Key Takeaways from the 2017 Successful Women in Commercial Real Estate

CommercialForum hosted its annual Successful Women in Commercial Real Estate series on Tuesday, July 18, along with CREW Chicago and The Goldie Initiative. The series discussed how technology is changing, disrupting and enhancing the industry. The panel consisted of Constance Freedman of Moderne Ventures, Karin Kraai of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, and Emily Line of Realtors Property Resource®. The panel was moderated by Ginger Downs, CEO of the Chicago Association of REALTORS®.


  • Innovation is spurred from problem areas. Technology isn’t made to harm and displace the industries it’s serving when used properly. Challenges are present in all aspects of transactions and new technology will come in to make those processes easier.
  • Diversity creates better companies – but the key to building diversity is through mentorship. Women need to collaborate and boost each other up to succeed in any industry, but especially in high-demand commercial real estate. Diverse companies with more women statistically perform better. We need to promote mentorship and look at what initiatives can make an impact, like slashing the wage gap and increasing the number of women executives.
  • Data is king. Using rich data is the key to running a successful business.
  • Technology is booming here. The cost of living is 30 percent what it is on the coasts, and the investor pool is consistently growing. But we have work to do: we need more investors for mid-size companies that are a few years off the ground. If you’re wanting to get involved in the tech scene, showing up to events and providing user feedback is critical.
  • Companies and brokers are looking to the future. We’re starting to see a shift in company culture to not only attract younger employees but also improve the happiness of current ones. Millennials will soon be the largest demographic in the work force, so it’s important to consider what they are looking for in a work place and find spaces to make those dreams a reality. Because so many of us live tech-heavy, fast-paced lives, we need our work places to be innovative and efficient.
Check out photos from the event: