If You Could Turn Back Time...
By Joanie L. Zimmer, Esq.
Vice President, National Commercial Counsel
Think back to the beginning of your career. Whether that was a few years ago, or slightly more than a few, don’t you wish you could go back and give yourself some solid career advice?
Unfortunately, that’s not an option. However, you can offer tips to the next generation of women in commercial real estate – the kind that can help them gain a foothold in the business. Recently, I reached out to my colleagues at Amrock Commercial
and asked them what guidance they’d give themselves if they could go back to when they first started. Here’s what they had to say:
Build Your Business Network
Get out and meet people in all aspects of the industry, because new people in your circle can lead to new opportunities! A great way to do this is to take advantage of workshops, forums and information sessions that will enhance your skills and abilities. Use those connections to grow your career and your business.
Don’t Be Blinded by Titles
According to a CREW Network
study, more women than ever are filling senior vice president, managing director and partner positions, which is great news for those entering the industry. But no matter how high you climb, respect everyone, including yourself. Treat the maintenance person the same as you’d treat the CEO, and stand up for yourself or your idea when it’s the right thing to do.
Trust Your Talents, but Seek out Help When You Need It
Trust in the talents that you have, but remember that you’re not proficient in everything. Figure out what you’re best at, then play to your strengths and build them into your action plans. Leverage those who have talents that don’t coincide with yours. This will give you a chance to build relationships.
Even better, find a mentor – one who’ll share their successes and failures with you and will be honest about your own opportunities. Listen to them with an open mind and a lot of self-awareness; be honest with yourself and learn from past mistakes.
And always remember to thank everyone who helps you.
Don’t Worry About What Might Happen
Carefully consider both the benefits and the drawbacks of your plans and seek out advice from your peers and mentors. But don’t get tripped up over the “what ifs.” Chances are, what you think might
happen, and worrying about it will just blur your vision.
You’ll Figure It Out
You’re not supposed to have everything figured out when you’re just starting your career. You won’t even have it all figured out years down the road. It’s a process – you’ll learn as you go and you’ll learn as you grow. Throughout your career, never be afraid to ask questions. Commercial deals are complex and no one will fault you for making sure you understand all the nuances.
Don’t Pick the Job Based on the Salary
Sure, it’s great to get a big paycheck. But no amount of money can make up for a miserable work environment. Find what sparks your passion and interest and make that the focus of your career. Then find a job that makes you happy, one that includes people you’ll enjoy working with.
Make the Right First Impression
It may sound cliché, but it bears repeating: You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Dedicate yourself to making a good first impression every time.
Don’t Take Things Personally
If someone is acting negatively, chances are it’s about them, not you. Just be your own best self. And if you’re criticized for a quality that would be praised in a man (such as assertiveness), keep doing what you’re doing!
As members of CREW, we’re in a unique position to help the commercial real estate industry evolve. We can do this not only by supporting all women in the industry, but also by sharing our advice and experience with those who are just starting their careers. Mentor, support, share and lead by example – there’s no better way to leave a lasting business legacy.
About Joanie L. Zimmer, Esq.
Joanie is a multi-faceted, highly skilled attorney and real estate professional who not only understands the legal aspects of the industry, but also has the skills and drive to build a successful office and maintain a dedicated client base. She has worked in the commercial title industry in both a closing and underwriting capacity and in private practice.
Over the years, Joanie has received numerous recognitions and awards. She is active in several professional organizations including the Cleveland chapter of CREW. She is also a member of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association and is a committee member for the annual Real Estate Law Institute.