The 2nd annual USD Women in Real Estate Conference started with global demographics and ended with golf. The conference, sponsored by the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate, provided insights for both the future of real estate and the futures of real estate professionals.
Keynote speaker, Leanne Lachman, has a PhD in English Literature, and she has had an accomplished professional career in real estate. She is currently president of Lachman Associates LLC, and an Executive-in-Residence at Columbia Business School.
Featured speaker, Lydia Jacobs-Horton, has an engineering degree, and she has had an accomplished professional career in real estate at Procter & Gamble. She is currently director of Global Facilities & Real Estate, Procter & Gamble Global Business Services.
After their presentations, they sat down for a panel discussion about work/life balance in developing real estate careers. The panel was moderated by yet another successful woman executive, Gail Goldberg. Gail is currently executive director of the Urban Land Institute-Los Angeles.
I was fascinated by the way the speakers’ academic degrees influenced their careers. Leanne said that her education taught her essential professional skills: the ability to look at data, synthesize it quickly and see the implications of it; the ability to write well and explain complex information in a way that is easy to understand; and the ability to present information in a persuasive way that motivates people to act on it.
Lydia affirmed the importance of presenting information in a way that enables decision-making by the recipient, that just downloading information isn’t sufficient. When asked about how the mix of an engineering degree and an MBA, and a switch from construction management to real estate, impacted her developing career, she noted that “innovation comes from discontinuous experiences.”
The skills that the speakers identified and the openness to creativity and innovation in their work are what we aim for in business education at USD. It is inspiring to see how these women have developed and used these qualities to reach a high level of achievement in their careers.
Oh, and if you’re going into real estate, learn to play golf. This is something that Leanne didn’t do that she recommends people do who are still early in their careers. “The real estate industry has never gotten past golf,” she said. It’s a good thing I’m in education–with my golf game, I wouldn’t have lasted long in real estate.