Get to Know These Outstanding Women in Massachusetts CRE
Massachusetts as a state has always been on the cutting edge of innovation, being a leader in the life science, biotechnology, information technology, and engineering spaces. The state is chalk full of outstanding and successful individuals, and the Bay State’s real estate industry is no exception.
Every year, the Boston Real Estate Times compiles a list of Outstanding Women in Commercial Real Estate, and this year’s list is full of heavy hitters in the industry. We’ve parsed through the roster and pulled the leaders who make the most impact in Massachusetts.
Meet Massachusetts’s Outstanding Women in Real Estate
To be considered for this award, women in the commercial real estate space must exemplify grit, innovation, and supportive leadership. “Boston Real Estate Times’ 10 Outstanding Women have emerged as key leaders in their fields from architecture to construction and from development to law, brokerage and all other aspects of commercial real estate,” said Upendra Mishra, publisher of the Boston Real Estate Times.
Jomarie Andrews - New England
Partner, Hinckley Allen
Jomarie Andrews is a partner at Hinckley Allen’s Real Estate Group, a national law firm that provides counsel for a variety of industries. Her focus is in a number of different CRE fields, including purchases, sales and assemblages of real estate, development work, representation of landlords and tenants in industrial, office and retail leasing, and financing. Currently, she has been working on assemblages of undeveloped or underdeveloped parcels of real estate for leasing to companies requiring large warehouses like Amazon. Her range of expertise showcases her adaptability within the industry and her keen foresight in taking advantage of new opportunities, such as the current commercial crisis.
Andrews’s experience in CRE knows no bounds as she’s been involved in industrial, retail, office, health care, and automotive commercial real estate projects.
Andrews is a member of the Real Estate Finance Association, Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW), and the Real Estate Section of the Connecticut Bar Association.
Susie Harborth - Boston
Executive Vice President, Business Operations Breakthrough Properties
Susie Harborth is the Executive Vice President of Business Operations at Breakthrough Properties. Over the last 15 years, Harborth has been on the cutting-edge of innovation in real estate by creating a co-working platform for life-science-based companies.
Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of BioLabs, Harborth helped to lower the high barriers for females to enter the biotech startup space. She was foundational in helping establish an avenue for women to launch their own startups. Biolabs is a national platform for co-working spaces. Harborth is a trend-setter in the industry and only one of a few women who have successfully connected real estate and life sciences together so effortlessly. Her push into this space couldn’t come at a more important time as her efforts are making an impact on human health.
Harborth is a thought-leader in the space and someone who deserves to have the spotlight for her support, inclusive mentality, and her creation of diverse work environments.
Elizabeth Lowrey - Boston
Principal and the Director of Interior Architecture, Elkus Manfredi Architects
Elizabeth Lowrey is well known for her contributions to the architecture industry, both in terms of her work and her influence within the space. Lowrey is currently serving roles as a Principal and the Director of Interior Architecture for Elkus Manfredi Architects. She’s been a foundational part of the firm’s leadership team since 2002 and has shaped the culture of the firm, all the while acting as the face for the innovative, human-centric side of Elkus Manfredi’s successful business.
Currently, Lowrey is working on helping companies transition their culture and environments during COVID-19 with a focus on finding their digital footing in a mostly virtual world.
A leader in the design of interiors for corporate, hospitality, retail, residential, and academic clients, Lowrey has overseen the creation of a wide variety of environments including Walt Disney Imagineering, Publicis Groupe, Boston Consulting Group, New Balance, and Equinox, just to name a few.
Lowrey has made countless contributions to the real estate, business, and civic sectors, and she’s received many awards for her efforts and impacts. She’s a member of the Greater Boston Real Estate Finance Association (REFA) Board of Directors and was recently added to the MassArt Foundation Board of Directors. She is also a member of Auburn University’s Interior Architecture Advisory Council, a board member of Heading Home, and a board member for the Design Museum Foundation.
There’s no shortage of ways Lowrey has made or will continue to make an impact in her field.
Jill Sharif - Boston
Vice President-National Business Development, First American Title’s National Commercial Services
Jill Sharif is the National Business Development for First American Title’s National Commercial Services Division. Her position makes her responsible for the marketing and business development for FAT’s products and services. Sharif is a three-time winner of the DPK Circle of Excellence (2019, 2015, 2013), an award presented to the highest performing member of the sales and escrow teams at FATNCSD.
Sharif has worked tirelessly throughout her career on thousands of projects across the nation that have served all asset classes, a feat not all CRE experts can flex. For her successes, she was honored with the CREW Boston Networking Award in 2018 for her contributions to the famous Four Season luxury hotel One Dalton project in Boston. Sharif’s eye for detail and foresight for projects is a skill to which she can attribute much of her success.
She was inducted into the CREW Visionary program in 2020, a recognition earned for charitable giving to helping women in CRE launch their careers. Currently, Sharif is the Immediate Past President of CREW Boston, one of the largest CREW organizations in the country. To top off her impactful roles, she is also on the board for CREW Boston’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force.
An Overview of Women in Commercial Real Estate
A recent study on women in the commercial real estate (CRE) industry has revealed a significant gender imbalance in the sector. The study, conducted by CREW, shows that only 15.0% of the top CRE management positions were held by women. Additionally, women comprise only ~36.7% of the commercial real estate sector’s workforce. According to a CREW Network report, barriers to gender equity can be attributed to an average income gap of ~23.0% between men and women and a disproportionate percentage of men vs. women aspiring for C-suite positions.
Still, progress is being made. CREW’s 2020 Benchmark Study on gender bias in the industry saw a “5.4% increase in female respondents 39 years old and younger, indicating a growing generation of young and emerging women professionals in commercial real estate.” In other words, there are a greater number of younger women entering the field than ever before and they, like these outstanding Bostonian women, have their sights set high.