I had the pleasure of attending NAIOP’s 6th Annual Women of Influence Luncheon with an outstanding panel featuring Sarah Abrams, Senior Vice President, Corporate Real Estate at Iron Mountain; Peggy Briggs, Managing Principal, Epsilon Associates; Leslie Cohen, Principal & EVP Development, Samuels & Associates; Kerri Olson Hawkins First Vice President, CBRE New England; and Kimberly Sherman Stamler, COO, Related Beal.

I found it extremely refreshing that all of these top decision-makers in the real estate industry are also dedicated mothers and wives. As a young woman in real estate, you often feel like you have to choose between having a family or being a successful business woman; the panelists gave me reassurance that you can have both. Here’s what I learned:

Work / Life:

  • Leave the work day behind. Your kids don’t necessarily care if you had a bad or stressful day. They just care that you are spending time with them. As soon as you enter your home, be present and interact with them.
  • Find ways to integrate work into your day while still finding time to be present. For example, if you bring work home, eat with your family and check your email after 9 PM.
  • A break is healthy. Take time to recharge. Take a vacation and put your phone away.
  • Fill your life with your passions. If you enjoy the gym or volunteering, find time for that. When you already know how to juggle, it’s easier to add more pieces into the puzzle.


  • One panelist had been told that you can’t be an outstanding mother and outstanding at your job – if you choose to have a family, you’ll be mediocre at both. The panel unanimously disagreed. One panelist added that she still can’t determine if raising kids makes her better at managing people in the office or vice versa.
  • Being good at your job is gender neutral. Hard work pays off regardless. Seek out mentors and opportunities.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of listening. As one panelist put it: You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Use them in proportion.