Ten years into her career in real estate, Gisella Haidar turned to a degree program to make sure she succeeds.
“I see myself owning real estate and developing real estate as well,” Haidar said. “It’s a little intimidating because there’s no clear path if you start a company as to how you get there.”
But, Marc Norman who now heads NYU’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, is designing plans to help students like her reach their ambitious goals.
“It can be an incredibly rewarding lucrative career, but many people don’t know how to get into it [or] how to thrive in it,” Norman said.
The veteran urban planner has taken over as an associate dean in the School of Professional Studies where he hopes to help more under-represented students make inroads in the industry, including women.
As part of that plan, the school is offering networking opportunities like this year’s Women in Real Estate Symposium, which allows students to have valuable face time with successful female executives in commercial real estate.
“Many people think about real estate as leasing and brokerage. The percentage of women in that part of the industry is actually pretty high, but when you look at finance, when you look at c-suite level executives [and] when you look at vice presidents, then it really drops off,” Norman explained.
According to a study by Commercial Real Estate Women Network (CREW), women account for 36% of all professionals in commercial real estate, with only a third of them rising to senior management positions. Norman is advocating that the industry embrace strategies that already work.
“There are a couple of reasons why women are almost over-represented in the sales and leasing part. It’s flexible. I think we can actually bring some of that flexibility to other aspects of the industry. Do we always need to be in person?” said Norman.
The Schack Institute is looking to help the industry answer those questions and guide students to different possibilities in the field, ultimately bringing more voices like Haidar’s to the table to meet the challenges of the future.
“I truly believe that’s how we get there, through mentorships [and] through advocates that want to extend a hand and help the next generation within the industry,” Haidar said.