Read FIU Advance News Article Below on Suzanne Hollander’s Speech to Urban Land Institute Women’s Leadership Initiative on When to Speak Up:

Suzanne Hollander, Associate Teaching Professor in the FIU Hollo School of Real Estate and Program Director of Professional Development for the Office to Advance Women, Equity & Diversity, was the speaker during the San Diego/Tijuana Urban Land Institute Women’s Leadership Initiative Virtual Happy Hour Series. She delivered her speech, entitled “You are Your Best Advocate – When was the Last Time You Found Yourself Feeling you Need to Speak Up?” to over seventy participants.

Hollander is a real estate attorney, speaker, broker, educator, and voice for property rights, real estate, and housing infrastructure development, who recently contributed to the article “How Women Can Successfully Invest in Real Estate,” discussing tips for women to invest and join corporate boards and how men can help.

The Urban Land Institute is the oldest and largest network of cross-disciplinary real estate and land use experts in the world. The mission of the ULI Women’s Leadership Initiative is to raise the visibility and number of women leaders in ULI and the real estate industry. The efforts of the Women’s Leadership Initiative are expressed in promoting the advancement of women throughout their careers as leaders in the real estate industry.

Hollander opened the presentation with the Maya Angelo quote “each time a woman stands up for herself she stands up for all women.” Most women face a time in their careers when, due to their gender, they’re harassed, evaluated unfairly, or excluded from conversations. For example, the wage gap between men and women in commercial real estate has widened over the past five years, leaving women at all levels underpaid, underrepresented and increasingly unsatisfied with their careers in 2020, according to a new benchmark study report by the Commercial Real Estate Women Network.

Hollander pointed that critical times to stand up for oneself and other women are during promotion, hiring, compensation discussions, appointment to corporate boards, leadership and senior positions of authority and selecting panelists for presentations.

She also acknowledged that standing up for oneself can come with risks and consequences. “Expect the man who acted inappropriately or who broke the rules, or the group who knew about it and swept it under the rug or looked the other way, to call you names or say that you’re ‘too sensitive’ or ‘over reacting,’” Hollander said. “Retaliation may come, and it may come in the form of cut funding, demotion, role reassignment or firing.”

However, speaking up is vital, according to Hollander. She referenced FAMU law professor Maritza I. Reyes, who wrote in her article titled “Professional Women Silenced by Men-Made Norms” that “silence does not solve problems. Women should stop silencing themselves and stop silencing other women.”

Hollander agreed, encouraging women to speak up and say something. “By calling these things out, you’re helping to better the way today’s women and future generations of women” she says.

She counseled to always act with a cool head, first thinking about what happened and what boundary was crossed, and then thinking through your options about who to speak with. Always act with integrity and truth and hard as it may be continue to do your best work at your job. She shared a number of steps and ways to speak up, depending on the circumstances of one’s particular situation. These include:

  • Talking about it with a trusted circle of peers: “One day you will tell your story of how you’ve overcome what you are going through now and it will become part of someone else’s survival guide.”
  • Be prepared: “Some in your circle may say ‘boys will be boys’ or ‘you are so lucky to be the only woman you better be careful’ – listen to their point of view, but be prepared to do what is best for you.”
  • Volunteer: “Empowering and mentoring women can help others in similar situations.”

She shared another quote from Reyes. “I suggest that individual actions, including speaking up, when weighed cumulatively over a person’s lifetime and multiplied by the individual actions of several people over our lifetimes, can have the force of a movement without pomp and circumstance but with nonetheless palpable results. This is particularly true if several individuals agree to make this a goal in a particular work setting.”

Hollander ended the presentation with one of her favorite Dr. Seuss quotes, which also doubled as a call to action. The Lorax asked “Unless someone like you cares a whole lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Hollander agrees with the Lorax – it’s time to make the world a better place.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is the-lorax-quote-300x300.jpg

Published in FIU Advance News September 4, 2020 Reprinted with Permission from FIU Advance.

Disclaimer: Professor Real Estate® written materials apply generally to real estate subjects and are not intended to apply to specific legal issues. 

Copyright 2020 ~ All rights reserved. ~ Professor Real Estate® Suzanne Hollander

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