Meet Kansas City Women Taking Commercial Real Estate by Storm
There’s no shortage of entrepreneurial spirit in Kansas City, especially among Kansas City women who gathered together to discuss their industry last year at the Kansas City Women in Commercial Real Estate Summit. The event, which took place in December of 2020, invited some of the area’s rising real estate stars where they shared their perspective on commercial real estate. Not surprisingly, what they had to say was astute, applicable, and inspiring to any real estate professional who’s willing to listen.
Commercial Real Estate Advice from Powerful Kansas City Women
Molly Crawford Munninghoff, Vice President of Brokerage with Copaken Brooks, began by reassuring new agents that it takes time to get established.
“You need to be patient. It takes time to build a relationship with clients and build your book of business. It doesn’t happen overnight. That’s important for anyone to know. No matter how hard you work, success doesn’t happen overnight. You need hard work, drive and patience,” she said.
She’s not wrong either. One post in RealtyNA suggests that anyone who’s just getting started in real estate will have to stick with it for nearly two years to start seeing success. This sentiment was later echoed by Anné Erickson, a senior associate with JLL.
“I think 2009 would have been a great time to learn how to hack it in commercial real estate. You’re not going to be making a ton of money at the beginning of your career no matter what the economy is doing.”
The next topic of discussion centered on their various areas of expertise. McKenzie Swank, Director of Sales with Multifamily Utility Company, said one advantage that women have in an otherwise male-dominated field is that they never lose track of the human aspect of real estate.
“We can take the ROI and cap rate and crunch the numbers for our investors. But we don’t forget that real human beings live in these properties. We know that these people want to live in these buildings [and] have to enjoy living there. Word-of-mouth and positive online ratings are everything. They can sink a ship so fast. Sometimes, our male counterparts forget that part of it, that empathy we naturally have as women,” Swank said.
Of course, that doesn’t mean men can’t be empathetic or caring, but it’s a business value that’s sometimes overlooked as a soft science rather than a number crunch. The truth is, empathy and other “soft skills” are critical for growth, and these traits are necessary to succeed in real estate.
Women and Real Estate
In the United States, ~67.0% of all residential real estate agents are women. However, it wasn’t always that way. Women have played an essential role in the industry as early as 1794, but it wasn’t until the early 1950s that women began to equalize the field.
Even in today’s larger, more inclusive industry, there’s a lot of work left to be done. Women only make up 36.7% of the commercial real estate industry — a figure that’s remained stagnant for the past 15+ years.
Luckily, though, the people closest to the industry are noticing a shift.
“I look at being a woman as a benefit in this career today. If you look at the diversity coming through the pipeline, there is a big opportunity for those diverse brokers on the other side,” said Erickson.
That’s a trend that will hopefully continue as more events like the Kansas City Women in Commercial Real Estate Summit help women get their questions answered, find their inspiration, and change the face of the industry.