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International Women’s Day Interviews

May 25, 2022 | Posted by Colleen Duvic

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In the spirit of International Women’s Day at InCommercial Property Group, we have asked what the day means to some of our female leaders in the commercial real estate industry, advice they’d give, barriers overcome, and who inspires them. On this day, we acknowledge the individuals, groups, and organizations that have come together to advocate for women’s empowerment. Together, we reflect and discuss what International Women’s Day means to each of us.

 

Tiffany Fraley, COO

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
It is a celebration of women’s achievements and an acknowledgement of the strides we have made economically, politically, socially, but also a reminder that we still have a lot of ground to make up as long as inequality, especially for women, exists in the world.

What barriers have you faced, as a woman, in becoming successful in your field? How did you overcome them?
The real estate industry is very male driven which makes sense because women didn’t gain the right to own property until the 19th century and even then, we couldn’t afford it because we couldn’t take out lines of credit until the 20th century. These types of barriers take time plus an effort and a struggle that I’ll probably never face, along with change and acceptance. As a Caucasian woman in America, I know that the barriers I face are far different than women of color and other nationalities. I am able to overcome most barriers because I have the choice and the opportunity to overcome them. For instance, I was allowed to go to college and graduate school which for some is a huge barrier due to culture or economics.

How do you help to empower women or encourage others to pursue leadership roles in their career?
I think one of the biggest ways I empower and encourage women is to really listen to what they want, write it down and then work out a measurable plan to accomplish it.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out their career?
The same advice I’d give to someone starting out in their dating life, try a lot of different ones and don’t settle, ha!  With each job, you’ll find out more about yourself, what you like, where you can improve and you’ll be that much better and prepared for the next role.

Is there someone that has empowered you or a strong woman that inspires you (professional or personally)?
I don’t give her enough credit, but my mom always supported my endeavors and never held me back…even when that meant moving out of my home state, Tennessee. She’s a very brave, kind and generous lady who likes to cuss a little and drink miller lite.  She taught me to have thick(ish) skin, work hard and to love animals. At my core, I know that she is the reason that I am who I am.

 

Claudia Sapir, Senior Transaction Coordinator

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
A day that recognized all women regardless of their race, religion, political affiliation, or economical and professional status.

What barriers have you faced, as a woman, in becoming successful in your field? How did you overcome them?
Probably at the beginning but once I became more knowledgeable and passionate about my job, I never felt there were any barriers.

How do you help to empower women or encourage others to pursue leadership roles in their career?
There is nothing we can’t achieve.  If we have the correct mindset, we will be able to conquer every goal.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out their career?
Always study, learn as much as you can. Work hard. Be many steps ahead.

Is there someone that has empowered you or a strong woman that inspires you (professional or personally)?
A public personality, I would say Michelle Obama.  In the personal and professional field, Tiffany Fraley is a great example of growth, hard work and confidence.  I think she empowered me and many women (and men) in our company.

 

Karla Lombardi, Controller

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
The day gives us space to reflect on how far we’ve come and discuss how much more work there is to be done. We have to end violence against women – domestically and abroad, in our homes and outside of them. We have to remove bias from education. We have to continue to fight for equal parental leave. More women need a seat at the table.

What barriers have you faced, as a woman, in becoming successful in your field? How did you overcome them?
It was very challenging to be in consulting as a new mom! I had to set boundaries (which weren’t always respected). I missed a promotion because I “lost” three months of experience (while on maternity leave). I overcame it by leaving public accounting to do in-house tax planning for a Fortune 100 company.

How do you help to empower women or encourage others to pursue leadership roles in their career?
I always offer career advice to my female coworkers. I’ve been active in the women’s groups, as well as PRIDE. I mentor anyone who will let me.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out their career?
Know your worth and negotiate! It’s easy to believe that you’re paid fairly, and it’s uncomfortable to ask for more, but you’ll never get if you don’t ask for it.

Is there someone that has empowered you or a strong woman that inspires you (professional or personally)?
I’ve been fortunate to have worked for several strong women ever since I changed my career to accounting. At a previous company, the VP of Treasury was an amazing mentor who always found time to support me in my career and offered to open doors for me (yet I hesitated to let her?!). There were a lot of incredible female leaders there who noticed that there weren’t enough women in upper management, so they started a women’s group specifically for Finance. It was so empowering to get time with these leaders and connect with them about not just our careers, but life in general. Ever since my first accounting job, where I worked for an extremely intelligent, successful Controller (and a SuperMom), I’ve wanted her job. Last but not least, a major reason I came onboard here at InCommercial was to work for one of the best, Tiffany Fraley!!!