Girl Power

This has been a year.

Jessica Fiur, Managing Editor

Jessica Fiur, Managing Editor

This has been a year.

The global pandemic, which is still raging, has affected all our lives. People have lost their jobs. Schools have closed. And our healthcare industry is being stretched to the point of breaking. According to a study from McKinsey and LeanIn.Org, between being overwhelmingly responsible for childcare and schooling while also working, women are taking the brunt of it. In addition to that, the study reveals that since 2015, there have only been slight gains in representation of women in senior-level positions.


The multifamily industry is no exception. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Many women in the industry are making strides and advancing in their careers.

“When I began in real estate, there were very few women at the higher levels,” said Lili Dunn, president of Bell Partners, in a Q&A this month with IvyLee Rosario.

There’s been progress since then. At Bell Partners alone, under Dunn’s leadership, the company employs 1,500 people, half of them women and half of them people of color. The company utilizes consultants and focus groups to continue to improve hiring processes. And they’re not alone—a lot of multifamily companies now employ a wide range of people.

On a personal level, I welcome these industry-wide shifts. And as someone with two young daughters, it’s heartening to tell them they can be whatever they want when they grow up—and actually mean it. Of course, we’re not there yet. The industry—and country—still has a long way to go to make sure that all qualified people—no matter their gender or race—have a chance to grow and reach the top positions in their fields. But we will work on it, and continue to work on it. And that is a very good thing.

Dunn champions women in leadership, but understands that, especially now, adjustments must be made, not just industry-wide but also on a personal level. That old cliché about women “having it all”? Yeah, that’s not a thing. This pandemic has shown us that for anyone to succeed—especially women—they need to prioritize.

“Give yourself a break,” Dunn said. “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

I hope everyone has a very nice holiday season and a happy New Year. And in 2021, I hope the multifamily industry continues making strides.

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