse group included an architect, broker, developer, attorney, engineer and consultant to name a few, but their identities were kept confidential to allow them to speak freely about their experiences and challenges. The result is a fascinating look at the evolution of their careers, their relationships and their views on what it will take to move more women into the C-suite in commercial real estate.

The study was designed to further explore the findings documented in CREW Network’s previous report, “The Evolution of Women in Leadership," in which a member test group and a sample of executive women taking the Leadership Potential Indicator (LPI) assessment scored lowest in the competencies of relating and networking, and taking risks. By utilizing case studies, CREW Network hoped to gain insight into how these successful women were able to overcome comparable deficiencies. Similar to the LPI results, the case studies revealed that not all the profiled women saw themselves as risk takers or particularly adept at networking. It also offers a candid look at the life-work decisions they have made and what success ultimately means for women in the commercial real estate industry. 

Download the research paper



Laura Lewis
CREW Network Chief Communication Officer
+1 (785) 865-8275


The research paper was written by the 2013 CREW Network Industry Research Committee.​

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