Authoring Our Own Success: Observations from the 2019 Real Estate Women’s Forum

By Darya Shneyder  |  March 12, 2019

The real estate development and finance sectors have made strides in recent years toward advancing career opportunities for women and encouraging the efforts of female entrepreneurs. To be sure, more needs to be done in the areas of pay equity and entry into the C-Suite, which were key areas of discussion at the 2019 Real Estate Women’s Forum in New York City, sponsored by Marks Paneth last week.

On full display throughout the conference was the dichotomy between raising awareness of women’s career opportunities and striving for performance-based bottom line results. In other words, how can we evolve the role of women in the real estate industry while also meeting challenges that call for expertise and experimentation regardless of gender?

Seizing advantages from new opportunities was one recurring theme, and there were plenty of examples provided by the day’s panelists:

  • Technology - Marks Paneth Real Estate Director Deana Wetzel led the panel discussion on disruptive technologies in the industry. She and her panelists examined a common theme in technology’s impact on the finance, operations, investing and development sectors: embracing technology is no longer an option, but rather a mandate forced upon executive leadership that cannot afford to remain on the sidelines as others seize the competitive advantage.
  • Cost vs. Value - A timely example also arose during a construction panel, when it was mentioned that landlords and builders are wrestling with trade-offs such as the one between higher costs and added value such as health clubs.
  • Professional allies – Another example is the advantage women have when they find allies – not only mentors and sponsors as they climb up the corporate ladder, but also the right allies when they reach executive level and are in a position to make meaningful organizational change.
  • Due diligence – Being an astute investor and performing proper due diligence provides a big advantage during property acquisition Investment strategies – Finally, the topic of investment strategies led to a lively exchange of ideas on how investment dollars are to be profitably deployed now that the frothiness of past investment conditions has dissipated.

The well-attended event, with spirited discussions and lots of Q&A across virtually every area of real estate development and finance, was both energizing and a source for introspection.  In my opinion, the Forum’s combination of hands-on practical advice from female leaders in the real estate world, together with inspirational truth-telling from those who have climbed the ladder and are now paying it forward, is a model that has lasting value, and is one we look forward to supporting at Marks Paneth in the years ahead.

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About Darya Shneyder

Darya Shneyder, CPA, is a Partner in the Real Estate Group at Marks Paneth LLP.  Ms. Shneyder specializes in providing accounting, auditing, tax and advisory services to commercial and residential real estate owners, developers, and co-ops and condominiums. She also specializes in securing real estate tax reduction via certiorari audit filings. Ms. Shneyder works closely with client’s officers and directors to establish a personalized audit approach to efficiently execute an attestation engagement. She has in-depth... READ MORE +

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