Pay It Forward: Advice from CBRE’s Laurie Lustig-Bower

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Lustig-Bower is an executive vice president at CBRE and founder/leader of Team Lustig-Bower, a group of eight professionals that specialize in the sales of apartment buildings, condominium conversions/reversions, and land for development of multi-housing properties. In the past sixteen years, team Lustig-Bower has handled over $10 billion in real estate transactions.

Laurie Lustig-Bower. Laurie Lustig-Bower.

What has been your biggest challenge or obstacle as a women in your particular role? My biggest challenge has been with people underestimating me because I am female. To overcome this issue, I usually take special care to demonstrate my abilities and confidence in order to ensure that I don’t get dismissed or overlooked on the basis of being female.

Where would you say commercial real estate needs to improve for women? I think the older generations (men and women) need to be more open-minded toward women in commercial real estate.

How can women better position themselves for success both in general and in your specific area of focus? Women can better position themselves for success by being dedicated to their profession. Keeping their eye on their goal, presenting themselves professionally, and acting the part will help them achieve the success they are aiming for.

What is the best piece of advice you have received that has helped you succeed in your industry? When I started in CRE, my mentor told me “Even though you are coming in as a freshman, you better act like a senior”. This advice helped me push myself harder, to try to learn the business faster and become more valuable to my team sooner.

What specific advice would you give for the next generation? For the next generation, I would give the same advice, and I would add that to be successful, they should incorporate “perseverance” in their daily life in order to foster the strength to overcome small and large challenges.

What can be brought to the table as the industry continues to grapple with the COVID-19 crisis? I believe everyone should bring to the table a calm and realistic perspective to view the impact that Covid-19 will have on CRE and how they can minimize the damage and recognize the silver-lining to help make wise decisions going forward.

Would you advise your daughter to begin a career in CRE? I would encourage my daughter to begin a career in CRE because it offers so many benefits. It is entrepreneurial, creative, financially rewarding, personally gratifying and it provides a great educational foundation for making personal investments in CRE. I would advise her to find a good mentor or team to join in order to get a foothold in the industry. When I started out in 1988, I was told that in order to be seen as an equal to a male, I would need to give 110% effort to match a male’s 100%. Today, I would tell my daughter to give 110% effort to win the business, no matter who she is competing against.

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