IE University recently held its second Women in Real Estate panel, organized by the IE School of Architecture and Design.
The panel brought together some of the best women in the field to talk about their experiences in the profession, diversity and sustainability.
Panelists also discussed IE University’s new scholarship for women, the Women in Real Estate High Potential Awardsand why measures like this are essential for the advancement of women in the profession.
Meet the panelists
Professor at IE University Leticia Ponzresponsible for the Spanish offices of Union Investment Real Estate and vice-president of Women in Real Estate Spain, was the moderator.
Currently, Leticia is teaching two Masters courses at IE University, the Global Master in Real Estate Development and the Master in Real Estate Development.
Other members of the distinguished jury included Cristina García-Peri, Paloma Relinque, Tania Concejo-Bontemps and Susana Rodríguez.
Garcia Peri is a senior partner at Azora and chair of the board of the NGO Plan International in Spain.
To renouncer directs the Madrid office of CBRE, in addition to being a professor in the Master in Real Estate Development.
Concejo Bontemps is Chairman of Union Investment Real Estate in France. Rounding out the panel, Rodríguez is business manager at Savills Aguirre Newman and another professor at IE University.
Dissecting the Spanish experience
After 17 years working in the United States and the United Kingdom, García-Peri returned to Spain.
Having previously held positions in private consulting and investment banking, for the past 10 years she has focused her time and professional skills on the real estate sector.
She kicked off the panel by noting that, in her experience, women still hold very few leadership positions in the field. While we are on the right track towards parity, the pace is quite slow.
García-Peri pointed out that when she joined the investment bank in 1993, professional women at the time were saying many of the same things that are still debated today.
Unconscious biases and a lack of women at the top continue to hamper the industry’s ability to attract talented young women into real estate.
García-Peri noted that equality in the real estate industry could still lead to huge opportunities for growth and advancement.
But, for that to happen, industry veterans need to make greater efforts at reconciliation. They need to ask themselves how to keep women motivated in organizations and how to give them the flexibility they need to perform at the highest level.
Concejo-Bontemps added that in France, government intervention established the need for certain gender quotas within organisations.
When these laws were first established in 2011, they were inevitably pushed back. However, most management teams today are quite diverse in terms of gender, age and nationality.
However, Concejo-Bontemps noted that more needs to be done to place more women on boards, steering committees and strategic boards.
It is essential that women are adequately represented, as many important business decisions are made through these platforms.
Relinque doesn’t necessarily agree with gender quotas, believing that some people will use their presence to devalue the work and accomplishments of professional women.
However, she notes that they may be the only way to achieve more diversity in more organizations and break down unconscious biases.
For Rodríguez, many of the challenges women face in this space stem from a lack of assertiveness.
She points out that female students tend to talk less in class. This tendency follows them into professional life, where they do not speak.
Most of the time, it’s not due to a lack of knowledge, as their grades and exam results prove. She adds that women need to get rid of fear and participate more in professional spaces.
New rewards initiative
In addition to asserting themselves, women must acquire high-level skills to be competitive in this industry.
This is why the Women in Real Estate High Potential Awards is such a timely initiative.
This is a scholarship for women who wish to pursue the Master in Real Estate or the Global Master in Real Estate Development.
Ponz said this scholarship will bring more women into leadership positions in the real estate industry.
IE University will provide four applicants with a percentage reduction in tuition fees to pursue either of these programs.
Applicants will be required to submit their CV, write a short essay and participate in an interview process to apply. The first round of scholarships will be awarded by April 30.
ESG trends, sustainability and technology
The debate also touched on key issues of ESG and sustainability.
These considerations have always been important in real estate, said Susana, pointing out that buildings are responsible for 40% of global energy consumption and almost a third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the world. world.
Therefore, the industry has a huge role to play in the fight against climate change by constructing sustainable buildings and renovating existing ones.
In addition, real estate professionals must recognize their responsibility to provide affordable housing.
Ponz said ESG is high on the list for all institutional investors and key industry stakeholders.
Companies today must be ESG compliant or risk their valuation and investor interest in their projects or activities.
She noted the tendency to focus on end-user comfort. This is mainly accomplished by providing green spaces and recreational areas, as well as maintaining good air quality.
García-Peri agreed, saying his company has spent a lot of time understanding new technologies and using them at different levels to make processes more accurate and efficient.
However, she claimed that the best thing about the technology is that it is creating new business opportunities in the real estate sector.
It also improves the way we analyze and use data, improving the way development investment decisions are made.
IE University thanked all participants for a most enlightening discussion.
You can enter the Women in Real Estate High Potential Awards here and make the first stop to play your part in the empowerment movement.
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