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Ann Huntington: A Land of Opportunity and Equality for All

I was in the audience at a recent breakfast event hosted by NAIOP when the featured speaker, Don Williams, former head of Trammell Crow Co., urge the local real estate community to dedicate time and resources to southern Dallas. “America is not the land of opportunity and equality for all,” he said. “And I believe that is a threat to all of us.”
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Ann Huntington

I was in the audience at a recent breakfast event hosted by NAIOP when the featured speaker, Don Williams, former head of Trammell Crow Co., urge the local real estate community to dedicate time and resources to southern Dallas. “America is not the land of opportunity and equality for all,” he said. “And I believe that is a threat to all of us.”

As an aside, Don stopped to say he was glad to see more women in real estate than in years past. I looked around and thought, “Still not enough.” There were maybe 15 or 20 women in a group of 200 or more. It made me reflect on my career in our industry.

Fresh out of business school in 1986, filled with enthusiasm, I had no idea of the obstacles. The industry was not ready for women, and neither was fashion! I remember those terrible suits with ties, like men’s suits but with skirts. Later, when I found pant suits to be much preferable when traipsing through warehouses, I was summoned by HR ,where it was explained to me that the company dress code did not allow for women to wear pants.

It was a mine field to navigate. Countless choice assignments were given to the guys, when I knew I was just as hard-working and capable, and, of course, there were many who just made it uncomfortable because you were different. Those were the times.

In spite of all of the challenges, I love our business. I found my path. Looking over the audience, I saw so many that have been generous. Things have changed. My company supports a Women’s Network, with more than 400 members who attended a conference in Chicago, and is hiring more and more women. But leadership roles for women are still elusive, even though there recent studies show women make good corporate leaders because they are more likely to make fair decisions when competing interests are at stake.

I agree with Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, as she encourages women in her new book to, “Lean In:” Do your job really well and find people who will not only support you, but raise you up.

Let’s keep changing the times and make Dallas real estate the land of opportunity and equality for all.

Ann Huntington, senior vice president at CBRE, focuses on the local and national portfolio needs of corporate clients. Contact her at [email protected].

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